Rhode Island

Adoption Laws

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Consent to Adoption

Who Must Consent to an Adoption Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 15-7-5; 15-7-10

The parents of the child, or their survivor, shall consent in writing to the adoption. If neither parent is living, consent may be given by:

  • The guardian of the person of the child
  • The next of kin if there is no guardian
  • A suitable person appointed by the court as next friend of the child if there is no next of kin

If the child to be adopted is age 18 or older, the consent of or notice to the child’s parents or other person in the child’s behalf shall not be required.

No minor parent may give a binding consent to any adoption petition or to any termination of rights except with the consent of one of the parents, guardian, or guardian ad litem of the minor parent.

When the petitioners are one of the natural parents of the child and his or her spouse or one of the grandparents of the child, and the child is residing with the petitioners at the time the petition is filed, and if the noncustodial parent refused to consent to the adoption, the court shall determine whether the noncustodial parent’s rights shall be terminated involuntarily. The court may grant the petition without a noncustodial parent’s consent if the petitioners prove by clear and convincing evidence any of the grounds set forth in § 15-7-7(a)(1), (2), or (4). The court shall give primary consideration to the physical, psychological, mental, and intellectual needs of the child.

Consent of Child Being Adopted Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-5

If the child is age 14 or older, the adoption shall not be made without the child’s consent.

When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-7

The court shall terminate any and all legal rights of the parent to the child, including the right to notice of any subsequent adoption proceedings involving the child, if the court finds as a fact by clear and convincing evidence that:

  • The parent has willfully neglected to provide proper care and maintenance for the child for a period of at least 1 year where financially able to do so.
  • The parent is unfit by reason of conduct or conditions seriously detrimental to the child, such as, but not limited to:
    • Institutionalization of the parent, including imprisonment, for a duration as to render it improbable for the parent to care for the child for an extended period of time
    • Conduct toward any child of a cruel or abusive nature
    • A chronic substance abuse problem that has made the parent unable to adequately care for the child
    • Inability to correct conditions that led to termination of rights to another child
    • Subjecting the child to aggravated circumstances, including abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, or sexual abuse
    • Commission of murder, voluntary manslaughter, or felony assault resulting in serious bodily injury on that child or another of his or her children
    • Behavior or conduct that is seriously detrimental to the child for a duration as to render it improbable for the parent to care for the child for an extended period of time
  • The child has been placed in the legal custody or care of the department for at least 12 months, and the parents were offered or received services to correct the situation that led to the placement, and it is still unsafe for the child to return home.
  • The parent has abandoned or deserted the child.

When Consent Can Be Executed Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-6

Termination of rights or consent to adoption may not be executed sooner than 15 days after the child’s birth.

How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-6

Any governmental or duly licensed child-placing agency in this State, at the request of the natural parent or parents of a child under age 18, may petition the family court for the termination of the rights of the natural parents of the child to consent to its adoption. After any notice to the natural parents that the court deems proper, a hearing shall be held prior to the hearing on the petition for adoption in the family court. If the family court finds, after examination of the parent or parents, that the parent or parents freely join in the petition and that the granting of the petition is for the best interests of the child, it shall decree that in the hearing on the adoption of the child the consent of the natural parents as provided above shall be unnecessary and that the agency shall be the sole party to give or withhold consent. The granting of the petition to give or withhold consent to the child placement agency shall also make the agency the guardian of the child for all purposes.

Revocation of Consent Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-21.1

A decree of adoption or a termination of a parent’s right to give or withhold consent for adoption shall not be subject to a challenge or petition to reverse unless the challenge or petition is filed in the family court 180 days after the decree or order is entered.

In the event a challenge is brought within the 180-day period by an individual whose parental relationship to a child is terminated or by any individual who is asserting a parental relationship to the child, the family court shall deny the challenge unless the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the decree or order is not in the best interests of the child.

Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

Requirements for Foster Parents Gen. Laws § 14-1-34; Code of R.I. Rules 03-240-806

The Department of Children, Youth and Families shall apply to the Bureau of Criminal Identification of the State police or the local police department for a fingerprint-based nationwide criminal records check of prospective foster parents. No license shall be issued to any person seeking to be licensed as a foster parent until the result of both the nationwide and statewide criminal record background check are forwarded to the department.

