Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - South Carolina

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63-9-310; 63-9-710; 63-9-730; 63-9-750

Consent or relinquishment for adoption is required of the legal guardian, child-placing agency, or legal custodian of the child if authority to execute a consent or relinquishment has been vested legally in the agency or person and both the parents of the child are deceased or the parental rights of both the parents have been judicially terminated.

A petition for adoption shall specify the following:

  • The full name, age, address, and place of residence of each petitioner and, if married, the place and date of the marriage
  • When the petitioner acquired or intends to acquire custody or placement of the child and from what person or agency
  • The date and place of birth of the child, if known
  • The name used for the child in the proceeding and, if a change in name is desired, the new name
  • That it is the desire of the petitioner to establish the relationship of parent and child between the petitioner and the child and that the petitioner is a fit and proper person and able to care for the child and to provide for the child's welfare
  • A full description and statement of value of any property owned or possessed by the child
  • The existence and nature of any prior court orders known to the petitioner that affect the custody, support, or visitation of the child
  • The relationship, if any, of each petitioner to the child
  • The name and address of the child-placing agency or the person facilitating placement of the child for adoption, if any

The petition must be filed within 60 days of the date the adoptee is placed for adoption in the home of the petitioner.

Any person or agency entitled to notice pursuant to this section must be given notice that adoption proceedings have been initiated. Notice must be given in the manner prescribed by law for personal service of summons in civil actions.

The final hearing on the adoption petition must not be held before 90 days and no later than 6 months after the filing of the adoption petition. Following the final hearing on the adoption petition, the court shall issue an order granting the adoption if it finds the following:

  • The adoptee has been in the actual custody of the petitioner for 90 days.
  • All necessary consents or relinquishments for the adoption have been obtained.
  • Notice of the adoption proceeding has been given to all persons entitled to receive notice.
  • The disbursements made and accounted for pursuant to § 63-9-740 are reasonable costs for expenses incurred or for fees for services rendered.
  • The petitioner is a fit and proper person and able to care for the child and to provide for the child's welfare, and the petitioner desires to establish the relationship of parent and child with the adoptee.
  • The best interests of the adoptee are served by the adoption.

The court shall enter its findings in a written decree that also shall include the new name of the adoptee, if appropriate, and may not include any other name by which the adoptee has been known or the names of the former parents of the adoptee.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-710

All of the following must be filed at the time the adoption petition is filed or, after the filing, upon good cause shown:

  • Any consent or relinquishment required by § 63-9-310
  • The preplacement investigation report
  • The background investigation report
  • A statement of all payments of money or anything of value made within the past 5 years or agreed to be made in the future by or on behalf of the petitioner to any person, agency, or organization connected with the adoption that is not a disbursement made and reported pursuant to § 63-9-740

Background Studies

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-520

Before the placement of any child by any agency or by any person with a prospective adoptive parent, a preplacement investigation, a background investigation, and reports of these investigations must be completed.

Preplacement investigations must answer all of the following:

  • Whether the home of the prospective adoptive parent is a suitable one for the placement of a child
  • How the emotional maturity, finances, health, relationships, and any other relevant characteristics of the prospective adoptive parent affect the parent's ability to accept, care for, and provide a child with an adequate environment as the child matures
  • Whether the prospective adoptive parent has ever been involved in any proceeding concerning allegedly neglected, abandoned, abused, or delinquent children
  • Whether the prospective adoptive parent has completed a course or counseling in preparation for adoption
  • Whether the prospective adoptive parent is approved for placement of a child for purposes of adoption and, if not approved, a statement of the reasons for not approving the prospective adoptive parent
  • Any other information that is disclosed by the investigation that would be of value to or would assist the court in deciding the case

A background information investigation and a report of this investigation may not disclose the identity of the birth parents of the adoptee but shall provide the following:

  • A medical history of the birth family of the adoptee, including parents, siblings, and other family members related to the adoptee, including ages; sex; races; and any known genetic, psychological, metabolic, or familial disorders
  • A medical and developmental history of the adoptee

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-520

A postplacement investigation and report of this investigation must be completed after the filing of the adoption petition. Copies of this report must be provided to the adoption petitioner and must be filed with the court at the final hearing on the adoption.

A postplacement investigation and report of this investigation must include the following:

  • Provide answers for the following:
    • The race, sex, and age of the adoptee and whether the child is a suitable child for adoption by the prospective adoptive parent
    • The reason for the adoptee's placement away from the birth parents
    • Whether the adoptee, if of appropriate age and mental capacity, desires to be adopted
  • Review and, where indicated, investigate the allegations of the adoption petition and its attachments and of the accounting of disbursements required under § 63-9-740
  • Evaluate the progress of the placement of the adoptee
  • Determine whether adoption by the petitioner is in the best interests of the adoptee

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-760

After the final decree of adoption is entered, the relationship of parent and child and all the rights, duties, and other legal consequences of the natural relationship of parent and child exist between the adoptee, the adoptive parent, and the kindred of the adoptive parent.

After a final decree of adoption is entered, the biological parents of the adoptee are relieved of all parental responsibilities and have no rights over the adoptee.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63-9-790; 44-63-140

For each adoption handled through a child-placing agency, the attorney for the petitioner shall, within 15 days of the filing of the final decree, transmit to the appropriate agency a certified copy of the adoption decree and a certificate of adoption with part II completed and verified by the adoptive parent and part III certified by the clerk of court. The agency shall complete part I of the certificate of adoption and transmit the form to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics within 30 days of the filing of the final decree.

In the case of a person who was born in a foreign country and who was not a United States citizen at birth, the court shall require evidence from sources determined to be reliable by the court as to the date and place of birth of the person and shall set forth in the order of the court the date and place of birth as established by the evidence. The court order and evidence submitted to the court must be attached to the certificate of adoption and transmitted to the State registrar.

The State registrar, upon receipt of a certified certificate of adoption, shall take action, as provided by § 44-63-140 with respect to the issuance and filing of an amended certificate.

Effective July 1, 2019: When adoption is decreed by a family court in this State of a person born in a foreign country who was not a United States citizen at birth and evidence of the date and place of birth submitted to the court and the court order setting forth the date and place of birth are attached to the certificate of adoption, the State registrar, when directed by the court order, shall prepare a 'certificate of foreign birth.'

The certificate, and any issued copy of the certificate, must be labeled 'certificate of foreign birth' and must show the actual country of birth. A statement also must be included on the certificate, and any issued copy of the certificate, that it is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the person for whom it is issued.