Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - New Hampshire

Date: May 2019

Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 170-B:7; 170-B:16; 170-B:19; 170-B:22; 170-B:28

Surrender of parental rights is not required of parents whose parental rights have been determined to be voluntarily or involuntarily terminated by the proper authorities in another country, as evidenced by documentation issued by the U.S. Department of State and deemed acceptable by probate court rule.

A proceeding to adopt a minor child shall be commenced by the filing of a petition within 30 days after the child has been placed in an adoptive home. The following information shall accompany every petition for adoption:

  • The date and place of birth of the adoptee, if known
  • The name to be used for the adoptee
  • The date the petitioner acquired custody of the minor and the name of the person or agency placing the minor
  • The full name, age, place, and duration of residence of the petitioner
  • The marital status of the petitioner, including the date of marriage, if married
  • That the petitioner has facilities and resources suitable to provide for the nurture and care of the minor adoptee and that it is the desire of the petitioner to establish the relationship of parent and child with the adoptee

If at the conclusion of the hearing the court determines that the required surrenders have been obtained and that the adoption is in the best interests of the adoptee, it shall issue an interlocutory decree of adoption that shall not become final until the minor adoptee has lived in the adoptive home for at least 6 months after placement by an agency or the Department of Health and Human Services or for at least 6 months after the department or the court has been informed of the custody of the minor by the petitioner, and the department or a licensed child-placing agency has had an opportunity to observe or investigate the adoptive home.

Within 7 days after the final decree is filed, the clerk shall send a hard copy of the report of the adoption to the commissioner and to the Department of State, Division of Vital Records Administration.

Any person or any public or private agency, before bringing into this State from any other State or country for adoption or receiving such child in this State for such purpose, shall make an application to the commissioner of the department. Such application shall be in the form prescribed by the commissioner and shall contain such information as the commissioner may require. No placement of the child shall occur until permission has been obtained from the commissioner. No petition for adoption of a child from another State or country shall be granted in the absence of compliance with this section.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 170-B:16; Circuit Court Rules, Rule 91

As part of the adoption petition, a certified copy of the birth certificate or verification of birth record of the adoptee shall be sent to the court.

If the surrender was executed in another State or country, or medical information was not provided as required under § 170-B:9, the petitioner shall file with the court information on the age and medical and personal backgrounds of the birth parents and minor child. Such personal information may include, but not be limited to, ethnic and religious background, as is reasonably known.

If a minor child is to be adopted from another State or country, the petition shall include documentation indicating compliance with § 170-B:28.

In court rules: Unless the court orders otherwise, any one of the following documents, which indicate that the child is a foreign adoptee (IR-3 status) or the subject of a foreign guardianship awarded for the purpose of the child's adoption in the United States (IR-4 status), will be accepted by the court as evidence that the parental rights of the parents of the proposed adoptee have been voluntarily or involuntarily terminated by the proper authorities in a foreign country:

  • An attested or certified copy of the adoptee's Certificate of Citizenship issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • An attested or certified copy of the proposed adoptee's alien registration card indicating either IR-3 or IR-4 status
  • An attested or certified copy of the proposed adoptee's passport issued in his/her country of birth, with the U.S. visa stamp affixed indicating either IR-3 or IR-4 status

Background Studies

Citation: Admin. Rules § He-C 6448.13

The child-placing agency shall conduct an assessment of the adoptive family, as follows:

  • Includes at least one visit made to the home
  • Consists of individual and joint meetings, when applicable, with the couple
  • Involves all adults and children of sufficient understanding in the household
  • Shall be completed within 6 months of the date that the application was received, unless the applicants agree in writing that the agency may extend the time allowed to complete the family assessment
  • Provides written results to the applicant of the adoptive family assessment within 30 days after completing the family assessment
  • Includes consideration of the following factors to assess the adoptive parent applicant's compatibility with a child and any problems the adoptive parent applicants might encounter following the adoption:
    • The adoptive parent applicants' motivation to adopt
    • If applicable, how the adoptive parent applicants have dealt with issues of their infertility
    • The adoptive parent applicants' expectations of the child and preferred child characteristics
    • The adoptive parent applicants' feelings about adoption and how adoption will be explained to the child, including the following:
      • Searches
      • Reunification
      • Open adoption (i.e., agreements for postadoption contact with birth relatives)
      • Attitude toward parents who place their child for adoption
      • The background of the child

The adoptive parent applicant shall not have been convicted of child abuse or neglect or any other serious crime that would affect the ability to care for children. The adoptive parent applicants and all household members shall be screened by the Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) for any founded reports of child abuse or neglect. If a founded report is on file for any member of the adoptive parent applicant's household, DCYF staff in cooperation with staff from the child-placing agency shall conduct a complete review of the circumstances surrounding the report. If, after review, DCYF determines that the household member poses no further threat to any child, the child-placing agency shall proceed with the application process.

Other qualifications include the following:

  • Adoptive parent applicants, whether married or single, have established a stable and consistent home life in that the applicant is self-sufficient and has adequate support systems, such as extended family and friends in the community who are able to assist the family.
  • The applicants demonstrate good physical and emotional health, with a reasonable expectation that the good health will continue throughout the minority of the child.
  • The adoptive home has sufficient physical space and accommodations for the adoptive child.
  • The applicants have sufficient income to support the family and the child they wish to adopt.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Admin. Rules § He-C 6448.15

Following placement of the child, the child-placing agency caseworker shall do the following:

  • Contact the adoptive family, by phone or in person, within 3 weeks of placement
  • Meet in person with the adoptive family and the child(ren) at least once every 2 months until the adoption is finalized
  • Conduct at least two of the required home visits in the home of the adoptive family

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 170-B:25

Upon the issuance of the final decree of adoption, the adoptee shall be considered the child of the adopting parent or parents, entitled to the same rights and privileges and subject to the same duties and obligations as if such adoptee had been born of the adopting parent or parents.

Until the issuance of the final decree of adoption, the adoptee shall be considered the child of such adoptee's birth parent or parents only with respect to inheritance rights or privileges.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 5-C:34

The registrar shall establish a New Hampshire certificate of foreign birth for a person born in a foreign country and for whom a final decree of adoption has been issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in New Hampshire. This certificate of foreign birth shall be established and registered, and a certified copy of such certificate issued when the registrar receives a request and a fee of $25 from the adoptive parents or adopted person older than age 18 for such a certificate and a report of the adoption, as provided in § 170-B:22.

A completed application for certificate of foreign birth shall include the following information:

  • The county of the probate court involved
  • The name of the child prior to adoption
  • The names of the adoptive parents
  • The date the adoption was approved by the probate court
  • The full name of the child after adoption
  • The child's sex and date of birth
  • The city or town, the State or local equivalent, and the country of the child's place of birth
  • The child's alien registration card number
  • Information from both adoptive parents, if a couple is adopting, or one parent in the case where one parent is adopting, including the following:
    • Each parent's full name, including the full maiden name of the adoptive mother, if applicable
    • Each parent's date and place of birth
    • Each parent's residence address
    • Each parent's signature or the signature of the child's legal guardian or legal representative if a minor
    • The date signed
  • The signature of a justice of the peace or the signature and seal of a notary public

The applicant shall attach the following documents to the completed application for a certificate of foreign birth:

  • A report of adoption as required by § 170-B:22
  • A certified copy of the original adoption decree
  • The child's alien registration card
  • The documents used to establish the date and place of birth, such as an English translation of the original birth certificate, a copy of an adoption report from the adoption agency, or any report issued by the government of the country of birth describing facts known regarding the origin of the child