Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - New Mexico

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 32A-5-26; 32A-5-36

A petition for adoption shall include the following:

  • The full name, age, and place and duration of residence of the petitioner and, if married, the place and date of marriage
  • The date and place of birth of the adoptee, if known
  • The places where the adoptee has lived within the past 3 years
  • The birth name of the adoptee, any other names by which the adoptee has been known, and the adoptee's proposed new name
  • Where the adoptee is residing at the time of the filing of the petition and, if the adoptee is not living with the petitioner, when the adoptee will commence living with the petitioner
  • That the petitioner desires to establish a parent-and-child relationship with the adoptee and that the petitioner is a fit and proper person able to care and provide for the adoptee's welfare
  • The relationship, if any, of the petitioner to the adoptee
  • The name and address of the placing agency, if any
  • Whether the adoptee is foreign born and, if so, copies of the child's passport and U.S. visa and of all documents demonstrating that the adoptee is legally free for adoption, including a certificate from the U.S. Secretary of State that certifies that the adoption is a convention adoption
  • Whether the adoption is a convention adoption and, if so, the petition shall allege the following:
    • That the country in which the child has been residing is a party to the Hague Convention
    • That the agency or person who is providing the adoption service has been approved as an accrediting entity
    • That the certificate issued by the U.S. Secretary of State that certifies the adoption as a convention adoption has been filed with the court

The court shall conduct hearings on the petition for adoption to determine the rights of the parties in a manner that protects confidentiality. The petitioner and the adoptee shall attend the hearing, unless the court for good cause waives a party's appearance. The petitioner shall present and prove each allegation set forth in the petition for adoption by clear and convincing evidence.

The court shall grant a decree of adoption if it finds that the petitioner has proved the following by clear and convincing evidence:

  • The court has jurisdiction to enter a decree of adoption affecting the adoptee.
  • The adoptee has been placed with the petitioner for 90 days if the adoptee is under age 1 at the time of placement or for 180 days if the adoptee is age 1 or older.
  • The petitioner is a suitable adoptive parent and the best interests of the adoptee are served by the adoption.

The decree of adoption shall include the new name of the adoptee and shall not include any other name by which the adoptee has been known or the names of the former parents. A decree of adoption shall be entered within 6 months of the filing of the petition if the adoptee is under age 1 at the time of placement or 12 months if the adoptee is age 1 or older at the time of placement.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-5-36

The petitioner shall file all documents required pursuant to the Adoption Act and serve the Children, Youth and Families Department with copies of the documents simultaneously with the request for hearing on the petition for adoption.

The court shall grant a decree of adoption if it finds that the petitioner has proved the following by clear and convincing evidence:

  • All necessary consents, relinquishments, terminations, or waivers have been obtained.
  • The postplacement report required by § 32A-5-31 has been filed with the court.
  • Service of the petition for adoption has been made or dispensed with as to all persons entitled to notice.
  • If the adoptee is foreign born, the child is legally free for adoption and a certificate issued by the U.S. Secretary of State that certifies the adoption as a convention adoption has been filed with the court.
  • The results of the criminal records check required pursuant to provisions of the Adoption Act have been received and considered.

Background Studies

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 32A-5-14; 32A-5-14.1

The preplacement study shall be performed, as prescribed by department regulation, and shall include at a minimum the following:

  • An individual interview with each petitioner
  • A joint interview with both petitioners
  • A home visit, which shall include an interview with the petitioner's children and any other permanent residents of the petitioner's home
  • An interview with the adoptee, if age appropriate
  • An individual interview with each of the adoptee's parents
  • Exploration of the petitioners' philosophy concerning discussion of adoption issues with the adoptee
  • Initiation of a criminal records check of each petitioner
  • A medical certificate dated not more than 1 year prior to any adoptive placement assessing the petitioner's health as it relates to the petitioner's ability to care for the adoptee
  • A minimum of three letters of reference from individuals named by the petitioner
  • A statement of the capacity and readiness of the petitioner for parenthood and the petitioner's emotional and physical health and ability to shelter, feed, clothe, and educate the adoptee
  • Verification of the petitioner's employment, financial resources, and marital status
  • A statement of the results of any prior preplacement study or initiation of a preplacement study, if any, of the petitioners done by any person

The preplacement study shall be filed with the court.

