Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Rhode Island

Date: May 2019

Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 15-7-3; 15-7-4; 15-7-5

Whenever any person brings a child not related to him or her into this State for the purpose of adoption, he or she or they shall make a report to the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) within 15 days of the entry of the child into this State.

Any person residing in Rhode Island may petition the family court for leave to adopt as his or her child any person younger than him or herself and younger than age 18 and, if desired, for a change of the child's name.

The parents of the child, or their survivor, shall, except as provided in this section, consent in writing to the adoption or the petition shall be dismissed. If neither parent is living, the guardian of the person of the child, or, if there is no guardian, the next of kin, may give consent; or, if there is no next of kin, the court may appoint some suitable person to act in the proceedings as next friend of the child and to give or withhold the consent.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-2.1

In those cases where a child is placed for adoption by DCYF or a licensed child-placing agency, the agency shall provide a preadoption report in writing to the prospective adoptive parents as early as practicable after the filing of a termination of parental rights or direct-consent adoption petition and before a prospective adoptive parent agrees to accept the child for purposes of adoption. The preadoptive report shall include the following information that is reasonably available within the records of DCYF or the child-placing agency that is placing a child for adoption:

  • A current medical, dental, developmental, and psychological history of the child, including the following:
    • An account of the child's prenatal care, medical condition at birth, and developmental milestones
    • Any medical, psychological, or psychiatric examination and diagnosis related to the child
    • Any physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect suffered by the child
    • Any developmental assessment and a record of any immunizations and health care received while the child was in foster or other care
    • The child's enrollment and performance in school and any special educational needs
    • Any adjudications of waywardness and/or delinquency
  • If the child has undergone any genetic testing, and the agency is aware of the results, the results of those tests
  • If the child has been tested for HIV, and the agency is aware of the results, the results of that test
  • The age, race, religion, ethnicity, and general physical appearance of the birth parents
  • The educational levels of the birth parents, including any known diagnosed learning disabilities
  • The relationship between the birth parents; the age and sex of any other children born to the parents; and, if a parent is deceased, the cause of and the age at death
  • Nonidentifying medical, substance abuse, and mental health histories of the birth parents and siblings and any known allergies or hereditary, genetic, or metabolic diseases
  • Any drugs and medications taken by the child's birth mother during pregnancy
  • The circumstances of any judicial order terminating the parental rights of a parent for abuse, neglect, abandonment, or other mistreatment of the child
  • The length of time the child has been in the care of the agency and the child's placement history

Background Studies

Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-11

Upon the filing of a petition for the adoption of a minor child, the court shall notify DCYF. It shall then be the duty of DCYF to verify the allegations of the petition and to make an appropriate investigation to determine whether the proposed adoptive home is a suitable home for the child. DCYF shall, within 60 days, submit to the court a full report, in writing, with a recommendation as to the granting of the petition and any other information regarding the child or the proposed home that the court shall require.

When the petition for adoption concerns a child who has been placed for adoption by a licensed child-placing agency, the court may accept the home-study report of the child-placing agency in lieu of the investigation and recommendation of DCYF, provided the child-placing agency includes in its home-study report any criminal record of the prospective adoptive parent.

The following information shall be included in all home studies submitted to the court:

  • Identifying information on all household members, including minor children, and the current needs of each child
  • Information regarding the prospective adoptive parent's motivation and reasons for the adoption
  • Current background information on the prospective adoptive parents, including written self-assessment
  • Child care experience and parenting philosophy of the prospective adoptive parents
  • Information regarding past and present marriage and/or partnership relationships
  • Current medical and psychological conditions, including addiction to drugs or alcohol of any prospective adoptive parents, that may be seriously detrimental to the health and welfare of children
  • Description of the home and local community, including any health and safety concerns regarding the home
  • Information regarding the finances and employment of the prospective adoptive parents
  • Reference letters from at least three individuals, at least two of whom are nonrelatives
  • Results of background checks with DCYF and clearance checks regarding State and Federal criminal records conducted on the prospective adoptive parents and any household member age 18 and older
  • Information related to the prospective adoptive parent's willingness and ability to accept and cooperate with adoption support services, including their level of understanding regarding openness with the birth family
  • Information related to the match between prospective adoptive parents and the child, including attitudes and capabilities of prospective adoptive parents and the child's characteristics and background

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-12

No petition shall be granted until the child has lived for 6 months in the proposed home, provided that the period of residence may be waived and the petition granted by the court upon good cause shown when it is satisfied that the proposed home and the child are suited to each other.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-14

If, after the investigation and upon a hearing, the court is satisfied as to the identity and relations of the persons, and that the petitioner or petitioners are of sufficient ability to bring up the child and furnish suitable nurture and education, having reference to the degree and condition of the child's parents, and that it is fit and proper that the adoption should take effect, a decree shall be made setting forth the facts and ordering that from the date of the decree the child shall be, to all legal intents and purposes, the child of the petitioner or petitioners.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Gen. Laws § 23-3-15(e)

The State Registrar of Vital Records shall, upon request, prepare and register a certificate in this State for a person born in a foreign country who is not a citizen of the United States and who was adopted through a court of competent jurisdiction in this State. The certificate shall be established upon receipt of a report of adoption from the court decreeing the adoption; proof of the date and place of the child's birth; and a request from the court, the adopting parents, or the adopted person who is age 18 or older that a certificate be prepared. The certificate shall be labeled 'certificate of foreign birth' and shall show the actual country of birth.

After registration of the birth certificate in the new name of the adopted person, the State registrar shall seal and file the report of adoption. The report shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as provided by regulation.