Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - North Dakota

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Cent. Code §§ 14-15-17; 14-15-09; 14-15-12; 14-14-13

A decree of court terminating the relationship of parent and child or establishing the relationship by adoption issued pursuant to due process of law by a court of any other jurisdiction within or outside of the United States must be recognized in this State, and the rights and obligations of the parties as to matters within the jurisdiction of this State must be determined as though the decree were issued by a court of this State.

Effective January 1, 2020: A petition for adoption must be signed and verified by the petitioner, filed with the clerk of the court, and state the following:

  • The date and place of birth of the individual to be adopted, if known
  • The name to be used for the individual to be adopted
  • The date the petitioner acquired custody or the date of placement of the minor and the name of the individual placing the minor
  • The full name, age, place, and duration of residence of the petitioner
  • The marital status of the petitioner, including the date and place of marriage, if married
  • That the petitioner has facilities and resources suitable to provide for the nurture and care of the minor to be adopted and that it is the desire of the petitioner to establish the relationship of parent and child with the individual to be adopted
  • A description and estimate of value of any property of the individual to be adopted
  • The name of any individual whose consent to the adoption is required but who has not consented and facts or circumstances that excuse the lack of the individual's consent normally required to the adoption

A final decree of adoption may not be issued and an interlocutory decree of adoption does not become final until the minor to be adopted has lived in the adoptive home for at least 6 months.

The petitioner and the individual to be adopted shall appear at the hearing on the petition, unless the presence of either is excused by the court for good cause shown.

If, at the conclusion of the hearing, the court determines that the required consents have been obtained and that the adoption is in the best interests of the individual to be adopted, the court may do either of the following:

  • Issue a final decree of adoption
  • Issue an interlocutory decree of adoption that by its own terms automatically becomes a final decree of adoption on a day specified in the decree, a date that may not be less than 6 months nor more than 1 year after the minor was placed in the adoptive home

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Cent. Code §§ 14-15-09; 14-15.1-02; 14-15.1-04

Effective January 1, 2020: A certified copy of the birth certificate or verification of birth record of the individual to be adopted, if available, and the required consents and relinquishments must be filed with the clerk.

A birth parent or identified adoptive parent may file with the court a petition to relinquish parental rights with respect to a minor child to the identified adoptive parent. The written consent of any birth parent to the adoption must accompany the petition. The written consent of the identified adoptive parent to assume custody must be filed with the petition.

A written report of the investigation must be filed with the court by the investigator before the petition is heard.

Background Studies

Citation: Cent. Code §§ 15-15-11; 14-15.1-04

Effective January 1, 2020: An investigation must be made by a licensed child-placing agency to inquire into the conditions and antecedents of a minor sought to be adopted and of the petitioner for the purpose of ascertaining whether the adoptive home is a suitable home for the minor and whether the proposed adoption is in the best interests of the minor.

The report of the investigation must contain the following:

  • A review of the child's history
  • A preplacement adoption assessment of the petitioner, including a criminal history record investigation of the petitioner
  • A postplacement evaluation of the placement with a recommendation as to the granting of the petition for adoption
  • Any other information the court requires regarding the petitioner or the minor

Before a hearing under this chapter, the report of a child-placing agency must be filed with the court. The child-placing agency shall serve a copy of the report upon the birth parent, the identified adoptive parent, the guardian ad litem, and the department of human services at least 7 days before the hearing. The report must include the following:

  • A recommendation as to whether the home of the identified adoptive parent is a suitable home for the placement of the child
  • A preplacement adoption assessment indicating how the identified adoptive parent's emotional maturity, finances, health, relationships, criminal history record, and any other relevant factors may affect the identified adoptive parent's ability to accept, care for, and provide the child with an adequate environment in which to mature
  • The medical and social history of the birth parent, including an assessment regarding the birth parent's understanding and acceptance of the action
  • If the child has been born before the filing of the report, a medical and developmental history of the child

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-13

Effective January 1, 2020: In an interlocutory decree of adoption, the court shall provide for observation, investigation, and further report on the adoptive home during the interlocutory period.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-14

A final decree of adoption and an interlocutory decree of adoption that has become final, whether issued by a court of this State or of any other place, have the following effect as to matters within the jurisdiction or before a court of this State:

  • To relieve the birth parents of the adopted individual of all parental rights and responsibilities and to terminate all legal relationships between the adopted individual and the individual's relatives, including the individual's birth parents, so that the adopted individual thereafter is a stranger to the individual's former relatives for all purposes, including inheritance
  • To create the relationship of parent and child between petitioner and the adopted individual, as if the adopted individual were a legitimate blood descendant of the petitioner, for all purposes, including inheritance

An interlocutory decree of adoption, while it is in force, has the same legal effect as a final decree of adoption.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Cent. Code §§ 14-15-18; 23-02.1-17

Within 30 days after an adoption decree becomes final, the clerk of the court shall prepare an application for a birth record in the new name of the adopted individual. In the case of the adoption of an individual born outside of the United States, the court may make findings, based on evidence from the petitioner and other reliable State or Federal sources, on the date and place of birth and parentage of the adopted individual. These findings must be certified by the court and included with the report of adoption filed with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics pursuant to § 23-02.1-17.

For each adoption decreed by any 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 must do the following:

  • Provide such facts as are necessary to locate and identify the birth record for the person adopted
  • Provide information necessary to establish a new birth record for the person adoptee
  • Identify the order of adoption and be certified by the clerk of court

Information in the possession of the petitioner necessary to prepare the adoption report must be furnished with the petition for adoption by each petitioner for adoption or petitioner's attorney. The Department of Human Services or other persons concerned shall supply the court with such additional information as may be necessary to complete the report. The provision of such information is a prerequisite to the issuance of a final decree.

For a person born in a foreign country whose adoptive parents are residents of the State of North Dakota at the time of the adoption and whose adoption was finalized in North Dakota, the State registrar shall prepare a new birth record upon presentation of a report of adoption, as required by § 23-02.1-17.

Any certification of a birth record issued under this subsection must be in the same form as other certifications of birth records issued in this State, except that it must state that it does not purport to be evidence of U.S. citizenship.

When a new birth record is established, the actual place and date of birth must be shown. The new birth record must be substituted for the original birth record.