Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Wisconsin

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 48.97; 48.839; 48.90; 48.91

If a resident of this State has been appointed guardian of a child who was born in a foreign jurisdiction and who was not a citizen of the United States at the time of birth, and the child was admitted to the United States with an IR-4 or IH-4 visa issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the guardian shall adopt the child under § 48.839.

Any resident of this State who has been appointed by a court of a foreign jurisdiction as guardian of a child who is a citizen of that jurisdiction, before bringing the child into this State for the purpose of adopting the child, shall file with the Department of Children and Families a $1,000 noncancelable bond in favor of this State. The condition of the bond shall be that the child will not become dependent on public funds for his or her primary support before he or she is adopted.

If the guardian files a guardianship judgment or order, the department shall review the judgment or order. The department shall certify to the USCIS that all preadoptive requirements of this State that can be met before the child's arrival in the United States have been met based on the following:

  • The judgment or order has the effect of freeing the child for adoption.
  • The department has been furnished with a copy of a home study recommending the guardian as an adoptive parent.
  • A licensed child welfare agency has been identified to provide any needed services.
  • The guardian has filed the required bond.
  • The guardian has completed any required preadoption preparation.

Within 60 days after the arrival of a child brought into this State from a foreign jurisdiction for the purpose of adoption, the individual who is the child's guardian shall file a petition to adopt the child, a petition to terminate parental rights to the child, or both. The termination of a parent's parental rights to a child who is a citizen of a foreign jurisdiction is not required prior to the child's adoption by his or her guardian.

If a petition for adoption is filed and the individual guardian filing the petition filed an instrument of guardianship other than a court order or judgment, the court shall determine whether the instrument filed has the effect under the laws of the foreign jurisdiction of freeing the child for adoption. The court shall presume that the instrument has that effect, unless there are substantial irregularities on the face of the document or unless the department shows good cause for believing that the instrument does not have that effect. If the court determines that the instrument does not have the effect of freeing the child for adoption, the court shall order the petitioner to file a petition to terminate parental rights within 10 days.

If a petition for adoption is filed and the individual guardian filing the petition filed a court order or judgment, the court order or judgment shall be legally sufficient evidence that the child is free for adoption.

A petition for adoption may be filed at any time if the petitioner is the proposed adoptive parent with whom the child has been placed under § 48.839.

If after the hearing and a study of the report required by § 48.88 and the recommendation required by § 48.841 or 48.89, the court is satisfied that the necessary consents or recommendations have been filed and that the adoption is in the best interests of the child, the court shall make an order granting the adoption. The order may change the name of the minor to that requested by petitioners.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.839

Any resident of this State who has been appointed by a court of a foreign jurisdiction as guardian of a child who is a citizen of that jurisdiction and who intends to bring the child into this State for the purpose of adopting the child shall file with the department a certified copy of the judgment or order of a court of the foreign jurisdiction or other instrument having the effect under the laws of the foreign jurisdiction of freeing the child for adoption. If the instrument is not a judgment or order of a court, the guardian shall also file with the department a copy of the law under which the instrument was issued, unless the department waives this requirement. The guardian also shall file English translations of the court judgment or order or other instrument and of the law. The department shall return the originals to the guardian and keep on file a copy of each document.

Background Studies

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.88(2)

When a petition to adopt a child is filed, the court shall order an investigation to determine whether the child is a proper subject for adoption and whether the petitioner's home is suitable for the child. If the child is a citizen of a foreign jurisdiction and is under the guardianship of an individual, the court shall order the agency that conducted the home study required under Federal law prior to the child's entry into the United States to conduct or supplement the investigation.

In determining whether the petitioner's home is suitable for the child, the agency making the investigation shall consider whether the petitioner is fit and qualified to care for the child, exercises sound judgment, does not abuse alcohol or drugs, and displays the capacity to successfully nurture the child.

The investigation shall be conducted using an assessment system that is approved by the department. The assessment system shall provide a reliable, comprehensive, and standardized qualitative evaluation of a petitioner's personal characteristics, civil and criminal history, age, health, financial stability, and ability to responsibly meet all requirements of the department.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.839(5)

Any licensed child welfare agency that negotiates or arranges the placement of a child for adoption under this section shall provide services to the child and to the proposed adoptive parents until the child's adoption is final.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.92

After the order of adoption is entered, the relation of parent and child and all the rights, duties, and other legal consequences of the natural relation of child and parent thereafter exists between the adopted person and the adoptive parents.

After the order of adoption is entered, the relationship of parent and child between the adopted person and the adopted person's birth parents and the relationship between the adopted person and all persons whose relationship to the adopted person is derived through those birth parents shall be completely altered and all the rights, duties, and other legal consequences of those relationships shall cease to exist, unless the birth parent is the spouse of the adoptive parent, in which case those relationships shall be completely altered and those rights, duties, and other legal consequences shall cease to exist only with respect to the birth parent who is not the spouse of the adoptive parent and all persons whose relationship to the adopted person is derived through that birth parent.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 69.15

If the State registrar receives an order that provides for an adoption, the State registrar shall prepare a new record for the subject of the adoption, unless the adoptive parents or the subject of the adoption requests that no new record be prepared. If the order is from a court in this State, the order shall include a certified copy of the original birth record registered for the subject of the adoption. The new record shall show the following:

  • The name of the registrant
  • The date and place of birth as transcribed from the original record (information that may not be changed by the court)
  • The names and personal information of the adoptive parents, unless otherwise indicated by the court order
  • The hospital and time of birth as unknown
  • The filing date on the original record
  • Any other information necessary to complete the new record

If the State registrar receives an order that provides for an adoption of any person born outside of the United States by any person who is a resident of this State at the time of adoption, and if the adoptive parents present proof of the facts of birth to the State registrar, the State registrar shall prepare a certification of birth data for the subject of the adoption. The certification shall indicate the following:

  • The date and place of birth
  • The child's adoptive name
  • The adoptive parents' names
  • The sources of information of each of these facts

If the child has automatically acquired U.S. citizenship under 8 USC 1431 upon a court order granting an adoption after a foreign guardianship order, as required under § 48.97(3), the certification also shall indicate that the child is recognized as a U.S. citizen by this State and that the certification shall have the full force and effect of a birth certificate issued by the State registrar. If neither of the birth parents of the subject of the adoption are U.S. citizens, the new certification may include proof of the naturalization of the subject of the adoption.