A nationwide criminal history records check shall be conducted on a person who files a petition to adopt a child and on other adults residing in the prospective adoptive household. A person who files a petition to adopt a child shall provide the department with a set of fingerprints. The department is authorized to use the set of fingerprints to conduct a background check of the person providing the fingerprints by submitting the fingerprints to the Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-5-31

The postplacement report shall be completed, as prescribed by department regulations, and shall include the following:

  • The expressed desires of the parents as to the kind of adoptive family sought
  • The interaction between the adoptee and petitioner
  • The adjustment of the adoptee since placement
  • The integration and acceptance of the adoptee in the petitioner's family
  • The petitioner's ability to meet the physical and emotional needs of the adoptee
  • Whether the adoptive home is a suitable home for the proposed adoption
  • Whether the adoption is in the best interests of the adoptee
  • The type and frequency of postplacement services given to the petitioner
  • Orders, judgments, or decrees affecting the adoptee or children of the petitioner
  • Property owned by the adoptee
  • The costs, expenses, and professional fees connected with the adoption
  • Other circumstances that are relevant to the adoption of the adoptee by the petitioner
  • When the adoptee is placed by an agency, an itemized agency statement of all payments made to any person or entity in connection with the adoption, including the date paid, the amount paid, the payee, and the purpose of the payment

The postplacement report shall contain an evaluation of the proposed adoption with a recommendation as to the granting of the petition for adoption and other information required by the court.

The investigation for the postplacement report shall be conducted by the department, an agency, or an investigator. The department, agency, or investigator shall observe the adoptee and interview the petitioner in the petitioner's home as soon as possible after the receipt of notice of the action but, in any event, within 30 days after receipt of the notice.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-5-37

Once adopted, an adoptee shall take a name designated by the petitioner.

After adoption, the adoptee and the petitioner shall sustain the legal relation of parent and child as if the adoptee were the birth child of the petitioner and the petitioner were the birth parent of the child. The adoptee shall have all rights and be subject to all the duties of that relation, including the right of inheritance from and through the petitioner, and the petitioner shall have all rights and be subject to all duties of that relation, including right of inheritance from and through the adoptee.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 32A-5-38; 24-14-17; 24-14-19

Within 30 days after an adoption decree becomes final, the petitioner shall prepare an application for a birth certificate in the new name of the adoptee, showing the petitioner as the adoptee's parent, and shall provide the application to the clerk of the court. The petitioner shall forward the application to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. In the case of the adoption of a person born outside the United States, if requested by the petitioner, the court shall make findings, based on evidence from the petitioner and other reliable State or Federal sources, on the date and place of birth of the adoptee. These findings shall be certified by the court and included with the application for a birth certificate.

The State registrar shall prepare a birth record in the new name of the adoptee in accordance with the vital statistics laws but subject to the requirements of the Adoption Act as to the confidentiality of adoption records.

For each adoption decreed by a court in this State, the court shall require the preparation of a report of adoption on a form prescribed and furnished by the State registrar. The report shall include such facts as are necessary to locate and identify the certificate of birth of the adoptee, shall provide information necessary to establish a new certificate of birth of the adoptee, and shall identify the order of adoption and be certified by the clerk of the court.

The State registrar shall establish a certificate of birth for a person of foreign birth adopted under New Mexico law when the registrar receives the following:

  • A certified copy of a judgment of adoption granted by the court
  • An order issued by the court to establish a certificate of birth for that adoptee
  • Any other evidence as provided in § 24-14-17 necessary to establish a new certificate of birth

The certificate of birth established under this section shall be on a form prescribed by the State registrar and shall show the probable country of birth, pursuant to the findings of the court, and shall state that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship.