Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - New York

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Dom. Rel. § 115-a

In the case of a child whose admission to the United States as an eligible orphan with nonquota immigrant status pursuant to the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act is sought for the purpose of adoption in the State of New York, the following preadoption requirements shall be observed:

  • The adoptive parents or parent must submit a verified written application containing the information set forth below, in such form as is necessary for a judge to order a preadoption investigation to determine whether the adoption may be in the best interests of the child.
  • The adoptive parents or parent must appear for examination before the judge of the court where the preadoption proceedings are instituted.
  • The application must be accompanied by documentary evidence (1) that the child is an alien under age 16 and (2) that he or she is an orphan because of the death or disappearance of both parents; separation or loss from both parents; or who has only one parent due to the death or disappearance of, abandonment, or desertion by, or separation or loss from the other parent, and the remaining parent is incapable of providing care for such orphan and has in writing irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption and has consented to the proposed adoption.
  • The application must include additional releases and consents as the court may require.

On the return of the preadoption investigation, the judge shall examine the written report of the preadoption investigation and shall determine whether to issue a preadoption certificate.

If the court is satisfied that the adoption may be in the best interests of the child and that there has been compliance with all requirements, and the court is satisfied that the moral and temporal interests of the child will be promoted by the adoption, the judge shall issue a certificate setting forth the fact that a preadoption investigation has been conducted.

The private-placement adoption of children who have been brought into the United States and the State for such purpose and placed with the adoptive parent or parents shall be effected after issuance of the preadoption certificate, except that (a) the petition also shall recite the preadoption proceedings and (b) the court may, in its discretion for good cause shown, waive a subsequent investigation. In such case, the order of adoption shall recite the reason for such action.

In any case where there has been a failure to comply with the requirements of this section, if applicable, no order of adoption shall be made until 1 year after the court shall have received the petition to adopt. The court may shorten such waiting period for good cause shown, and, in such case, the order of adoption shall recite the reason for such action.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Dom. Rel. § 115-a

When the orphan has no remaining parent under the circumstances described in statute, documentary evidence must be presented that the person, public authority, or duly constituted agency having lawful custody of the orphan at the time of the making of the application for adoption has in writing irrevocably released the child for immigration and adoption; has consented to the proposed adoption; and that the adoptive parents agree to adopt and treat the adoptive child as their own lawful child.

The verified written application shall contain the following information:

  • The names and place of residence of the adoptive parents
  • Whether they are of full age
  • Whether they are married or unmarried and, if married, whether they are living together as husband and wife
  • The name, date, and place of birth of the adoptive child, as nearly as can be ascertained
  • The religious faith of the adoptive parents
  • The religious faith of the adoptive child and his or her parents, as nearly as can be ascertained
  • The medical history of the adoptive child, as nearly as can be ascertained
  • The occupation and approximate income of the adoptive parents
  • The name by which the adoptive child is to be known
  • That no previous application has been made to any court or judge for adoption or if so made, the disposition of it
  • A statement as to whether the adoptive child has been previously adopted, if such fact is known to the adoptive parents
  • The facts that establish that the child is an eligible orphan who would be entitled to enter the United States with nonquota immigrant status for the purpose of adoption in New York State
  • The circumstances whereby, and names and addresses of the intermediaries, if any, through whom the adoptive parents learned of the existence and eligibility of the child
  • The names and addresses of the person or persons, public authority, or duly constituted agency in the land of the child's residence executing the written release of the child for emigration and adoption, and the consent to the adoption
  • The circumstances under which the release and consent were obtained, insofar as they are known to the adoptive parents

The verified written application also shall contain the following information about the adoptive child's birth parents, to the extent that it can be determined:

  • The parents' nationality, ethnic background, and race
  • The number of years of school completed by the parents at the time of the birth of the child
  • General physical appearance of the parents at the time of the birth of the child, including height; weight; and color of hair, eyes, and skin
  • Occupation of the parents at the time of the birth of the child
  • Health and medical history of the parents at the time of the birth of the child, including all available information about conditions or diseases believed to be hereditary
  • Any drugs or medication taken during pregnancy by the child's mother
  • Any other information that may be a factor influencing the child's present or future health
  • Talents, hobbies, and special interests of the parents

