Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Vermont

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, §§ 2-107; 2-402; 3-304; 3-701; 3-703

An adoption in this State of a minor brought into this State from another country by a prospective adoptive parent is governed by this title, subject to any convention or treaty on intercountry adoption that the United States has ratified and any relevant Federal law.

Consent to an adoption of a minor is not required of the following:

  • A person who has relinquished parental rights, including the right to consent to adoption, to an agency
  • A person whose parental relationship to the minor has been judicially terminated or determined not to exist

A petition for adoption shall contain the following information:

  • The full name, date of birth, and place and duration of residence of the petitioner and his or her relationship to the adoptee, if any
  • The current marital status of the petitioner, including any pending divorce and the date of any judicial determination that a petitioner's spouse is incompetent
  • The occupation and approximate income of each petitioner and that the petitioner has facilities and resources to provide for the care and support of the minor
  • That a preplacement evaluation favorable to the petitioner has been completed or updated within the 12 months before the placement
  • The full birth or legal name; sex; and the time and date, or approximate time and date; and place of birth of the minor adoptee
  • The circumstances under which the petitioner obtained physical custody of the minor, including the date of placement for adoption with the petitioner and the name of the agency or the name and relationship to the minor of the person that placed the minor
  • The length of time the minor has been in the physical custody of the petitioner or the reason why the petitioner does not have physical custody and the date and manner in which the petitioner intends to obtain physical custody
  • A description and estimate of the value of any known property of the minor
  • That any law governing interstate or intercountry placement was complied with
  • The name and relationship to the minor of any person who has executed a consent, relinquishment, or a disclaimer of paternal interest; the name and relationship to the minor of any person whose consent or relinquishment may be required whose parental relationship has not been terminated; and any fact or circumstance that may excuse the lack of consent
  • The full name by which the adoptee is to be known if the petition is granted

The hearing on the petition shall take place no sooner than 180 days after the minor has been placed in the home of the adopting parent.

The court shall grant a petition for adoption if it determines by a preponderance of the evidence that the adoption will be in the best interests of the minor and that the following are true:

  • The adoptee has been in the physical custody of the petitioner for at least 180 days.
  • Notice of the proceeding for adoption has been served to any person entitled to receive notice.
  • Every necessary consent, relinquishment, waiver, disclaimer of paternal interest, judicial order terminating parental rights, or other document has been obtained and filed with the court.
  • Any evaluation required by this title has been filed with and considered by the court.
  • The petitioner is a suitable adoptive parent for the minor.
  • If applicable, any requirement of this title governing an interstate or intercountry placement for adoption has been met.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, §§ 3-305; 2-105

Before the hearing on a petition for adoption, the following documents shall be filed:

  • A certified copy of the birth certificate or other record of the date and place of birth of the minor adoptee
  • The original or a certified copy of any consent, relinquishment, or disclaimer of paternal interest with respect to the minor that has been executed and any written certifications required by § 2-405(d) and (g) from the person before whom a consent or relinquishment was executed
  • A certified copy of any court order terminating the rights of the minor's parents or guardian
  • A certified copy of each parent's or former parent's marriage certificate, decree of divorce, annulment or dissolution, or legal separation
  • A certified copy of any existing court order or petition in any pending proceeding concerning custody of or visitation or communication with the minor
  • A copy of the preplacement evaluation and of the evaluation during the pendency of the proceeding for adoption
  • A copy of any report containing the information regarding the health and social history of the child and the child's family, as required by § 2-105
  • A certified copy of the petitioner's marriage certificate, decree of divorce, annulment or dissolution, or legal separation
  • If an agency placed the minor adoptee, a verified document from the agency stating the following:
    • The circumstances under which the agency obtained custody of the minor for purposes of adoption
    • That the agency complied with any provision of law governing an interstate or intercountry placement of the minor
    • The name or relationship to the minor of any person whose consent is required but who has not executed a consent or a relinquishment or whose parental relationship has not been terminated and any fact or circumstance that may excuse the lack of consent or relinquishment
    • Whether the agency has executed its consent to the proposed adoption and whether it waives notice of the proceeding
    • The terms of any collateral agreement between the agency and the petitioner
  • The name and address, if known, of any person who is entitled to receive notice of the proceeding for adoption
  • A copy of any collateral agreement between the petitioner and a parent or guardian of the adoptee

Before a minor is placed for adoption, a prospective adoptive parent shall be provided all of the following nonidentifying information that is reasonably available:

  • A social and health history of the minor, including the following:
    • The date, time, and place of birth
    • Current health history, including prenatal care, medical condition at birth, and any drug or medication taken by the mother during pregnancy
    • Any subsequent medical, psychological, psychiatric, and dental information and diagnosis and a record of any immunizations and health care
    • Any physical, sexual, or emotional abuse known to have been experienced by the minor
    • School performance, the results of educational testing, and any special educational needs
    • An account of the minor's past and existing relationships with any relative, foster parent, or other person with whom the minor has lived or visited on a regular basis
  • A social and health history of the minor's parents and extended family, including the following:
    • Health and genetic history, including any history of use of drugs and alcohol
    • The racial, ethnic, and religious background and a general physical description
    • The levels and types of educational, vocational, athletic, artistic, or scientific achievement or interests, including academic performance and diagnosed learning problems

Background Studies

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, §§ 2-201; 2-203; 2-204

Only a person for whom a favorable written preplacement evaluation has been prepared may accept custody of a minor for purposes of adoption. An evaluation is valid if it was completed or updated within the 12 months preceding the placement of the minor with the person for adoption.

A preplacement evaluation shall be based upon a personal interview and visit at the residence of the person being evaluated and personal interviews or correspondence with others who know the person and may have information relevant to the evaluation.

