Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Georgia

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 19-8-8(b); 19-8-13; 19-8-18

A child, who was born in a country other than the United States and for whom a decree or order of guardianship has been entered pursuant to due process of law by a court of competent jurisdiction or an administrative proceeding in the country of the child's birth or the country in which the child habitually resided immediately prior to coming to the United States terminating the parental rights of both of his or her parents and establishing a guardian-ward relationship between each petitioner named in the foreign decree or order of guardianship and the child according to the law of such foreign country, shall be eligible to be adopted pursuant to this subsection if a consular officer of the U.S. Department of State has issued and affixed in the child's passport an immediate-relative immigrant visa or Hague Convention immigrant visa.

Evidence of the issuance of an immediate-relative immigrant visa or Hague Convention immigrant visa by the U.S. Department of State in the child's passport shall be prima facie evidence that all parental rights have been terminated, that the child is legally available for adoption by each petitioner named in the foreign decree or order of guardianship, and that the guardian-ward relationship between each petitioner named in the foreign decree or order of guardianship and the child was granted in full compliance with the laws of the foreign country. The court need not make any inquiry into those proceedings but shall be authorized to finalize the child's adoption.

The petition for adoption shall set forth the following:

  • The name, age, date and place of birth, marital status, and place of residence of each petitioner
  • The name by which the child is to be known after the adoption
  • The sex, date and place of birth, and citizenship or immigration status of the child, and if the child is neither a U.S. citizen nor a lawful permanent resident, how the child will be able to obtain lawful permanent resident status
  • The date and circumstances of the placement of the child with each petitioner
  • A full and complete description of any property possessed by the child
  • Whether the child has one or both parents or his or her birth father who is not a legal father living
  • Whether the child has a guardian and, if so, the name of the guardian and the name of the court that appointed the guardian
  • Whether the child has a legal custodian and, if so, the name of the legal custodian and the name of the court that appointed the custodian

If the petition for adoption was filed pursuant to § 19-8-8(b), the court shall enter a decree of adoption terminating the guardianship; granting the permanent custody of the child to each petitioner; changing the date of birth of the child, if so requested, provided that evidence was presented justifying such change; and declaring the child to be the adopted child of each petitioner if the court is satisfied that the petitioner has fully complied with the requirements of § 19-8-13 and that the following is true:

  • Each petitioner in his or her capacity as guardian of the child has surrendered all of his or her rights to the child in the manner provided by law.
  • Each petitioner is able to assume responsibility for the care, supervision, training, and education of the child.
  • The child is suitable for adoption in a private family home.
  • The adoption requested is in the best interests of the child.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-13

When the adoption is pursuant to § 19-8-8(b), the following shall be provided or attached to the petition for adoption when the petition for adoption is filed:

  • A copy, along with an English translation, of the final decree or order of guardianship from the foreign country
  • Copies of all postplacement reports, if required by the foreign country that entered the guardianship decree or order
  • Authorization to proceed with adoption, if specifically required by the decree or order entered by the court or administrative agency in the foreign country
  • A copy of the child's passport page showing an immediate-relative immigrant visa or Hague Convention immigrant visa obtained to grant the child entry into the United States in order to finalize his or her adoption
  • A copy, along with an English translation, of the child's birth certificate or registration

Background Studies

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-16

If the petition for adoption has been filed pursuant to § 19-8-8, the appointment of an agent to make an investigation and render a report shall not be required.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-8(b)

When the foreign decree or order of guardianship requires specific postplacement supervision, the court shall not be authorized to finalize the child's adoption until the petitioner provides documentation of formal evidence that the conditions of the foreign decree or order of guardianship have been satisfied.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-19

A decree of adoption, whether issued by a court of this State or by a court of any other jurisdiction, shall have the following effect as to matters within the jurisdiction of or before a court in this State:

  • Except with respect to a spouse of the petitioner and relatives of the spouse, a decree of adoption shall terminate all legal relationships between the adopted individual and his or her relatives, including his or her parent, so that the adopted individual thereafter shall be a stranger to his or her former relatives for all purposes, including inheritance.
  • A decree of adoption shall create the relationship of parent and child between each petitioner and the adopted individual, as if the adopted individual were a child that was born to that petitioner, including the right of inheritance.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 19-8-8(b), (c); 31-10-13(f)(2)

Once a child's adoption is granted pursuant to this subsection, he or she shall be entitled to have a certificate of foreign birth issued to him or her by the State Office of Vital Records of the Georgia Department of Public Health pursuant to § 31-10-13(f)(2).

The court shall have authority to change a child's date of birth from that shown on the child's original birth certificate and as reflected in the child's passport upon presentation by a preponderance of evidence of a more accurate date of birth.

If a person was born in a foreign country and was not a citizen of the United States at the time of birth but meets the requirements of the Federal Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-395) and was adopted through a court in this State, the State registrar shall prepare and register a certificate in this State. The certificate shall be established upon receipt of a report of adoption from the court decreeing the adoption and proof of the date and place of birth of the child. The certificate shall be labeled 'certificate of foreign birth' and shall show the actual country of birth. After registration of the birth certificate in the new name of the adopted person, the State registrar shall seal and file the report of adoption, which shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as provided by statute.