Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - New Jersey

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 9:3-43.1(b); 9:3-47

If an adopting parent files a petition in this State for adoption of a child born in a country other than the United States, a court may grant a judgment of adoption without requiring the consent of a parent otherwise required pursuant to § 9:3-41 if the petitioner files with the petition a judgment of adoption, guardianship, or termination of parental rights granted by a judicial, administrative, or executive body of a jurisdiction or country other than the United States that is in compliance with the laws of that country.

When the child to be adopted has been received from an approved agency, the prospective parent shall file with the court a petition for adoption after the child has been in the home of the prospective parent for at least 6 months. Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall set a date for the adoption hearing not less than 10 nor more than 30 days from the date the petition was filed, unless a longer period is required to obtain service of notice upon one or more of the people entitled to receive notice.

If, based upon the approved agency's report and the evidence presented at the hearing, the court is satisfied that the best interests of the child would be promoted by the adoption, the court shall enter a judgment of adoption.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-41.1

An approved agency making an investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the surrender of a child shall provide a prospective parent with all available information, other than information that would identify or permit the identification of the birth parent of the child, relevant to the child's development, including his or her developmental and medical history, personality, and temperament; the parent's complete medical histories, including conditions or diseases that are believed to be hereditary; any drugs or medications taken during pregnancy; and any other conditions of the parent's health that may be a factor influencing the child's present or future health.

Background Studies

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-54.2

A home study completed by an approved agency shall include a recommendation regarding the suitability of the home for the placement of a child based upon the results of State and Federal criminal history records checks for each prospective adoptive parent and each adult residing in the home. For the purposes of this section, the Federal criminal history records check conducted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security on a prospective adoptive parent shall be valid for the prospective adoptive parent in fulfilling the home study requirement for the State.

A home study completed by an approved agency shall include a recommendation regarding the suitability of the home for the placement of the child based upon a check for any records that might reveal a history of child abuse or neglect by the proposed adoptive parent or member of the parent's household who is age 18 or older.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-47

After the petition has been filed, the court shall order the approved agency to file at least 5 days prior to the hearing a written report that shall describe the circumstances surrounding the surrender of the child and shall set forth the results of the agency's evaluation of the child, the petitioner, and any other person residing in the proposed adoptive home, including the agency's assessment of the care being received by the child and the adjustment of the child and the petitioner as members of a family.

No more than 30 days prior to the hearing, the court shall conduct a search of the records of the central registry to determine whether a prospective adoptive parent or any member of the parent's household has had a domestic violence restraining order entered against them or been charged with a violation of a court order involving domestic violence.

If the agency's report or the results of the court's search of the central registry contain any material findings or recommendations adverse to the petitioner, the agency shall serve a copy of that part of the agency's report or the results of the court's search upon the petitioner at least 5 days prior to the hearing, and the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the child in the adoption proceeding if the court determines that a guardian is necessary to represent the best interests of the child.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-50

The entry of a judgment of adoption shall establish the same relationships, rights, and responsibilities between the child and the adopting parent as if the child were born to the adopting parent in lawful wedlock.

The entry of a judgment of adoption shall do the following:

  • Terminate all parental rights and responsibilities of the parent toward the adoptive child, except for a parent who is the spouse of the petitioner and except those rights that have vested prior to entry of the judgment of adoption
  • Terminate all rights of inheritance under intestacy from or through the parent, unless that parent is the spouse of the petitioner or that parent or other relative had died prior to the judgment of adoption
  • Terminate all rights of inheritance under intestacy from or through the child that existed prior to the adoption

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 9:3-52(b); 26:8-40.1

Upon entry of a judgment of adoption, the clerk of the court shall certify to the State registrar, any successor agency, or any similar agency in the State or country of the child's birth, the date of entry of the judgment, the names of the adopting parent or parents, the name of the child, the date and place of birth of the child, and the new name of the child, if changed by the judgment of adoption.

When any person is adopted pursuant to provisions of the laws of any State or country, and the adoption has been certified to the State registrar as required by § 9:3-52(b), or a certification or a certified copy of the decree or judgment of the court in the adoption proceedings is submitted, the State registrar shall establish, in lieu of the original birth record, a certificate of birth showing the following:

  • The name of the adopted person as changed by the decree of adoption, if changed
  • The date and place of birth
  • The names of the adopting parents or parent, including the maiden name of the female adopting parent if that name is given in the certification or certified copy of the decree or judgment of the court
  • The date of filing

The certificate of birth shall be of the same general type as is used in making a birth certificate for a person who has not been adopted.

The State Registrar may file the new certificate for any child born in a foreign country who was not a citizen of the United States at the time of the child's birth, whose adopting parent is a resident of this State, and who is adopted through a court of competent jurisdiction in this State. The new certificate shall be filed upon receipt of the following:

  • A request for the certificate from the court, the adopting parent, or the adopted person if that person is age 18 or older
  • Proof that the adopting parent is a resident of this State
  • An official copy of the judgment of adoption
  • A certified translation of the foreign adoption record
  • Proof of the date and place of the child's birth
  • Proof of the child's immigrant visa status

When applicable, the State registrar may file a new certificate for any child who is not a citizen of the United States and who is adopted by a resident of this State. The certificate shall bear the notation 'certificate of foreign birth,' which also shall be shown upon any copy of the certificate issued. The notation may be removed at any subsequent date upon submission of acceptable proof that the child has become a citizen of the United States.