Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Colorado

Date: May 2019

Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-203; 19-5-206; 19-5-208; 19-5-210

A child may be available for adoption only upon verification by the Department of Human Services or its designated agent that any custody obtained outside the State of Colorado was acquired by proceedings sanctioned by the Federal Immigration and Naturalization Service* or any successor agency, in cooperation with the department whenever such cooperation is authorized or advised by Federal law.

A placement of any child legally available for adoption pursuant to § 19-5-203 must not be made for the purposes of adoption, except by the court, the county Department of Human or Social Services, or a licensed child-placing agency.

The petition for adoption shall be filed no later than 35 days after the date on which the child is first placed in the home of the adoptive applicants for the purpose of adoption. The court shall then fix a date for the hearing.

Every petition shall contain the following:

  • The name, date and place of birth, race, and place of residence of each petitioner, including the maiden name of the adopting mother, and the date of marriage, if any, of the petitioners
  • The name, date and place of birth, and place of residence, if known by the petitioner, of the child to be adopted
  • The relationship, if any, of the child to the petitioner
  • The full name by which the child shall be known after adoption
  • The full description of the property, if any, of the child
  • The names of the parents of the child, and the address of each living parent, if known to the petitioner
  • The name of the agency or person to whom the custody of the child has been given by the court
  • The length of time the child has been in the care and custody of the petitioner
  • The names of other children, both natural and adopted and both living and dead, of the adopting parents
  • The residence and occupation of each petitioner at or about the time of the birth of the child

A hearing on the adoption petition shall be held on the date set. Except in stepparent, second parent, custodial, or kinship adoptions, the court shall issue a certificate of approval of placement, placing the child's custodial care with prospective adoptive parents pending final hearing on the petition for adoption, if it appears to the court that the placement for adoption is in the best interests of the child.

The court shall hold a hearing on the petition no sooner than 182 days after the date the child begins to live in the prospective adoptive parent's home, unless for good cause shown that time is extended or shortened by the court. At the hearing held on the petition, the court shall enter a decree setting forth its findings and grant to the petitioner a final decree of adoption if it is satisfied as to the following:

  • The availability of the child for adoption
  • The adopting parents' good moral character and ability to support and educate the child
  • The suitableness of the adopting parents' home of the person adopting such child
  • The criminal history record check of the prospective adoptive parent does not reveal a criminal history
  • The mental and physical condition of the child as a proper subject for adoption in said home
  • That the best interests of the child will be served by the adoption

The former name of the child shall not be stated in the final decree of adoption.

*As of March 1, 2003, the responsibility for providing immigration-related services was transferred from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The statutes do not yet reflect this change.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-207; 19-5-208; 19-5-205.5

When a child is placed for adoption by the county department, a licensed child-placing agency, or an individual, the department, agency, or individual shall file with the petition to adopt its written and verified consent to such adoption in addition to any notices received or sent pursuant to the terms of the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children.

The petition shall be accompanied by a standardized affidavit form prescribed by the Judicial Department disclosing any and all fees, costs, or expenses charged or to be charged by any person or agency in connection with the adoption.

Pursuant to § 19-5-208(4), all fees and costs charged for services associated with the review and approval of interstate and foreign adoptions shall be separately specified in the expenses listed for the court's review as required.

Background Studies

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-207

In all petitions for adoption, whether by the court, the county, or child-placing agencies, in addition to written consent, the court shall require a written home-study report from the county department, the designated qualified individual, or the child-placing agency that describes the following:

  • The physical and mental health, emotional stability, and moral integrity of the petitioner and the ability of the petitioner to promote the welfare of the child
  • Confirmation that the petitioner has participated in adoption counseling, if the court deems appropriate
  • The physical and mental condition of the child
  • The child's family background, including the names of parents and other identifying data regarding the parents, if obtainable
  • Reasons for the termination of the parent-child legal relationship
  • The suitability of the adoption of this child by this petitioner and the child's own disposition toward the adoption in any case in which the child's age makes this feasible
  • The length of time the child has been in the care and custody of the petitioner

In addition to the written home-study report, the court shall require that fingerprint-based criminal history records checks be conducted for any prospective adoptive parent and any adult residing in the home.

A prospective adoptive parent shall be responsible for presenting the results of his or her fingerprint-based criminal history records check and the results of the criminal history records check of any adult residing in the home to the court for review by the court. The county department or the child-placing agency, as may be appropriate, shall report to the court any case in which fingerprint-based criminal history records checks reveal that the prospective adoptive parent or any adult residing in the home was convicted at any time of a felony or misdemeanor in one of the following areas:

  • Child abuse or neglect; spousal abuse; any crime against a child, including, but not limited to, child pornography; any act of domestic violence; violation of a protection order; or any crime involving violence, rape, sexual assault, or homicide
  • Any felony physical assault or battery conviction or felony drug-related conviction within, at a minimum, the past 5 years

In addition, the county department, the individual, or the child-placing agency conducting the investigation shall contact the State Department of Human Services and the appropriate entity in each State in which the prospective adoptive parent or parents or any adult residing in the home has resided in the preceding 5 years to determine whether the prospective adoptive parent or parents or any adult residing in the home has been found to be responsible in a confirmed report of child abuse or neglect and shall report such information to the court.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-205.5

The department shall ensure that the licensed child-placing agency handling the adoption does the following:

  • Reviews all background information concerning the birth parents and individual case material on the adopting family's assessment
  • Reviews all legal documents related to the relinquishment or termination of the birth parents' rights
  • Reviews all birth and medical information
  • Reviews correspondence with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service or any successor agency in foreign adoptions
  • Reviews the child's social history, legal documents, medical information, and birth certificate in foreign adoption cases in which the child is to be placed in Colorado
  • Provides relinquishment counseling
  • Promotes permanent plans for the adopted child
  • Complies with Federal and Colorado laws, including, but not limited to, the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children
  • Provides timely services
  • Ensures the overall protection of the child being adopted

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-211

After the entry of a final decree of adoption, the person adopted is, for all intents and purposes, the child of the petitioner. He or she is entitled to all the rights and privileges and is subject to all the obligations of a child born to the petitioner.

The parents shall be divested of all legal rights and obligations with respect to the child, and the adopted child shall be free from all legal obligations of obedience and maintenance with respect to the parents.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 25-2-113

A new certificate of birth shall be prepared by the State registrar as to any adopted person born in a foreign country and a resident of this State whenever the State registrar receives with respect to such person a certified copy of the final decree of adoption, as required by §§ 19-5-212 and 25-2-107, and findings of fact as required by this section. In proceedings for the adoption of a person who was born in a foreign country, the juvenile court having jurisdiction of adoptions, upon evidence from reliable sources, shall make findings of fact as to the date and place of birth and parentage of such person.

The State registrar shall prepare a new birth certificate in the new name of the adopted person and shall seal the certified copy of the findings of the court and the certified copy of the final decree of adoption, which shall be kept confidential. The birth certificate shall be labeled as a certificate of foreign birth and shall show specifically the true or probable country of birth and that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship.

Any copy of a certificate of foreign birth issued shall indicate this policy, show the actual place of birth, and indicate the fact that the certificate is not proof of U.S. citizenship for the adopted child. A new certificate of birth in the new name of the adopted person prepared by the State registrar pursuant to this section is hereby legalized and made valid.