Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Maine

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-C, §§ 9-302(2); 9-303; 9-304; 9-308

Effective July 1, 2019: Consent to adoption is not required of a putative parent if the putative parent holds no parental rights regarding the adoptee under the laws of the foreign country in which the adoptee was born.

A petition for adoption must be sworn to by the petitioner and must include the following:

  • The full name, age, and place of residence of the petitioner and, if married, the place and date of the marriage
  • The date and place of birth of the adoptee, if known
  • The birth name of the adoptee, any other names by which the adoptee has been known, and the adoptee's proposed new name, if any
  • The residence of the adoptee at the time of the filing of the petition
  • A statement of the petitioner's intention to establish a parent-child relationship between the petitioner and the adoptee and a statement that the petitioner is a fit and proper person able to care and provide for the adoptee's welfare
  • The names and addresses of all persons or agencies known to the petitioner that affect the custody of, visitation with, or access to the adoptee
  • The relationship, if any, of the petitioner to the adoptee
  • The names and addresses of the department and the licensed child-placing agency, if any
  • The names and addresses of all persons known to the petitioner at the time of filing from whom consent to the adoption is required
  • If the petition is for the adoption of a minor child, a statement that the petitioner acknowledges that after the adoption is finalized, the transfer of the long-term care and custody of the adoptee without a court order is prohibited under title 17-A, § 553(1)(C)-(D)

If the court is satisfied with the identity and relations of the parties to a petition for adoption; with the ability of the petitioner to bring up and educate the child properly, considering the condition of the child's parents; and with the fitness and propriety of the adoption, the court shall make a decree setting forth the facts and declaring that from that date the child is the child of the petitioner and that the child's name is changed, without requiring public notice of that change.

The court shall grant a final decree of adoption if the petitioner who filed the petition has been heard or has waived hearing and the court is satisfied from the hearing or record that all of the following have been met:

  • All necessary consents, relinquishments, or terminations of parental rights have been duly executed and filed with the court.
  • An adoption study, when required by § 9-304, has been filed with the court.
  • A list of all disbursements, as required by § 9-306, has been filed with the court.
  • The petitioner is a suitable adopting parent and desires to establish a parent-child relationship with the adoptee.
  • The best interests of the adoptee are served by the adoption.
  • All requirements of this article have been met.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-C, § 9-304

Effective July 1, 2019: A certified copy of the birth certificate of the child proposed for adoption must be presented with the petition for adoption if the certified copy can be obtained or made available by filing a delayed birth registration.

Background Studies

Citation: Rev. Stat, Tit. 18-C, § 9-304

Effective July 1, 2019: Upon the filing of a petition for adoption of a minor child, the court shall request a background check and shall direct the Maine Department of Health and Human Services or a licensed child-placing agency to conduct a study and make a report to the court.

The study must include an investigation of the conditions and antecedents of the child to determine whether the child is a proper subject for adoption and whether the proposed home is suitable for the child. The department or licensed child-placing agency shall submit the report to the court within 60 days.

The court shall request a background check for each prospective adoptive parent who is not a parent of the child. The background check must include a screening for child abuse cases in the records of the department and criminal history record information obtained from the Maine Criminal Justice Information System and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The department, the licensed child-placing agency, or any other person who acts to place or assist in placing a child for adoption shall make reasonable efforts to obtain medical and genetic information about the child and the child's parents. Specifically, the department, the licensed child-placing agency or any other person who acts to place or assist in placing the child for adoption shall attempt to obtain from the child's parents any information concerning the following:

  • A current medical, psychological, and developmental history of the child
  • An account of the child's prenatal care and medical condition at birth, results of newborn screening, and any drug or medication taken during pregnancy by the mother
  • Any subsequent medical, psychological, or psychiatric examination and diagnosis
  • Any physical, sexual, or emotional abuse suffered by the child
  • A record of any immunizations and health care received since birth

Prior to the child being placed for adoption, the department, the licensed child-placing agency, or any other person who acts to place or assist in placing the child for adoption shall provide the child's medical history information to the prospective adoptive parents.

There is a rebuttable presumption that the petitioner would create a situation of jeopardy for the child if the adoption were granted and that the adoption is not in the best interests of the child if the investigation reveals that the petitioner has a record of any of the following:

  • A conviction for a child-related sexual offense in which the victim was a minor at the time of the offense and the petitioner was at least 5 years older than the minor at the time of the offense, except that, if the offense was gross sexual assault and the minor victim submitted as a result of compulsion, the presumption applies regardless of the ages of the petitioner and the minor victim at the time of the offense

The petitioner may present evidence to rebut the presumption.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Rev. Stat, Tit. 18-C, § 9-304

Effective July 1, 2019: The court may require that a minor child subject to a petition for adoption under this section live for 1 year in the home of the petitioner before the petition is granted and that the child, during all or part of this probationary period, be under the supervision of the department or a licensed adoption agency.

The court may appoint a guardian ad litem for a minor child subject to a petition for adoption under this section at any time during the proceedings.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat, Tit. 18-C, §§ 9-308; 9-105

Effective July 1, 2019: The court shall enter its findings in a written final decree that includes the new name of the adoptee. The final decree must further order that from the date of the decree the adoptee is the child of the petitioner and must be accorded the status set forth in § 9-105.

An order granting the adoption of the child by the petitioner divests the parent and child of all legal rights, powers, privileges, immunities, duties, and obligations to each other as parent and child, except an adoptee inherits from the adoptee's former parents, if provided in the adoption decree.

Except as otherwise provided by law, an adopted person has all the same rights, including inheritance rights, that a child born to the adoptive parents would have. An adoptee also retains the right to inherit from the adoptee's former parents, if the adoption decree so provides.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Rev. Stat, Tit. 18-C, § 9-304; Tit. 22, § 2765

Effective July 1, 2019: After the adoption has been decreed, the register shall file a certificate of adoption with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics on a form prescribed and furnished by the State registrar.

The State registrar shall establish a Maine certificate of birth for a person born in a foreign country and for whom a decree of adoption has been entered in a court of competent jurisdiction in Maine when the registrar receives the following:

  • A certificate of adoption, as provided in title 18-C, § 9-304
  • A request that a new certificate be established

Any birth certificate issued under this section shall show the true or probable foreign country of birth and shall indicate that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the child for whom it is issued or for the adoptive parents.