Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Arkansas

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-210

A petition for adoption, signed and verified by the petitioner, shall be filed with the clerk of the court and provide the following information:

  • The date and place of birth of the individual to be adopted, if known
  • The name to be used for the individual to be adopted
  • The date the petitioner acquired custody of the minor and of placement of the minor and the name of the person placing the minor
  • A statement as to how the petitioner acquired custody of the minor
  • The full name, age, place, and duration of residence of the petitioner
  • The marital status of the petitioner, including the date and place of marriage, if married
  • A statement that the petitioner has facilities and resources suitable to provide for the nurture and care of the minor to be adopted and that it is the desire of the petitioner to establish the relationship of parent and child with the individual to be adopted
  • A description and estimate of value of any property of the individual to be adopted
  • The name of any person whose consent to the adoption is required but who has not consented and facts or circumstances that excuse the lack of his or her normally required consent to the adoption

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 9-9-210; 9-9-212

A certified copy of the birth certificate or verification of birth record of the individual to be adopted, if available, and the required consents and relinquishments shall be filed with the clerk.

A written report of the home study shall be filed with the court before the petition is heard. The home study shall contain an evaluation of the prospective adoption with a recommendation as to the granting of the petition for adoption and any other information the court requires regarding the petitioner or minor.

Background Studies

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-212

Before placement of the child in the home of the petitioner, a home study shall be conducted by any licensed child welfare agency or any licensed certified social worker. The home study shall address whether the adoptive home is a suitable home and shall include a recommendation as to the approval of the petitioner as an adoptive parent.

The home study shall include a State-of-residence criminal background check, if available, and national fingerprint-based criminal background check on the adoptive parents and all household members age 18 1/2 and older, excluding children in foster care, performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in compliance with Federal law and regulation. A child maltreatment central registry check shall be required for all household members age 14 and older, excluding children in foster care, as a part of the home study, if such a registry is available in their State of residence.

Additional national fingerprint-based criminal background checks performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation are not required for international adoptions as they are already a part of the requirements for adoption of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

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

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-215

A final decree of adoption and an interlocutory decree of adoption that has become final, whether issued by a court of this State or of any other place, have the following effect as to matters within the jurisdiction or before a court of this State:

  • To relieve the birth parents of the adopted individual of all parental rights and responsibilities and to terminate all legal relationships between the adopted individual and his or her birth relatives, including his or her birth parents, so that the adopted individual thereafter is a stranger to his or her former relatives for all purposes
  • To create the relationship of parent and child between petitioner and the adopted individual, as if the adopted individual were a legitimate blood descendant of the petitioner, for all purposes, including inheritance

An interlocutory decree of adoption, while it is in force, has the same legal effect as a final decree of adoption.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 9-9-219; 20-18-406

Upon entry of a final decree of adoption or an interlocutory decree of adoption that does not require a subsequent hearing, the clerk of the court shall prepare an application for a birth record in the new name of the adopted individual and forward the application to the appropriate vital statistics office of the place, if known, where the adopted individual was born and forward a copy of the decree to the Division of Vital Records of the Department of Health for statistical purposes. The division may issue a birth certificate for any child born in a place whose law does not provide for the issuance of a substituted certificate.

Upon request, the State registrar shall prepare and register an Arkansas certificate of birth for a person born in a foreign country, who is not a citizen of the United States, and for whom a final order of adoption has been entered in a court of competent jurisdiction in Arkansas when he or she receives the following:

  • A certificate of adoption as provided in § 9-9-219
  • Proof of the date and place of the adopted child's birth
  • A request by the court decreeing the adoption, the adoptive parents, or the adopted person if he or she is age 18 or older

After preparation of the birth certificate in the new name of the adopted person, the State registrar shall seal and file the certificate of adoption. This certificate shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as provided by regulation or as otherwise provided by State law.

The birth certificate shall show the actual foreign country of birth and shall state that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the child for whom it is issued.