Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Mississippi

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 93-17-307; 93-15-107; 93-17-3; 93-17-11; 93-17-13

A foreign adoption may not be a full and final adoption eligible for registration if the child has an IH-4 or IR-4 U.S. visa. In that case, it will be necessary to proceed under Mississippi general adoption law because the adoption of the foreign-born child was not finalized in the country of the child's birth.

The court may waive service of process (for consent) if an adoptive child was born in a foreign country, put up for adoption in the birth country, and has been legally admitted into this country.

Any person may be adopted in accordance with the provisions of this chapter by an unmarried adult or by a married person whose spouse joins in the petition. The adoption shall be by sworn petition filed in the chancery court of the county in which the adopting petitioner or petitioners reside. The court shall have the power to change the name of the child as a part of the adoption proceedings.

At any time after the filing of the petition for adoption and before the entering of a final decree, the court may require an investigation and report to the court to be made by any person as the court may designate and shall require in adoptions that a home study be performed of the petitioners by a licensed adoption agency or by the Department of Human Services. The investigation and report shall give the material facts upon which the court may determine whether the child is a proper subject for adoption, whether the petitioners are suitable parents for the child, whether the adoption is in the child's best interests, and any other facts or circumstances that may be material to the proposed adoption.

If, upon the filing of the investigation and report and the presentation of such other evidence as may be desired by the court, the court determines that it is in the best interests of the child, the court may enter an interlocutory decree upon such terms and conditions as may be determined by the court, but including therein that the complete care, custody, and control of the child shall be vested in the petitioners until further orders of the court. During such time, the child shall be and remain a ward of the court.

A final decree of adoption shall not be entered before the expiration of 6 months from the entry of the interlocutory decree except (1) when the child has resided in the home of any petitioner prior to the granting of the interlocutory decree, in which case the court may, in its discretion, shorten the waiting period by the length of time the child has thus resided, or (2) when an adoption in a foreign country is registered under Article 9 of this chapter, the Mississippi Registration of Foreign Adoptions Act.

A final decree of adoption shall not be entered until a court-ordered home study is satisfactorily completed, if required in § 93-17-11.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 93-17-3; 93-17-11

The adoption petition shall be accompanied by a doctor's or nurse practitioner's certificate showing the physical and mental condition of the child to be adopted and a sworn statement of all property, if any, owned by the child. In addition, the petition shall be accompanied by affidavits of the petitioners stating the amount of the service fees charged by any adoption agencies or adoption facilitators used by the petitioners and any other expenses paid by the petitioners in the adoption process as of the time of filing the petition. If the doctor's or nurse practitioner's certificate indicates any abnormal mental or physical condition or defect, the condition or defect shall not, in the discretion of the chancellor, bar the adoption of the child if the adopting parents file an affidavit stating full and complete knowledge of the condition or defect and stating a desire to adopt the child, notwithstanding the condition or defect.

The home study shall be considered by the court in determining whether the petitioners are suitable parents for the child. The court, when an investigation and report are required by the court or by this section, shall stay the proceedings in the cause for such reasonable time as may be necessary or required in the opinion of the court for the completion of the investigation and report by the person designated and authorized to make the same.

Background Studies

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 93-17-3; 93-17-14

No person may be placed in the home of or adopted by the prospective adopting parties before a court-ordered or voluntary home study is satisfactorily completed by a licensed adoption agency, a licensed social worker approved by the chancery court, or by the Department of Human Services on the prospective adoptive parties, if required by § 93-17-11.

In the case of international adoptions, a home study of the prospective adopting parents shall be valid for a period of 24 months from the date of completion.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-11

After the entry of the interlocutory decree and before entry of the final decree, the court may require such further and additional investigation and reports as it may deem proper. The rights of the parties filing the consent or served with process shall be subject to the decree but shall not be divested until entry of the final decree.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-13

The final decree shall adjudicate, in addition to such other provisions as may be found by the court to be proper for the protection of the interests of the child; and its effect, unless otherwise specifically provided, shall be as follows:

  • That the child shall inherit from and through the adopting parents and shall likewise inherit from the other children of the adopting parents to the same extent and under the same conditions as provided for the inheritance between brothers and sisters of the full blood by the laws of descent and distribution of the State of Mississippi
  • That the adopting parents and their other children shall inherit from the child, just as if such child had been born to the adopting parents in lawful wedlock
  • That the child and the adopting parents and adoptive kindred are vested with all of the rights, powers, duties, and obligations, respectively, as if such child had been born to the adopting parents in lawful wedlock
  • That the name of the child shall be changed if desired
  • That the natural parents and natural kindred of the child shall not inherit by or through the child, except as to a natural parent who is the spouse of the adopting parent
  • That all parental rights of the natural parent or parents shall be terminated, except as to a natural parent who is the spouse of the adopting parent

Nothing in this chapter shall restrict the right of any person to dispose of property under a last will and testament.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-21

Either an original or a revised birth certificate may be issued, as hereinafter provided, by the Bureau of Vital Statistics to any child who was born outside the United States or its possessions and adopted by an order of a court in this State. Upon presentation of a certified copy of the final decree of adoption containing the required information, the Director of the Bureau of Vital Statistics shall be authorized and directed to receive said certified copy of the decree of adoption and prepare therefrom, and record, a birth certificate that shall disclose the following information:

  • The adoptive name of the child
  • The race, sex, date of birth, and actual (town, district, and county) place of birth
  • The names, races, ages, places of birth, and occupations of the adoptive parents, including the maiden name of the adoptive mother