Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Massachusetts

Date: May 2019

Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 210, §§ 2; 2A; 5A; 6

Any surrender given outside of the Commonwealth shall be valid for the purpose of this section if it was taken in accordance with laws of the State or the country where it was executed.

No decree of adoption shall be entered for the adoption of a child younger than age 14 until one of the following conditions has been met:

  • The child sought to be adopted has been placed with the petitioners for adoption by the Department of Children and Families or by an agency authorized by the department for such purpose.
  • The petitioner is a blood relative of the child sought to be adopted.
  • The petitioner is a stepparent of the child sought to be adopted.
  • The petitioner was nominated in the will of a deceased natural parent of the child as a guardian or an adoptive parent.
  • The petition for adoption has been approved in writing by the department or by an agency authorized by the department.

No decree shall be made upon such a petition until the report prepared by the department has been received, nor until the child shall have resided for not less than 6 months in the home of the petitioner. For good cause shown, the court, in its discretion, may waive the requirement of residence.

If the court is satisfied of the identity and relations of the persons, and that the petitioner is sufficiently able to bring up the child and provide suitable support and education for him or her, and that the child should be adopted, it shall make a decree of adoption. Every decree of adoption entered by the court shall include the words 'this adoption is final and irrevocable.'

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 210, § 6

No decree shall be made under this section until there has been filed in the court a statement, signed and sworn to by the petitioners, setting forth the following:

  • The date of birth and place of residence of each adopting parent and such other facts relating to each parent as would be required by chapter 46, § 13, for the correction of the record of the birth of the person sought to be adopted
  • A copy of the birth record of such person

Filing of a copy of the birth record may be dispensed with if the judge is satisfied that it cannot be obtained.

Background Studies

Citation: Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 210, § 5A

Upon the filing of a petition for adoption of a child under age 14, notice shall be given to the department. The department shall make appropriate inquiry to determine the condition and antecedents of the child to determine whether he or she is a proper subject for adoption and to determine whether the petitioners and their home are suitable for the proper rearing of the child. The department shall submit to the court not later than 30 days after receipt of such notice a written report that will give the court full knowledge as to the desirability of the proposed adoption.

In any petition for adoption, the department shall submit to the court verification that the adoptee is not registered with the Federal register for missing children and the central register. The court may require such further investigation and report by the department as may be necessary. All reports submitted hereunder shall be filed separately and apart from the other papers in the case and shall not at any time be open to inspection, except by the parties and their attorneys, unless the court, for good cause shown, shall otherwise order.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 210, § 6

With the decree of adoption, all rights, duties, and other legal consequences of the natural relation of child and parent shall thereafter exist between the child and the petitioner and his or her kindred, and such rights, duties, and legal consequences shall terminate between the adopted child and his or her natural parents and kindred or any previous adopting parent. The court also may decree such change of name as the petitioner may request.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 210, § 6A; Ch. 46, § 13

Following the making of a decree of adoption, the court shall issue to the petitioner or petitioners a certificate of adoption setting forth all the facts relating to the adopting parent, or parents, as appearing in the statement required to be filed by § 6, including the following:

  • The name of and all other facts relating to the person adopted, as appearing in any copy of birth record or decree of adoption
  • The name of the court making such decree and the date thereof
  • If the decree authorizes a change in the name of the person adopted, his or her new name

If a person has been adopted by judicial decree, the clerk of the town where such person was born or the State registrar shall receive the certificate of the adoption issued or a certified copy of the decree for the adoption, whether issued by a probate court for the Commonwealth or by the appropriate court of any other State or country. After receiving the certificate of adoption or a certified copy, the State registrar shall correct the record of birth of the person so adopted. If the certificate or certified copy does not contain the facts relative to the adopting parents needed for correcting the record, the State registrar shall not correct the record until he or she has received an affidavit, signed and sworn to by the adopting parents or by the person adopted, furnishing such facts.