Maine

Maine

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 2706-A; Tit. 18-A, § 9-310The following persons may participate in the adoption registry:

  • An adoptive parent or legal guardian if the adopted person is under age 18, deceased, or incapacitated
  • A birth parent
  • A birth sibling or half-sibling who is age 18 or older
  • The legal guardian or custodian of a person under age 18 who is the sibling or half-sibling of an adopted person
  • If a birth parent is deceased, a birth mother, legal father, grandparent, sibling, half-sibling, aunt, uncle, or first cousin of the deceased birth parent

Medical or genetic information shall be made available to:

  • The adopted person upon reaching age 18
  • The adopted person’s descendants
  • The adoptive parents or the child’s legal guardian on petition of the court

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-A, § 9-310; Tit. 22, § 8205

The licensed child-placing agency shall obtain medical and genetic information on the birth parents and the child that shall include:

  • A current medical, psychological, and developmental history of the child, including an account of the child’s prenatal care, medical condition at birth, results of newborn screening, any drug or medication taken by the child’s birth mother during pregnancy
  • Any subsequent medical, psychological, or psychiatric examination
  • Any physical, sexual, or emotional abuse suffered by the child
  • A record of any immunizations and health care received since birth
  • Relevant information concerning the medical, psychological, and social history of the birth parents

Prior to the child being placed for adoption, the licensed child-placing agency shall provide the information described above to the adoptive parents.

Any medical or genetic information in the court records relating to an adoption must be made available to the adopted child upon reaching age 18 and to the adopted child’s descendants, adoptive parents, or legal guardian on petition of the court.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 2706-A; 2766

The State Registrar shall maintain a file of the names and addresses of adopted persons and their adoptive and birth parents who have registered with the registry. At the time of registration, each registrant shall indicate the persons with whom contact is desired. A registrant may withdraw from the adoption registry at any time by submitting a written request. The Registrar shall notify each party of the name and address of the other party and of sources of counseling when a request for contact is made.

An adult adopted person may request the identity or his or her birth parents from the Registrar by submitting proof that the birth parents are deceased, an affidavit from a blood relative who is not a sibling and who is at least 10 years older than the adopted person verifying that the adopted person lived with the birth parents for 5 years, and a court order authorizing the Registrar to open the original birth certificate to verify the identity of the birth parents. Upon verification of the information, the Registrar will prepare a form identifying the birth parents. This form must be attached to the new birth certificate and provided to the adopted person.

The State Registrar shall provide upon request each birth parent a contact preference form and a medical history form. A birth parent shall fill out a medical history form if he or she fills out a contact preference form.

A birth parent also may complete a contact preference form on which he or she may state a preference regarding contact by an adopted person. The form must indicate whether the birth parent chooses contact, contact through an intermediary, or no contact. Completed contact preference and medical history forms shall be attached to the original birth certificate of the adopted person. A completed contact preference form and medical history form have the same level of confidentiality as the original birth certificate.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, §§ 2765; 2768

The original certificate of birth is not subject to inspection except upon order of the court or pursuant to § 2768.

An adopted person, his or her attorney, or, if the adopted person is deceased, his or her descendants may obtain a copy of that person’s original certificate of birth from the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.

The adopted person must be at least age 18 and have been born in this State. The adopted person must file a written application and provide appropriate proof of identification to the State Registrar.

Upon receipt of the written application and proof of identification and fulfillment of the requirements listed below, the State Registrar shall issue a noncertified copy of the unaltered original certificate of birth to the applicant.

The State Registrar may require a waiting period and impose a fee for the noncertified copy. The fees and waiting period imposed under this subsection must be identical to the fees and waiting period generally imposed on persons seeking their own birth certificates.

If a contact preference or medical history form has been completed and submitted to the State Registrar pursuant to § 2769, the State Registrar also must provide that information.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Maine State Adoption Reunion Registry, Office of Vital Records

Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 8205
The licensed child-placing agency shall obtain medical and genetic information on the birth parents and the child.Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 8205; Tit. 18-A, § 9-304
Specifically, the licensed child-placing agency shall attempt to obtain a current medical, psychological, and developmental history of the child, including:

  • An account of the child’s prenatal care and medical condition at birth
  • The results of newborn screening
  • Any drug or medication taken by the child’s birth mother during pregnancy
  • Any subsequent medical, psychological, or psychiatric examinations and diagnoses
  • Any physical, sexual, or emotional abuse suffered by the child
  • A record of any immunizations and health care received since birth

The study must include an investigation of the conditions and antecedents of the child to determine whether the child is a proper subject for adoption.

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 8205
Specifically, the licensed child-placing agency shall attempt to obtain relevant information concerning the medical, psychological, and social histories of the birth parents, including:

  • Any known diseases or hereditary dispositions to disease
  • The history of use of drugs and alcohol
  • The health of the birth mother during her pregnancy
  • The health of the birth parents at the time of the child’s birth

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 8205; Tit. 18-A, § 9-304
Prior to the child being placed for the purpose of adoption, the licensed child-placing agency shall provide the information described above to the prospective adoptive parents.Upon the filing of a petition for adoption of a minor child, the court shall direct the department or a licensed child placing agency to conduct a study and make a report to the court. The department or licensed child placing agency shall submit the report to the court within 60 days.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions
Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-A, § 9-304
If the petitioner is a blood relative of the child, the court may waive the requirement of a study and report.

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 18-A, §§ 9-105; 2-109
An adopted person retains the right to inherit from the adopted person’s birth parents if the adoption decree so provides, as specified in § 2-109. If a birth parent wishes an adopted child to inherit from the birth parents and their respective kin, the adoption decree must provide for that status.Adoption of a child by the spouse of a birth parent has no effect on the relationship between the child and either birth parent.Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 18-A, §§ 9-105; 2-109
An adopted person has all the same rights, including inheritance rights, that a child born to the adoptive parent(s) would have.

For purposes of intestate succession, an adopted person is a child of the adopting parent and not the birth parents.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 18-A, §§ 2-302; 2-611
If a testator fails to provide in his or her will for any of his or her children who were adopted after the execution of his or her will, the omitted child receives a share in the estate equal in value to that which he or she would have received if the testator had died intestate unless:

  • It appears from the will that the omission was intentional.
  • When the will was executed, the testator had one or more children and bequeathed substantially all his or her estate to the other parent of the omitted child.
  • The testator provided for the child by transfer outside the will with the intent that the transfer be in lieu of a testamentary provision.

Adopted persons are included in class gift terminology and terms of relationship in wills and in trust instruments in accordance with rules for determining relationships for purposes of intestate succession.

State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-A, § 9-312 A probate judge may enter a decree of adoption based solely upon a judgment of adoption in a foreign country pursuant to this provision.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption
Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-A, § 9-312

If an adoption in a foreign country has been finalized and the adopting parents are seeking an adoption under the laws of this State to give recognition to the foreign adoption, a judge of probate may enter a decree of adoption based solely upon a judgment of adoption in a foreign country and may order a change of name if requested by the adopting parents.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 2765(1-A)

The State Registrar will, upon request, establish a birth certificate for a foreign-born person for whom an adoption decree has been entered in State court when it receives:

  • A certificate of adoption
  • A request by the court decreeing the adoption, the adoptive parents, or the adoptee, if he or she is age 18 or older

The certificate will show the true or probable foreign country of birth and will state that it is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the child or for the adoptive parents.


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