The department may authorize the placement of a child in a prospective foster home pending licensure for up to 6 months after the department has conducted a background check pursuant to § 40-13.2-3.1 and a statewide criminal record background check.

In regulation:Offenses that constitute disqualifying information are listed in the Code of Rhode Island Rules and include:

  • Offenses against the person, including murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, sexual assault, felony assault, domestic assault, and felony child abuse
  • Offenses against the family, incest, child snatching, and exploitation for commercial or immoral purposes
  • Public indecency, including prostitution, pandering, circulation of obscene publications and shows, sale or exhibition to minors of indecent publications, pictures or articles, child pornography
  • Any felony drug offense

Requirements for Adoptive Parents Gen. Laws § 15-7-11; Code of R.I. Rules 03-240-806

A fingerprint-based nationwide criminal records check is required for a prospective adoptive parent as part of the adoption home study. The director of the Department of Children, Youth and Families will determine by rules and regulations those items of information appearing on a criminal records check that constitute disqualifying information because that information would indicate the prospective adoptive parent could endanger the health or welfare of a child or children.

In regulation:Offenses that constitute disqualifying information are listed in the Code of Rhode Island Rules and include:

  • Offenses against the person, including murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, sexual assault, felony assault, domestic assault, and felony child abuse
  • Offenses against the family, incest, child snatching, and exploitation for commercial or immoral purposes
  • Public indecency, including prostitution, pandering, circulation of obscene publications and shows, sale or exhibition to minors of indecent publications, pictures or articles, child pornography
  • Any felony drug offense

Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Gen. Laws § 15-7-7

The court shall terminate any and all legal rights of the parent to the child if it finds as a fact by clear and convincing evidence that:

  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • The parent is unable to discharge his or her parental duties due to:
    • Institutionalization, including imprisonment, of such duration that the parent cannot care for the child for an extended period of time
    • A chronic substance abuse problem
  • The parent has subjected the child to conduct of a cruel or abusive nature.
  • The parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances, including, but not limited to, abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, or sexual abuse.
  • The child has been in the custody of the department for at least 12 months, and reasonable efforts to rehabilitate the parent have failed.
  • The parent has been convicted of:
    • Murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent
    • Aiding, abetting, attempting, or soliciting to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent
    • A felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent
  • The parent has willfully neglected to provide proper care and maintenance for the child when financially able to do so.
  • The parent has failed to communicate with the child.
  • Parental rights to another child of the parent have been involuntarily terminated, and the parent continues to lack the ability to respond to services.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption

Who Must Be Studied Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-11

The prospective adoptive parents, all prospective siblings, and any other household members shall be included in the home study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-11

The Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) shall have the duty to verify the allegations of an adoption petition and to make an appropriate investigation to determine whether the proposed adoptive home is a suitable home for the child. When a child has been placed for adoption by a duly licensed child-placing agency, the court may accept the home study report of the child-placing agency in lieu of the investigation and recommendation of DCYF.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-4

Any person residing in Rhode Island may petition the family court to adopt as his or her child any person younger than him or herself and under age 18.

Elements of a Home Study Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-11

All home studies shall be based on a minimum of two home visits by the agency conducting the home study. All prospective siblings and any other household members shall be interviewed during a home visit. The following information shall be included in all home studies:

  • Identifying information on all household members, including minor children and the current needs of each child
  • Information regarding the prospective adoptive parent(s)’ motivation and reasons for the adoption
  • Current background information on the prospective adoptive parents, including a written self-assessment
  • Child care experience and parenting philosophy
  • Information regarding past and present marriage and/or partnership relationships
  • Current medical and psychological conditions, including addiction to drugs or alcohol, that may be seriously detrimental to the health and welfare of children
  • A description of the home and local community, including any health and safety concerns regarding the home
  • Information regarding finances and employment
  • Reference letters from at least three individuals at least two of whom are nonrelatives
  • Results of background checks with DCYF and clearance checks regarding State and Federal criminal records conducted on the prospective adoptive parents
  • Information related to the prospective adoptive parent’s willingness and ability to accept and cooperate with adoption support services, including their level of understanding regarding openness with the birth family
  • Information related to the match between prospective adoptive parents and the child, including attitudes and capabilities of prospective adoptive parents and the child’s characteristics and background

Grounds for Withholding Approval Citation: Code of Rules § 03-000-015

The agency shall deny approval of an adoption application if the applicant:

  • Has been convicted of, or is serving an active probationary sentence for, a disqualifying criminal offense
  • Falsifies or omits facts on an application form or during an adoptive home study
  • Impedes an adoptive study
  • Has a documented history of substantiated child abuse or neglect
  • Has a past or current history of agency or departmental intervention deemed detrimental to the care of a child
  • Has a documented history of chemical or alcohol-related problems
  • Would not provide satisfactory parenting for a child

When Studies Must Be Completed Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-11

The report of the investigation shall be submitted within 60 days.

Postplacement Study Requirements Citation: Code of Rules § 03-000-015

The social service worker shall visit the adoptive family at least twice after the placement of a child and prior to the final decree. A summary of the observations made during the visits shall be recorded and used in making final recommendations as to the finalization of the adoption.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-11

Provisions of this section requiring a home study may, in the discretion of the court, be waived in the case of a petition for the adoption of a child where the child is the natural child of one of the parties petitioning for the adoption and resides with the petitioning parties.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements Citation: Gen. Laws § 40-15-1

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

The child shall not be sent into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

Foster to Adopt Placements Citation: Gen. Stat. § 42-72-5.1

The foster parents of a child who have had the physical custody of the child for a period of 2 years or more may petition the family court for the adoption of the child. The court shall give notice of the petition to the natural parents and, after a hearing thereon, the court may grant the petition, if it finds that:

  • DCYF has made every effort to involve the natural parents in planning for the child.
  • The natural parents did not exercise reasonable visitation rights with the child.
  • Termination of the rights of the natural parents and adoption by the foster parents is in the best interests of the child.

Infant Safe Haven Laws

Infant’s Age Citation: Gen. Laws § 23-13.1-3

A child who is or appears to be 30 days old or younger may be relinquished.

Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 23-13.1-3; 23-13.1-4

The child may be relinquished by the parent or any person acting at the direction of the parent, who does not express an intent to return for the infant, and the circumstances give rise to a reasonable belief that the person does not intend to return for the infant.

Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Gen. Laws § 23-13.1-3

The child may be left at any of the following facilities:

  • A hospital
  • A medical emergency facility
  • A fire station
  • A police station

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Gen. Laws § 23-13.1-3; 23-13.1-5

The hospital or other facility designated in this section shall offer the person leaving the infant written information concerning the legal effect of leaving the infant with the hospital or other facility.

Any hospital, medical facility, or licensed physician, and its employees, independent contractors, and agents, are authorized to provide to an infant left at a hospital or other facility any medical care and treatment, including testing for the human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis, that the attending physician believes necessary for the infant’s well-being.

Immediately upon taking physical possession of an infant pursuant to this chapter, the hospital or other facility shall notify the Department of Children, Youth, and Families that it has physical possession of the infant.

Immunity for the Provider Citation: Gen. Laws § 23-13.1-3

The hospital or other facility and/or any employee, independent contractor, agent, doctor, other medical professional, law enforcement, or fire official associated with the hospital or facility, shall be immune from any criminal or civil liability arising from actions taken in accordance with this chapter, including but not limited to determining the age of, receiving, examining, or otherwise treating the infant. This immunity does not apply to acts or omissions constituting negligence or reckless, wanton, or intentional misconduct.

The hospital or other facility performing duties under this chapter and/or any staff member, employee, independent contractor, agent, doctor, other medical professional, law enforcement, or fire official associated with the hospital or facility shall be immune from any criminal or civil liability that otherwise might result from the failure to make a report under the provisions of chapter 11 of title 40 if the entity or person acted in good faith in complying with this section.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 23-13.1-3; 23-13.1-4

The person leaving the infant may, but shall not be required to, leave any information disclosing the identity of himself/herself, the infant, or the parents or other family member of the infant and/or the medical history of himself/herself, the infant, or the parents or other family member of the infant. Any information obtained from the person leaving the infant shall be kept confidential by the hospital or other facility and shared with no one other than the Department of Children, Youth, and Families.

