Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Guam

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, §§ 4221; 4213

In the case of a child whose admission to the United States (territory of Guam) as an eligible orphan with nonquota immigrant status pursuant to the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act is sought for the purposes of adoption in the territory of Guam, the following preadoption requirements shall be observed:

  • The foster parents must present to the court a verified written application containing the required information, in such form as the court may prescribe for an order of preadoption investigation.
  • The foster parents must appear for examination before the court.
  • The verified written application shall contain the following information:
    • The names and place of residence of the foster parents
    • Whether they are of full age
    • Whether they are married or unmarried and, if married, whether they are living together
    • The name, date, and place of birth of the foster child, as nearly as can be ascertained
    • The religious faith of the foster parents
    • The religious faith of the foster child and his or her parents, as nearly as can be ascertained
    • The occupation and approximate income of the foster parents and the name by which the foster child is to be known
    • The facts that establish that the child is an eligible orphan who would be entitled to enter the United States with nonquota immigrant status for the purpose of adoption in the territory of Guam
    • The circumstances whereby and the names and addresses of the intermediaries, if any, through whom the foster parents learned of the existence and eligibility of the child
    • The names and addresses of the person, public authority, or agency in the child's country of residence executing the written release of the child for emigration and adoption
    • The consent to such adoption, and the circumstances under which the release and consent were obtained, to the extent known

On the return of the preadoption investigation, the judge shall examine the facts shown by the investigation. If the court is satisfied that the adoption is in the best interests of the child, that there has been compliance with all requirements hereof, and is satisfied that the moral and temporal interests of the child will be promoted by the adoption, it shall issue an original certificate under seal and two certified copies thereof. The certificate shall set forth the fact that a preadoption investigation has been conducted, that in the opinion of the court it is in compliance with all applicable laws, and that it appears from such investigation that the moral and temporal interests of the child will be promoted by the proposed adoption. The original certificate shall be filed with the clerk of the court, one certified copy shall be filed with the Social Services Administrator, and the second certified copy will be given to the foster parents.

If, after the hearing and consideration of the report required by § 4210, 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 make an order granting the adoption. The order may change the name of the child to that of the petitioner. The order of the court shall be in writing and shall recite the findings upon which such order is based. Such order shall be conclusive and binding on all persons from the date of entry. The clerk of the court shall mail a copy of every adoption decree to the territory's Office of Vital Statistics.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, § 4221

The application must be accompanied by the following duly authenticated documentary evidence:

  • That the child is an alien who is eligible for immigration to the United States under Federal laws and regulations, as a nonquota immigrant for purposes of adoption in the territory of Guam
  • That he or she is an orphan because of the death or disappearance of both parents; because of abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents; or has only one parent due to the death or disappearance of, abandonment, or desertion by, or separation or loss from the other parent, and the remaining parent is incapable of providing care for such orphan and has in writing irrevocably released him or her for immigration and adoption and has consented to the proposed adoption
  • That the foster parents agree to adopt and treat the foster child as their own lawful child
  • Such additional releases and consents as the court may in its sound discretion require

In all cases in which the orphan has no remaining parent under the circumstances set forth above, documentary evidence must be presented that the person, public authority, or duly constituted agency having lawful custody of the orphan at the time of making of the application, hereunder, had in writing irrevocably released him or her for immigration and adoption and has consented to the proposed adoption.

Background Studies

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, § 4221

Upon receiving the verified written application, required documentary evidence, agreement, and consents, the court, upon finding that the applicable provisions of this section have been complied with and that it appears that the proposed adoption may be in the best interests of the child, shall issue an order of preadoption investigation. The order of preadoption investigation shall require that the report of such investigation be made by the Division of Social Services. The caseworker shall make a written report of his or her investigation into the truth and accuracy of the statements in the application and where applicable, into the validity of the documentary evidence, submitted with the application. The caseworker shall ascertain as fully as possible and incorporate in his or her report the various factors that may bear upon the determination of the application for adoption including, but not limited to, the following information:

  • The marital and family status and history of the foster parents
  • The physical and mental health of the foster parents
  • The property owned by and the income of the foster parents
  • The compensation paid or agreed upon with respect to the placement of the child for adoption
  • Whether either foster parent has ever been respondent in any proceeding concerning allegedly neglected, abandoned, or delinquent children
  • The desirability of bringing the child into the territory of Guam for adoption
  • Any other facts relating the familial, social, religious, emotional, and financial circumstances of the foster parents that may be relevant to a determination of suitability of the adoption

The written report of the preadoption investigation shall be submitted to the court within 30 days after the same is directed to be made, unless for good cause shown the court shall grant a reasonable extension of such period. The report shall be filed before the court shall issue its preadoption certificate that it appears that the adoption is in the best interests of the child.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, § 4210

Upon the filing of a petition, the court shall direct that a social study be made by the division and that a report in writing of such study be submitted to the court prior to the hearing. The court may order additional social studies if it deems necessary. The social study shall include the social history, the present condition of the child, the child's placement in the home of the petitioners and his or her adjustment therein, the suitability of the home, and such other information as may be pertinent to the adoption proceeding. The report shall include a recommendation and the reasons therefore as to whether the petition for adoption should be granted and shall be accompanied by a verified transcript of the child's birth certificate. The purpose of the social study is to aid the court in making disposition of the petition and shall be considered by the court prior thereto.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, § 4214

Upon 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 shall thereafter exist between the adopted child and the adoptive parents the same as though the child were born to the adoptive parents in lawful wedlock.

Upon entry of the decree of adoption, the relationship of parent and child between the adopted child and the persons who were his or her parents just prior to the decree of adoption shall be completely severed, and all the legal rights, privileges, duties, obligations, and other legal consequences of the relationship shall cease to exist, including the right of inheritance.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Code Tit 10, § 3215.1

The Guam Registrar of Vital Statistics shall, upon request, establish a new certificate of birth for a person born in a foreign country when in receipt of a report of adoption decreed by a court of competent jurisdiction, proof of the date and place of the person's birth, and a request that such a certificate be prepared is made by the court, the adopting parent or parents, or the adopted person if he or she is age 18 or older. The certificate shall be labeled 'certificate of foreign birth' and shall show the actual country of birth. The certificate shall show the true or probable 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 or for the adoptive parent or parents. After registration of the certificate in the new name of the adopted person, the Guam Registrar shall seal the report of adoption, which shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction.