Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Arizona

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 8-102; 8-103; 8-106; 8-109; 8-115; 8-116

A foreign-born person who is age 21 or younger and who is not an illegal alien, who is present within this State at the time the petition for adoption is filed, may be adopted.

Any adult resident of this State, whether married, unmarried, or legally separated, is eligible to qualify to adopt children. A husband and wife may jointly adopt children.

The court shall not grant an adoption of a child unless consent to adopt has been obtained and filed with the court from the child's birth parents. It is not necessary to obtain consent to adopt from a parent whose parental rights have been terminated by court order.

A child who is age 12 or older must give consent in open court.

The potential adoptive parent or parents, an agency, or the Department of Child Safety may file a petition to adopt. The petition shall specify the following:

  • The full name, age, and place of residence of the prospective adoptive parent and, if married, the date and place of marriage and the relationship, if any, to the child
  • That a certificate of acceptability to adopt has been issued in favor of the prospective adoptive parent and the date of its issuance or the reason preadoption certification is not required
  • The date when the prospective adoptive parent acquired custody of the child and from what person or agency, or, if not in custody, the present custodial circumstances
  • The date and place of birth of the child
  • The name of the child or the fictitious name to be used in the proceedings and, if a change of name is desired, the name
  • That it is the desire of the prospective adoptive parent to adopt the child
  • A full description and statement of the value of all property owned or possessed by the child
  • Full disclosure of any fees or anything of value given or paid to any person or organization in connection with the adoption of the child

Any written consent required by this article may be attached to the petition or may be filed after the filing of the petition at or before the hearing.

The court shall hold a hearing on a petition in as informal a manner as the requirements of due process and fairness permit. The prospective adoptive parent, the spouse of a prospective adoptive parent, and the child to be adopted shall attend, unless the court orders otherwise.

The court shall make its findings based on a preponderance of the evidence. The court may consider any and all reports required by this article or ordered by the court.

If, after the hearing and consideration of all the evidence, the court is satisfied that the requirements of this article have been met and that the adoption is in the best interests of the child, the court shall order the adoption. The order may change the name of the child to the name requested by the adoptive parent or parents in the petition. If the child being adopted is age 12 or older, the court shall consider the wishes of the child with respect to the name change. The written order of the court shall include the findings of fact on which it based its order, including the court's jurisdiction and the date and place of birth of the child being adopted based on the best-available evidence.

If the exact place of birth is unknown, the order shall include the information that is known and designate a place of birth according to the best information known as to the country of origin. If the exact date of birth is unknown, the order shall establish a date of birth based on the medical evidence as to the probable age of the child and other evidence the court considers appropriate.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Juv. Court Proc., Rule 83

Within 10 days prior to the finalization of an adoption, the petitioner shall provide to the court the following documents, if applicable:

  • A certified copy of the birth certificate of the child to be adopted
  • An affidavit of compliance from an attorney or agency, as provided by law
  • A verified accounting, unless the prospective adoptive parent is the child's stepparent
  • The original agreement entered into by the birth parent and prospective adoptive parent regarding future communications among the parties, as provided by law
  • The social study, as required by law or ordered by the court

The following documents may be provided to the court prior to or at the time of the hearing:

  • The certificate of adoption
  • The order of adoption
  • All original consents, as provided by law

Background Studies

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-112

The department, an agency, or an officer of the court shall conduct and submit a social study to the court 10 days before the hearing on the petition to adopt. The social study shall include the following:

  • The social history, heritage, and mental and physical condition of the child and the child's birth parents
  • The child's current placement in the prospective adoptive parent's home and the child's adjustment to that home
  • The prospective adoptive parent's suitability to adopt
  • The existing and proposed arrangements regarding the child's custody
  • Any financial arrangement concerning the proposed adoption made by the birth parents, the department, an agency, an attorney, or the prospective adoptive parents
  • A State and Federal criminal records check of the prospective adoptive parent and each adult who is living permanently with the prospective adoptive parent
  • A central registry records check, including any history of child welfare referrals with the department, of the prospective adoptive parent and each adult who is living permanently with the prospective adoptive parent
  • Any other information that is pertinent to the adoption proceedings

The social study is part of the case file and shall contain a definite recommendation for or against the proposed adoption and the reasons for that recommendation.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-117

On entry of the decree of adoption, the relationship of parent and child and all the legal rights, privileges, duties, obligations, and other legal consequences of the natural relationship of child and parent thereafter exist between the adopted child and the adoptive parent as though the child were born to the adoptive parent in lawful wedlock. The adopted child is entitled to inherit real and personal property from and through the adoptive parent, and the adoptive parent is entitled to inherit real and personal property from and through the adopted child the same as though the child were born to the adoptive parent.

On entry of the decree of adoption, the relationship of parent and child between the adopted child and the persons who were the child's parents before entry of the decree of adoption is completely severed and all the legal rights, privileges, duties, obligations, and other legal consequences of the relationship cease to exist, including the right of inheritance.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 36-338(D), (F)

If the adopted person does not have an IR-3 stamped passport, before the State registrar can create and register a certificate of foreign birth pursuant to this section an adoptive parent or an adult adopted person must submit either of the following:

  • An original State of Arizona certificate of adoption issued by a court in this State
  • A certified court order of adoption issued by a court in this State and either a birth certificate from the country of the adopted person's birth that has been translated into English or any other written documentation that establishes the date and place of the adopted person's birth and that has been translated into English

A State of Arizona certificate of foreign birth for an adopted person must show the country of birth and state that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the person for whom it is issued.