Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Hawaii

Date: May 2019

Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 578-1; 578-8

Any proper adult person who is not married, or any person married to the legal father or mother of a minor child, or a husband and wife jointly may petition the family court for leave to adopt an individual toward whom the person or persons do not sustain the legal relationship of parent and child and for a change of the name of the individual.

No decree of adoption shall be entered unless a hearing has been held at which the petitioner or petitioners, any legal parent married to a petitioner, and any subject of the adoption whose consent is required have personally appeared before the court, unless expressly excused by the court. After considering the petition and such evidence as the petitioners and any other properly interested person may wish to present, the court may enter a decree of adoption if it is satisfied as to the following:

  • The individual is adoptable under §§ 578-1 and 578-2.
  • The individual is physically, mentally, and otherwise suitable for adoption by the petitioners.
  • The petitioners are fit and proper persons and financially able to give the individual a proper home and education, if the individual is a child.
  • The adoption will be in the best interests of the individual.

The decree shall take effect upon such date as may be fixed by the court. The date shall be not earlier than the date of the filing of the petition and not later than 6 months after the date of the entry of the decree.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Fam. Crt. Rules, Rule 118

In every adoption in which the child sought to be adopted is born out of wedlock and the natural father has not given his written consent, in order for the court to determine whether the consent of the natural father is not required, the natural mother shall, before the hearing, sign an affidavit or declaration containing sufficient information regarding her relationship with the natural father for the court to make that determination.

In an adoption for which placement is made of a child through a foreign adoption agency, and the mother's affidavit or declaration is not obtainable, the foreign adoption agency that placed the child may submit an affidavit or declaration containing the following:

  • Information the agency possesses relating to the relationship between the natural mother and the natural father
  • How the agency possesses this information
  • Whether or not the natural father ever attempted to contact the child while the child was in the custody of the agency
  • The attempts made by the agency to contact the natural mother to secure the required affidavit or declaration

The local adoption agency that placed the child with the adoptive parents, in conjunction with the foreign adoption agency, shall submit the affidavit or declaration to the judge for review, together with its report and documents relating to the child to be adopted.

Background Studies

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 578-8; 346-19.7

Before entering the adoption decree, the court shall notify the director of the Department of Human Services of the pendency of such petition for adoption and allow a reasonable time for the director to make such investigation as the director may deem proper as to the fitness of the petitioners to adopt the individual and as to whether the best interests of the individual will be served by the adoption.

Except as otherwise specified, any person who seeks to become an adoptive parent, including all adults residing in the prospective adoptive home, shall do the following:

  • Meet all standards and requirements established by the department
  • Be subject to criminal history records checks, in accordance with § 846-2.7, and child abuse and neglect registry checks, in accordance with departmental procedures
  • Provide consent to the department to obtain criminal history records and child abuse and neglect registry information

Any information collected shall be used by the department for the purpose of determining whether or not a person is suitable to be an adoptive parent. All decisions shall be subject to Federal laws and regulations.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 578-9

During the period, if any, between the entry of the adoption decree and the effective date of adoption, the decree may provide for the supervision and visitation of the minor child by the director of human services or the director's agent during that period and for any reports in connection with that supervision as the court may require.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 578-16

An adopted individual and the individual's adopting parent or parents shall sustain toward each other the legal relationship of parents and child and shall have all the rights and be subject to all the duties of that relationship, including the rights of inheritance from and through each other and the legal kindred of the adoptive parent or parents, the same as if the individual were the natural child of the adopting parent or parents.

All legal duties and rights between the individual and the individual's former legal parent or parents shall cease from the time of the adoption, except that if the individual is adopted by a person married to a legal parent of the individual, the full reciprocal rights and duties that existed between the legal parent and the individual, and the rights of inheritance as between the individual and the legal parent and the legal relatives of the parent, shall continue.

An individual legally adopted under the laws of any State or territory of the United States or under the laws of any nation shall be accorded the same rights and benefits in all respects as an individual adopted under this chapter.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 338-20.5

The Department of Health shall establish a Hawaii certificate of birth for a person born in a foreign country and for whom a final decree of adoption has been entered in a court of competent jurisdiction in Hawaii, when it receives the following:

  • A properly certified copy of the adoption decree, or certified abstract thereof on a form approved by the department
  • A copy of any investigatory report and recommendation that may have been prepared by the director of human services
  • A report on a form to be approved by the Department of Health setting forth the following:
    • The date of assumption of custody
    • The sex, color or race, and approximate age of the child
    • The name and address of the person or persons adopting the child
    • The name given to the child by the adoptive parent or parents
    • The true or probable country of birth
  • A request that a new certificate of birth be established

The true or probable country of birth shall be known as the place of birth, and the date of birth shall be determined by approximation. This report shall constitute an original certificate of birth.

After preparation of the new certificate of birth in the new name of the adopted person, the department shall seal and file the certified copy of the adoptive decree; the investigatory report and recommendation of the director of human services, if any; the report constituting the original certificate of birth; and the request for a new certificate of birth. The new certificate of birth shall show the true or probable foreign country of birth and that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the child for whom it is issued or for the adoptive parents