If a court determines that the immunity provisions below do not apply, the hospital or other facility where the infant was left must disclose the information relating to the identity of the person, the infant, the parents of the infant, or other family member of the infant to the Attorney General upon court order.

Nothing contained in this section shall preclude the department from notifying law enforcement authorities of any criminal wrongdoing in accordance with §§ 11-9-5 and/or 40-11-5.

A person who leaves an infant at a hospital or other facility, or directs another person to do so, shall be immune from prosecution only for the act of abandonment of the infant pursuant to §§ 11-2-1 and 11-9-5(a) provided that:

  • The person is the parent of the infant or is acting at the direction of a parent.
  • The infant is left in the physical custody of a staff member of the hospital or other facility designated under this chapter.
  • A comprehensive medical examination of the infant determines the infant has not been harmed or been the victim or any physical neglect or abuse. Injuries and/or conditions resulting from childbirth shall not be considered harm, abuse, or neglect.

Effect on Parental Rights Citation: Gen. Laws § 23-13.1-5

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families shall immediately respond to a report from the hospital or other facility, place the infant in the temporary protective custody of the department, and make arrangements for the infant to undergo a comprehensive medical examination by a licensed physician or a duly certified registered nurse practitioner.

The department shall, upon obtaining temporary custody of the infant and provided that no person has asserted a claim to be the parent of the infant within 90 days, commence proceedings to terminate the parental rights of the parents of the infant.

The leaving of the infant at a hospital or other facility and the failure of a person to assert a claim to be the parent of the infant within 90 days of the infant being placed in the temporary custody of the department shall constitute prima facie evidence of permanent abandonment of the infant.

Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

These issues are not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

The Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Legal Definition of Father Gen. Laws § 15-8-3

A man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if:

  • He and the child’s mother are or have been married to each other, and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated.
  • Before the child’s birth, he and the child’s mother have attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and:
    • If the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days after its termination.
    • If the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation.
  • After the child’s birth, he and the child’s mother have married or attempted to marry, although the attempted marriage could be declared invalid, and:
    • He has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the clerk of the family court.
    • With his consent, he is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate.
    • He is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order.
  • He acknowledges his paternity of the child in a writing filed with the clerk of the family court.
  • He has submitted to blood testing, and the results establish a conclusive presumption.
  • A sworn acknowledgment of paternity of a child born out of wedlock is signed by both parents.

Paternity Registry

No

Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Gen. Laws § 15-8-3

A man may acknowledge his paternity of a child in a writing filed with the clerk of the family court, who shall promptly inform the mother of the filing of the acknowledgment, and she does not dispute the acknowledgment, within a reasonable time after being informed, in a writing filed with the clerk of the family court. If another man is presumed under this section to be the child’s father, acknowledgment may be effected only with the written consent of the presumed father or after the presumption has been rebutted. The written acknowledgment of paternity shall be admissible as evidence of paternity. Paternity may also be established by a sworn acknowledgment signed by both parents, either at the Department of Human Services or Division of Taxation within the Department of Administration. The acknowledgment shall be forwarded to the State Registrar of Vital Records for the purpose of amending the birth certificate. Before signing the sworn acknowledgment of paternity, the parents shall be given written notice of their respective rights and responsibilities.

Required Information

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Revocation of Claim to Paternity Gen. Laws § 15-8-3

The sworn acknowledgment of paternity becomes a conclusive presumption if there is no court challenge to this acknowledgment within 60 days of the signing of this acknowledgment. The only defenses that may be raised to the signing of this acknowledgment after the 60-day period are fraud, duress, or mistake of fact.

A presumption under this section may be rebutted in an appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence. If two or more presumptions arise that conflict, the presumption founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic controls. The presumption is rebutted by a court decree establishing paternity of the child by another man.

Access to Information

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

Use of Advertisement

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 63-9-30(5); 63-9-310(F); 63-9-710(A)(11)

A person or entity that offers services for compensation where the intent of those services is to arrange or secure adoptions must be considered 'facilitating the placement of children for adoption,' whether those services constitute counseling, referrals, searches, or any other form of adoption services. An attorney who represents a client in an adoption or who otherwise facilitates an adoption is exempt from this definition.