Background Studies

Citation: Dom. Rel. § 115-a

Upon receiving the verified written application, required documentary evidence, agreement, and consents, the judge, upon finding that the applicable provisions of § 115-a have been complied with and that it appears that the proposed adoption may be in the best interests of the child, shall issue an order of preadoption investigation. The order of preadoption investigation shall require that the report of such investigation be made by a disinterested person, who in the opinion of the judge is qualified by training and experience, or by an authorized agency specifically designated by the judge to examine into the statements set forth in the application. The investigator shall make a written report of his or her investigation into the truth and accuracy of the statements in the application and, where applicable, into the validity of the documentary evidence submitted with the application. The investigator shall ascertain as fully as possible and incorporate in his or her report the various factors that may bear upon the determination of the application for adoption, including, but not limited to, the following information:

  • The marital and family status and history of the adoptive parents
  • The physical and mental health of the adoptive parents
  • The property owned by and the income of the adoptive parents
  • The compensation paid or agreed upon with respect to the placement of the child for adoption
  • Whether either adoptive parent has ever been a respondent in any proceeding concerning allegedly neglected, abandoned, or delinquent children
  • The desirability of bringing the child into New York State for private-placement adoption
  • Any other facts relating the familial, social, religious, emotional, and financial circumstances of the adoptive parents that may be relevant to a determination of suitability of the adoption

The written report of preadoption investigation shall be submitted to the judge within 30 days after the court has ordered it to be made, unless for good cause shown the judge shall grant a reasonable extension of such period. The report shall be filed with the judge, in any event, before the court shall issue its preadoption certificate that it appears that the adoption is in the best interests of the child.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Dom. Rel. § 116

When the adoptive child is younger than age 18, no order of adoption shall be made until 3 months after the court has received the petition to adopt.

At the time of receiving the petition, agreement, and consents, the judge, upon finding that the applicable provisions of this title have been complied with and that it appears that the adoption may be in the best interests of the child, shall issue an order of investigation. The order shall direct that the investigation shall not unnecessarily duplicate any previous investigations that have been made of the petitioner.

A postplacement investigation conducted pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be made by a disinterested person who, in the opinion of the judge or surrogate, is qualified by training and experience to perform postplacement investigations. The investigator shall make a written report of his or her investigation into the truth and accuracy of the allegations of the petition, and, where applicable, into the statements contained in the affidavit required by § 115 of this title, and he or she shall ascertain as fully as possible and incorporate in the report the various factors that may bear upon the determination of the application for adoption, including, but not limited to, the following information:

  • The marital and family status and history of the adoptive parents and adoptive child
  • The physical and mental health of the adoptive parents and adoptive child
  • The property owned by and the income of the adoptive parents
  • The compensation paid or agreed upon with respect to the placement of the child for adoption
  • Whether either adoptive parent has ever been respondent in any proceeding concerning allegedly abused, neglected, abandoned, or delinquent children
  • Any other facts relating to the familial, social, religious, emotional, and financial circumstances of the adoptive parents that may be relevant to a determination of adoption

The written report of investigation shall be submitted to the judge within 30 days after the same is directed to be made, unless for good cause shown the judge shall grant a reasonable extension of such period. The report shall be filed with the judge, in any event, before the final order of adoption is granted.

If the judge has found that there has been compliance with all requirements and is satisfied that the best interests of the child will be promoted by granting an order of adoption, the provisions of § 114 shall apply.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Dom. Rel. § 117

After the making of an order of adoption, the birth parents of the adoptive child shall be relieved of all parental duties toward and of all responsibilities for and shall have no rights over such adoptive child or to his or her property by descent or succession. The rights of an adoptive child to inheritance and succession from and through his birth parents shall terminate upon the making of the order of adoption.

The adoptive parents and the adoptive child shall sustain toward each other the legal relation of parent and child and shall have all the rights and be subject to all the duties of that relation, including the rights of inheritance from and through each other and the birth and adopted kindred of the adoptive parents or parent.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Pub. Hlth. Law § 4138-b

Whenever the adoption or finalization of a foreign adoption has been reported to the Commissioner of Health, the commissioner shall file a birth certificate for the child, provided there is no other birth certificate or other birth record on file other than in the country where the child was born and that a certificate of birth data does not exist for that person. Such birth certificate shall be filed upon receipt of the following:

  • Proof that the adoptive parent was a resident of this State at the time of adoption
  • A copy of the adoption documents of the jurisdiction or country in which the child was adopted
  • A certified translation of the foreign adoption documents
  • Evidence of the date and place of the child's birth
  • Evidence of IR-3, IR-4, or IH-3 immigrant visa status or a successor immigrant visa status

The birth certificate shall include the child's name, sex, date of birth, time of birth, place of birth, mother's maiden name, and father's name. A birth certificate for a foreign-country adoption that has been filed by a local registrar and all supporting documentation shall be submitted by the local registrar to the commissioner who shall file a new birth certificate pursuant to this section.