Georgia

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-23Information may be accessed by:

  • The adult adopted person
  • The birth parents
  • Adult birth siblings
  • The child of the adopted person, if the adopted person is deceased
  • The adoptive parents

The adoptive parents may access only nonidentifying information.

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-23

When certain information would assist in the provision of medical care, a medical emergency, or medical diagnosis or treatment, a party to the adoption, a child, legal guardian, health-care agent of an adopted person, or a provider of medical services to a party to the adoption, child, legal guardian, or health-care agent may request that the department or child-placing agency access its own records on finalized adoptions for the purpose of adding subsequently obtained medical information or releasing nonidentifying medical and health history information contained in its records pertaining to an adopted person or the biological parents or relatives of the biological parents of the adopted person.

When the State Adoption Unit of the Division of Family and Children Services or a child-placing agency receives documented medical information relevant to an adopted person, the office or child-placing agency shall use reasonable efforts to contact the adoptive parents of the adopted person if the adopted person is younger than age 18, or the adopted person if he or she is age 18 or older, and provide the documented medical information to the adoptive parents or the adopted person.

Upon the written request of an adopted person age 18 or older or an adoptive parent on behalf of an adopted person, nonidentifying information shall be released regarding the birth parents and the adopted person’s birth, including the date and place of the adopted person’s birth and the genetic, social, and health history of the birth parents.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-23

Upon written request of an adopted person age 21 or older, the name of the birth parents shall be released if the birth parent has submitted an unrevoked written consent. If a birth parent has not filed an unrevoked written consent, the department shall, within 6 months of receipt of the written request, make a diligent effort to notify each birth parent, by personal and confidential contact, that a request for information has been made. The birth parent may then file an affidavit consenting or objecting to disclosure.

The adopted person also may petition the court to seek the release of information. The court shall grant the petition if it finds that failure to release the identity of each parent would have an adverse impact upon the physical, mental, or emotional health of the adopted person.

Birth parents and adult birth siblings also may access information about an adopted person using the same procedure. If the adopted person is deceased and leaves a child, such child, upon reaching age 21, may seek the name and other identifying information concerning his or her grandparents in the same manner as the deceased adopted person and subject to the same procedures.

The Office of Adoptions within the department shall maintain a registry for the recording of requests by adopted persons for the name of any birth parent, the written consent or the written objections of any birth parent to the release of that parent’s identity to an adopted person, and for nonidentifying information regarding any birth parent.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Code § 31-10-14

The original birth certificate is accessible only by order of the court or as provided by statute.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry, Georgia Department of Human Services

Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-16
A child-placing agency or any other independent agent appointed by the court shall have the duty to make a complete and thorough investigation and report.Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-17
The report and findings of the investigating agency shall include, among other things, the following:

  • The circumstances under which the child came to be placed for adoption
  • The physical and mental condition of the child, as far as this can be determined by the aid of a competent medical authority
  • Whether or not the adoption is in the best interests of the child

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-23
Nonidentifying information regarding the adopted person’s birth parents may be released to the adoptive parents. Such information may include:

  • The date and place of birth of the adopted person
  • The genetic, social, and health histories of the birth parents
  • Medical histories of the birth parents or relatives of the birth parents

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-16
The investigation shall be completed prior to the date set by the court for a hearing on the petition for adoption.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-19
An adoption decree terminates all legal relationships between the adopted person and his or her birth relatives, including rights of inheritance.If a parent of a child dies without the relationship of parent and child having been previously terminated by court order or unrevoked surrender of parental rights to the child, the child’s right of inheritance from or through the deceased parent shall not be affected by the adoption.Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 19-8-19; 53-1-8
A decree of adoption creates the relationship of parent and child between the adoptive parent(s) and the adopted person. The adopted person shall enjoy every right and privilege of a birth child of the adoptive parent, including the right to inherit under the laws of descent and distribution in the absence of a will, unless expressly excluded. The adopted person shall take by inheritance from relatives of the adoptive parent and also shall inherit as a ‘child’ of the adoptive parent under a class gift made by the will of a third person.The adoptive parent(s) and their relatives shall be entitled to inherit from and through the adopted individual under the laws of intestacy in the absence of a will, unless expressly excluded.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Ann. Code § 53-4-48
If the will was made prior to the adoption of a child by the testator and does not contain a provision in contemplation of such an event, the child shall receive the share of the estate he or she would have received had the testator died intestate.

State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-22A decree establishing the relationship of parent and child by adoption, issued pursuant to due process of law by a court of any other jurisdiction within or outside the United States shall be recognized in this State; and the rights and obligations of the parties as to matters within the jurisdiction of this State shall be determined as though any such decree was issued by a court of this State.Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-8

A child may be adopted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter based upon both of the following:

  • A decree that has been entered pursuant to due process of law by a court of competent jurisdiction outside the United States establishing the relationship of parent and child by adoption between each petitioner and a child born in the foreign country
  • The child having been granted a valid visa by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service*

[*As of March 1, 2003, the responsibility for providing immigration-related services was transferred from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The statutes do not yet reflect this change.]

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Code § 31-10-13(f)

If a person was born in a foreign country, is not a citizen of the United States, and does not meet the requirements of the Federal Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-395), but was adopted through a court in this State, the State Registrar shall prepare and register a birth certificate in this State. The certificate shall be established upon receipt of a report of adoption from the court decreeing the adoption and proof of the date and place of birth of the child. The certificate shall be labeled ‘Certificate of Foreign Birth’ and shall show the actual country of birth. A statement shall also be included on the certificate indicating that it is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the person for whom it is issued.

If a person was born in a foreign country and was not a citizen of the United States at the time of birth but does meet the requirements of the Federal Child Citizenship Act of 2000, and he or she was adopted through a court in this State, the State Registrar shall prepare and register a birth certificate in this State. The certificate shall be established upon receipt of a report of adoption from the court decreeing the adoption and proof of the date and place of birth of the child. 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 sealed file shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as provided by statute.


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