Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Indiana

Date: May 2019

Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-28-2; 31-19-18-3; 31-19-2-6; 31-19-8-9; 31-19-11-1

Every decree of a court terminating parental rights issued by a court of any other jurisdiction within or outside the United States shall be recognized in Indiana so that the rights and obligations of the parties concerning matters within the jurisdiction of Indiana shall be determined as though the decree were issued by an Indiana court.

Every consent to adoption taken in a jurisdiction outside Indiana that is valid under the law in force in the State, territory, or country where the consent to adoption was taken or would be valid if the consent to adoption had been taken in Indiana s a valid consent to an adoption.

A petition for adoption must specify the following:

  • To the extent known, the name, sex, race, age, and place of birth of the child sought to be adopted
  • The new name to be given the child, if a change of name is desired
  • If the child possesses real or personal property, the value and full description of the property
  • The name, age, and place of residence of a petitioner for adoption and, if married, place and date of their marriage
  • To the extent known, the name and place of residence of the parent or parents of the child
  • If the child is an orphan, the guardian or the nearest kin of the child, if the child does not have a guardian
  • The time, if any, during which the child lived in the home of the petitioner for adoption
  • Whether the petitioner for adoption has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor relating to the health and safety of children and, if so, the date and description of the conviction
  • Additional information consistent with the purpose and provisions of this article that is considered relevant to the proceedings

As soon as possible after the provisions of § 31-19-7-1 and this chapter have been satisfied, the court shall proceed to hear and determine the petition for adoption. The court shall grant the petition for adoption and enter an adoption decree whenever the court has heard the evidence and finds the following:

  • The adoption is in the best interests of the child.
  • The petitioners for adoption are sufficiently able to rear the child and furnish suitable support and education.
  • The report of the investigation and recommendation under § 31-19-8-5 has been filed.
  • Proper consent, if consent is necessary, to the adoption has been given.
  • The petitioner for adoption is not prohibited from adopting the child as the result of an inappropriate criminal history.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-2-7; 31-19-2-7.5

Effective July 1, 2019: Except as provided in subsection (e), a medical report of the health status and medical history of the child sought to be adopted and the child's birth parents must accompany a petition for adoption or be filed no later than 60 days after the filing of a petition for adoption.

The medical report must include neonatal, psychological, physiological, and medical care history and be on forms prescribed by the State registrar. A copy of the medical report shall be sent to the State registrar and the prospective adoptive parents.

Every petitioner for adoption shall submit the necessary information, forms, or consents for a licensed child-placing agency or the local office that conducts the inspection and investigation required for adoption of a child under § 31-19-8-5 to conduct a criminal history check of the petitioner as part of its investigation.

Background Studies

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-7-1; 31-9-2-22.5

Before giving prior written approval for placement in a proposed adoptive home of a child, a licensed child-placing agency or the Department of Child Services shall conduct a criminal history check (as defined in § 31-9-2-22.5) concerning the proposed adoptive parent and any other person who is currently residing in the proposed adoptive home.

'Conduct a criminal history check' means to request the State police department to conduct the following:

  • A fingerprint-based criminal history background check of both national and State records databases concerning a person who is at least age 18
  • A national name-based criminal history records check of a person who is at least age 18
  • Collect each substantiated report of child abuse or neglect reported in a jurisdiction where a probation officer, a caseworker, or the department has reason to believe that a person who is age 14 or older resided within the previous 5 years
  • Conduct a check of the National Sex Offender Registry maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice for all persons who are at least age 14
  • Conduct a check of local criminal records in every jurisdiction where a person who is at least age 18 has resided within the previous 5 years, unless the department or a court grants an exception to conducting this check

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-8-1; 31-19-8-2; 31-19-8-5 through 31-19-8-8

An adoption may be granted in Indiana only after the court has heard the evidence and, except as provided in § 31-19-8-2(c), a period of supervision, as described in § 31-19-8-2, by a licensed child-placing agency.

The period of supervision may be before or after the filing of a petition for adoption, or both. The length of the period of supervision is within the sole discretion of the court hearing the petition for adoption.

Not more than 60 days from the date of reference of a petition for adoption to each appropriate agency, the child-placing agency shall submit to the court a written report of the investigation and recommendation as to the advisability of the adoption. The report and recommendation shall be filed with the adoption proceedings and become a part of the proceedings.

The report must, to the extent possible, include the following:

  • The former environment and antecedents of the child
  • The fitness of the child for adoption
  • The suitability of the proposed home for the child

The criminal history information required under § 31-19-2-7.5 must accompany the report.

The court shall consider the report submitted under § 31-19-8-5. If the court finds that further investigation or further supervision is necessary, the court shall continue the case to a later date that the court considers advisable for final determination. At that time the court shall determine the case.

The report and recommendation of the licensed child-placing agency are not binding on the court but are advisory only.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-19-15-1

If the birth parents of an adopted person are alive, the birth parents are relieved of all legal duties and obligations to the adopted child and divested of all rights with respect to the child. The parent-child relationship is terminated after the adoption, unless the parent-child relationship was terminated by an earlier court action, operation of law, or otherwise.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-12-1; 31-19-2-2

For each adoption decreed by an Indiana court, the clerk of the court shall prepare a record on a form prescribed and furnished by the State Department of Health. The record must include the following:

  • All facts necessary to locate and identify the certificate of birth of the individual adopted and establish a new certificate of birth for the individual adopted
  • Official notice from the court of the fact of adoption, including identification of the court action and proceedings

The official decree of each adoption that is provided to the clerk of the circuit court for the official order book record must set forth all pertinent information that is necessary to make possible the establishment of the birth records prescribed above. The completion of the record is a prerequisite to the issuance of a certificate of final adoption by the court.