Under no circumstances may a child-placing agency or any person receive any compensation for giving a consent or relinquishment of a child for the purpose of adoption, and no child-placing agency or person may receive a child for payment of any such compensation. However, reasonable and necessary costs may be assessed and payments made, subject to the court’s approval.

A petition for adoption shall specify the name and address of the child-placing agency or the person facilitating placement of the child for adoption, if any.

Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption?

Who May Adopt Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-4

The following persons may adopt:

  • Any adult resident
  • A nonresident who adopts a child in the care and custody of a child-placing agency

A husband and wife must petition jointly.

Who May Be Adopted Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-4

The following persons may be adopted:

  • Any person younger than the adopter and under age 18
  • Persons over age 18 whose adoptions are granted by the probate court

Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 15-7-2; 15-7-2.1

Placements may be made in the following manner:

  • A parent may place his or her child directly with a father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or stepparent of the child.
  • When a parent places the child with any other person, the parent must notify the Department of Children, Youth and Families within 15 days.
  • The court shall determine whether the placement is in the best interests of the child or is contrary to law. The court may approve the placement, return the child to his or her parent, or place the child with the department or a child-placing agency.

Post-Adoption Laws

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 15-7.2-2; 15-7.2-7

The following persons may use the passive voluntary adoption reunion registry:

  • Birth parents and adult birth siblings
  • The adult adopted person
  • Surviving relatives of a deceased adopted person
  • The parent or adult sibling of a deceased birth parent
  • The adoptive parent of a deceased adopted person

Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 15-7.2-1; 15-7.2-2

The passive voluntary adoption reunion registry shall provide for the transmission of nonidentifying health and social and genetic history of the adult adopted persons, birth parents, and other specified persons. Genetic and social history includes the following information that is available:

  • Medical history
  • Health status
  • Cause of and age at death
  • Height, weight, and eye and hair color
  • Ethnic origins
  • Religion, if any

Health history includes, when obtainable, the child’s health status and medical history at the time of placement for adoption, including neonatal, psychological, developmental, physiological, and medical care history.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 15-7.2-2; 15-7.2-7; 15-7.2-9; 15-7.2-12

The persons listed above may use the registry to register their willingness to the release of identifying information to each other by submitting a signed affidavit. The affidavit gives authority to the registry to release identifying information related to the registrant to the other relevant persons who register. Each registration shall be accompanied by the birth certificate of the registrant.

A registry shall release only information necessary for identifying a birth parent, adult adopted person, or adult birth sibling, and shall not release information of any kind pertaining to the adoptive parents, siblings who are children of the adoptive parents, and the income of anyone.

Any eligible registrant or any adoptive parent may file with the registry an objection to the release of identifying information. When an objection to the release of identifying information has been filed, the court shall hear the objection of the filing party prior to the release of identifying information to determine whether it is in the best interests of the parties to release identifying information.

Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7.2-12

An uncertified copy of the original birth certificate can be obtained through the adoption registry by the adult adopted person when each birth parent named on the certificate has registered.

Where the Information Can Be Located

State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Family Court, Juvenile Division

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-17

The birth parents of the adopted child shall be deprived of all legal rights respecting the child, and the child shall be freed from all obligations of maintenance and obedience respecting his or her birth parents, except it will not deprive an adopted child of the right to inherit from and through his or her birth parents in the same manner as other birth children, provided that the decree of adoption shall in no way affect all legal rights of a birth parent respecting the child and all obligations of the child of maintenance and obedience respecting the birth parent if the birth parent is legally married to the adopting parent at the time of the decree.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-16

A child lawfully adopted shall be deemed the child of the adoptive parent(s) for the purpose of inheritance by the child and his or her descendants from the parent(s), and by the adoptive parent(s) and their lineal and collateral relatives from the child.

When an adopted child is related by blood to the parent or parents by adoption, he or she and his or her descendants shall be entitled to inherit from and through the parent or parents only as an adopted child or descendants of an adopted child and not by virtue of the blood relationship.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families

What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? Gen. Laws § 15-7-14.1

Postadoption privileges may include postadoption visitation, contact, and/or conveyance of information.