A preplacement evaluation shall contain the following information about the person being evaluated:

  • The age and date of birth, nationality, racial or ethnic background, and any religious affiliation
  • Marital status and family history, including the age and location of any child of the person and the identity of and relationship to anyone else living in the person's household
  • Parenting experience
  • Physical and mental health, including any history of abuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Educational and employment history and any special skills
  • Property and income, including outstanding financial obligations as indicated in a current credit report or financial statement
  • Any previous requests for an evaluation or involvement in an adoptive placement and the outcome of the evaluation or placement
  • Whether the person has been subject to an abuse prevention order, charged with or convicted of domestic assault, the subject of a substantiated complaint filed with the Department for Children and Families, or subject to a court order restricting the person's right to parental rights and responsibilities or parent-child contact with a child
  • Whether the person has been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation
  • The reason for and attitude about adoption
  • Whether the person is in noncompliance with a child support order
  • Any other fact or circumstance that may be relevant in determining whether the person is suited to be an adoptive parent, including the quality of the environment in the home, and the functioning of other children in the person's household

A person being evaluated shall submit to fingerprinting and sign a release permitting the evaluator to obtain from an appropriate law enforcement agency any record indicating that the person has been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation. The person also, at the request of the evaluator, shall sign any release necessary for the evaluator to obtain information regarding reports of child abuse or neglect.

An evaluator shall assess the information contained in the evaluation to determine whether it raises a concern that placement of any minor, or a particular minor, in the home of the person would pose a risk of harm to the physical or psychological well-being of the minor.

If an evaluator determines that the information assessed does not raise a concern that placement of any minor, or a particular minor, in the home of the person would pose a risk of harm to the physical or psychological well-being of the minor, the evaluator shall find that the person is suited to be an adoptive parent. The evaluator may comment about any factor that in the evaluator's opinion makes the person suited in general or for a particular minor.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, §§ 3-601; 3-602; 3-603

No later than 5 business days after a complete petition for adoption of a minor is filed, the court shall order that an evaluation be made by a qualified employee of the agency that placed the minor for adoption or, in a direct-placement adoption, the person who made the preplacement evaluation or another qualified person.

An evaluation shall be based on a personal interview with the petitioner in the petitioner's residence and observation of the relationship between the minor adoptee and the petitioner. An evaluation shall be in writing and contain the following:

  • An account of any change in the petitioner's marital status or family history, physical or mental health, home environment, property, income, or financial obligations since the filing of the preplacement evaluation
  • All reasonably available information concerning the physical, mental, and emotional condition of the minor adoptee that is not included in any report on the minor's health, genetic, and social history filed in the proceeding for adoption
  • Copies of any court order, judgment, decree, or pending legal proceeding affecting the minor adoptee, the petitioner, or any child of the petitioner
  • Any behavior or characteristics of the petitioner that raise a concern
  • A recommendation concerning the granting of the petition for adoption

The evaluator shall complete a written evaluation and file it with the court within 60 days after receipt of the court's order for an evaluation, unless the court for good cause allows a later filing. If an evaluation produces a concern, the evaluation shall be filed immediately and shall explain why the concern poses a risk of harm to the physical or psychological well-being of the minor.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 1-104; 1-105

When a decree of adoption becomes final, the adoptive parent and the adoptee have the legal relation of parent and child and have all the rights and duties of that relationship including the right of inheritance and succession from or through each other and the kindred of the adoptive parent.

When a decree of adoption becomes final, all parental rights and duties of each former parent of the adoptee terminate, including the right of inheritance and intestate succession from or through the adoptee, but not including the duty to make past-due payments for child support.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, §§ 3-705; 3-801; 3-802; Ann. Stat. Tit. 18, § 5078a

Effective July 1, 2019: A decree of adoption shall contain information to be incorporated into a new birth certificate to be issued by the State Registrar of Vital Records, including the adoptee's date, time, and place of birth, if known. In determining the date and place of birth of an adoptee born outside the United States, the court shall do the following:

  • Enter the date and place of birth as stated in the birth certificate from the country of origin, the U.S. Department of State's report of birth abroad, or the documents of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
  • If the exact place of birth is unknown, enter the information that is known and designate a place of birth according to the best information known with respect to the country of origin
  • If the exact date of birth is unknown, determine a date of birth based upon medical evidence as to the probable age of the adoptee and other evidence the court considers appropriate
  • If the documents regarding the date and place of birth are not available, determine the date and place of birth based upon evidence the court finds appropriate to consider

For an adoptee adopted in this State who was born outside the United States and was not a citizen of the United States at the time of birth, the State registrar shall create and register a 'certificate of live birth for a foreign-born child' upon request and furnish a certified copy of the certificate to the adoptive parent and to an adoptee who is age 14 or older.

Unless otherwise specified by the court, a new birth certificate or certificate of live birth for a foreign-born child shall be signed by the State registrar; include the date, time, and place of birth of the adoptee; substitute the name of the adoptive parent for the name of the person listed as the adoptee's parent on the original birth certificate; and contain any other information prescribed by the State registrar.

The State registrar shall establish a 'certificate of live birth for a foreign-born child' when he or she receives the following:

  • A written request from either of the following that the certificate be established:
    • The adopted person, if he or she is age 14 or older
    • The adoptive parent or parents, if the adopted person is younger than age 14
  • A record of adoption issued under title 15A, § 3-801(a)

The certificate shall include the following:

  • The true or probable foreign country of birth and true or probable date of birth
  • The adoptive parents, as though they were the birth parents
  • A notation that it was issued by authority of this chapter
  • A statement that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship
  • Any other information the State registrar may prescribe