A postadoption privileges agreement must contain the following provisions:

  • An acknowledgment by the birth parents that the adoption is irrevocable, even if the adoptive parents do not abide by the postadoption privileges agreement
  • An acknowledgment by the adoptive parents that the agreement grants the birth parents the right to seek to enforce the postadoption privileges set forth in the agreement

Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement? Gen. Laws § 15-7-14.1

The adoptive parents and the birth parents may jointly negotiate and execute a postadoption privileges agreement that is approved and filed with the family court.

What is the role of the court in postadoption contact agreements? Gen. Laws § 15-7-14.1

At the time an adoption decree is entered, the court entering the decree may grant postadoption visitation, contact, and/or conveyance of information privileges (hereinafter referred to as ‘postadoption privileges’) to a birth parent who has consented to an adoption or voluntarily terminated the parent-child relationship or has had his or her parental rights involuntarily terminated.

A court may grant postadoption privileges if:

  • The court determines that the best interests of the child would be served by granting postadoption privileges.
  • The court finds there is a significant emotional attachment between the child and the birth parent.
  • The adoptive parents and the birth parents jointly negotiate and execute a postadoption privileges agreement that is approved and filed with the family court.
  • The Department of Children, Youth, and Families and the child's court-appointed special advocate or the guardian ad litem recommend that the postadoption privileges agreement be approved by the court; or if the adoption petition is being sponsored by a licensed child-placing agency other than the department, the licensed child-placing agency sponsoring the adoption makes a recommendation that the postadoption privileges agreement be approved by the court.
  • Consent to the postadoption privileges is obtained from the child if the child is at least 12 years of age.
  • The postadoption privileges agreement is approved by the court.

Are agreements legally enforceable? Gen. Laws § 15-7-14.1

A birth parent or an adoptive parent may file a petition with the court entering the adoption decree to compel a birth parent or adoptive parent to comply with the postadoption privileges agreement.

Before the court hears a motion to compel compliance with an agreement, the court shall give notice and an opportunity to be heard to the licensed, child-placing agency that sponsored the adoption and to the child’s court-appointed special advocate or court-appointed guardian ad litem if one had been appointed prior to the finalization of adoption.

The court may not award monetary damages as a result of the filing of a petition under the above section.

A court may not revoke a decree of adoption because a birth parent or an adoptive parent fails to comply with a postadoption privileges agreement approved by the court.

How may an agreement be terminated or modified? Gen. Laws § 15-7-14.1

A birth parent or an adoptive parent may file a petition with the court entering the adoption decree to modify the postadoption privileges agreement.

The court may void or modify a postadoption privileges agreement at any time before or after the adoption if the court determines after a hearing that the best interests of the child require the voiding or modification of the agreement.

Before the court voids or modifies an agreement, the court shall give notice and an opportunity to be heard to the licensed, child-placing agency that sponsored the adoption and to the child’s court-appointed special advocate or court-appointed guardian ad litem if one had been appointed prior to the finalization of adoption.

Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

Gen. Laws §§ 23-3-15(e); 23-3-15.1

The State Registrar will, upon request, prepare and register a certificate of foreign birth for a foreign-born child who is not a U.S. citizen and who was adopted in State court when it receives:

  • A report of adoption from the court decreeing the adoption
  • Proof of the date and place of the child’s birth
  • A request from the court, the adopting parents, or the adoptee who is age 18 or older, that a certificate be prepared

The certificate shall be labeled ‘certificate of foreign birth’ and shall show the actual country of birth.

After registration of the certificate in the new name of the adoptee, the State Registrar will seal and file the report of adoption. The report will not be subject to inspection except upon court order or as provided by regulation.

A child who has automatically acquired U.S. citizenship following a foreign adoption and possesses a certificate of citizenship in accordance with the Child Citizenship Act (P.L. 106-395) is exempt from provisions that require judicial procedures and reports to obtain a new birth certificate. The State Registrar must, upon written request, prepare a certificate of foreign birth for a child who was born in a foreign country, adopted by a U.S. citizen, and has acquired citizenship when it receives the following documents:

  • Certificate of citizenship
  • Foreign birth certificate
  • Original documents certified by the U.S. embassy abroad
  • Permanent U.S. identification card
  • Social Security card

Source

Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. [1]

References