North Dakota

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-16

Nonidentifying information must be provided to:

  • The adoptive parents
  • The adult adopted person
  • The birth parent

Identifying information may be provided to:

  • The birth parents
  • The adoptive parents
  • The adopted person
  • Adult birth siblings
  • The adult child of an adopted person

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-16; 14-15-01(12)

Nonidentifying information, if known, concerning undisclosed birth parents must be furnished upon written request to the individuals listed above. The term ‘nonidentifying adoptive information’ includes:

  • The age of the birth parent at the time of the child’s birth
  • The heritage and religion of the birth parent
  • The education completed by the birth parent at the time of the child’s birth
  • The general physical appearance of birth parent at the time of the child’s birth, including the height, weight, color of hair, eyes, skin, and other information of a similar nature
  • The talents, hobbies, and special interests of the birth parents
  • The existence of any other children born to either birth parent
  • The reasons for the child being placed for adoption
  • The vocation of the birth parent in general terms
  • The health history of the birth parents and blood relatives

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-16

Before the child reaches adulthood, exchanges of identifying information may take place between the birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted person. Disclosure of a party’s identifying information may not occur unless the party consents to disclosure. If one parent objects, the identifying information disclosed by the agency may only relate to the consenting parent or parents.An adopted person who is age 18 or older may request the department to initiate the disclosure of information identifying his or her birth parents or adult birth sibling. A birth parent or adult birth sibling may request the department to initiate the disclosure of information identifying that individual. An adult child of an adopted person may request the department to initiate the disclosure of information identifying the adopted person’s birth parents.

Within 90 days after receiving a request, the child-placing agency shall make complete and reasonable efforts to notify the individual or individuals that a disclosure of identifying information has been requested. An adopted person, birth parent, or birth sibling may authorize disclosure, refuse to authorize disclosure, or take no action. If no action is taken in response to a request, the child-placing agency must treat that as a refusal to authorize disclosure, except that it does not preclude disclosure after the person’s death.

Upon application to the department by an adult adopted person or the parent or guardian of a minor adopted person, the department may investigate to determine the adopted person’s eligibility for enrollment as a member of an Indian Tribe.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Cent. Code § 23-02.1-18

The original birth record is available only upon order of a court or as provided by rules and regulations.

Where the Information Can Be Located

North Dakota Department of Human Services, Adoption Search/Disclosure

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Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

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Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-11
An investigation must be conducted by a licensed child-placing agency.

Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Cent. Code §§ 14-15-11; 14-15.1-04
The report of the investigation must contain a review of the child’s history.If the child has been born before the filing of the report, the report must include a medical and developmental history of the child.

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Cent. Code §§ 15-15.1-04; 14-15-01
The report must include the medical and social histories of the birth parents, including an assessment regarding the birth parents’ understanding and acceptance of the action.

The preplacement investigation includes information obtained regarding the child’s history, including the following nonidentifying information:

  • Ages of the genetic parents in years at the birth of the adopted child
  • Heritage of the genetic parents
  • Educational attainments, including the number of years of school completed by the genetic parents at the time of birth of the adopted child
  • General physical appearance of each genetic parent at the time of birth of the adopted child, including the height; weight; color of hair, eyes, and skin; and other information of a similar nature
  • Talents, hobbies, and special interests of the genetic parents
  • Existence of any other children born to either genetic parent
  • Reasons for child being placed for adoption or for termination of parental rights
  • Religion of the genetic parents
  • Vocations of the genetic parents in general terms
  • Health histories of the genetic parents and blood relatives in a manner prescribed by the department
  • Such further information that, in the judgment of the agency, will not be detrimental to the adoptive parent or the adoptee requesting the information, but the additional information may not identify genetic parents by name or location

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Cent. Code §§ 14-15-11; 14-15.1-04
A written report of the investigation must be filed with the court by the investigator before the petition is heard.Before a hearing under this chapter for an adoptive placement with identified adoptive parents, the report of a child-placing agency must be filed with the court. The child-placing agency shall serve a copy of the report upon the birth parent, the identified adoptive parent, the guardian ad litem, and the Department of Human Services at least 7 days before the hearing.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions
Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-11
An investigation and report is not required in cases in which a stepparent is the petitioner or the individual to be adopted is an adult.

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Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-14
Except with respect to the spouse of a petitioner or relatives of the spouse, a final decree of adoption terminates all legal relationships between the adopted person and the person’s birth relatives, including the birth parents, so that the adopted person thereafter is a stranger to his or her former relatives for all purposes, including inheritance.If a parent of a child dies without the relationship of parent and child having been previously terminated, and a spouse of the surviving parent thereafter adopts the child, the child’s right of inheritance from or through the deceased parent is unaffected by the adoption.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-14
A final decree of adoption creates the relationship of parent and child between petitioner and the adopted individual, as if the adopted individual were a legitimate blood descendant of the petitioner, for all purposes including inheritance.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Cent. Code §§ 30.1-06-02 (2-302); 30.1-09.1-05 (2-705)
If a testator fails to provide in his or her will for any child who was adopted after the execution of the will, the omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate as follows:

  • If the testator had no child living when he or she executed the will, an omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate equal in value to that which the child would have received had the testator died intestate, unless the will gave all or substantially all the estate to the other parent of the omitted child and that other parent survives the testator and is entitled to take under the will.
  • If the testator had one or more children living when he or she executed the will, and the will gave property or an interest in property to one or more of the then-living children, an omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share in the estate as follows:
    • The portion of the estate that the omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share is limited to bequests made to the testator’s then-living children under the will.
    • The omitted after-adopted child is entitled to receive the share of the estate, as limited above, that the child would have received had the testator included all omitted after-born and after-adopted children with the children to whom bequest were made under the will and had given an equal share of the estate to each child.

None of the above applies if:

  • It appears from the will that the omission was intentional.
  • The testator provided for the omitted after-adopted child by transfer outside the will with the intent that the transfer be in lieu of a testamentary provision.

Adopted individuals, individuals born out of wedlock, and their respective descendants, if appropriate to the class, are included in class gifts and other terms of relationship in accordance with the rules for intestate succession.

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State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-17(1)

A decree of court 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 of the United States must be recognized in this State, and the rights and obligations of the parties as to matters within the jurisdiction of this State must be determined as though the decree were issued by a court of this State.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption
Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-17(2)

To obtain a validation of a foreign decree of adoption, the adoptive parent shall provide to the court:

  • A petition for validation of foreign adoption
  • An admission stamp in the adoptee’s passport that indicates that he or she was admitted to the United States with an IR-3 visa
  • The adoptee’s foreign birth certificate and English translation
  • The adoptee’s foreign adoption decree and English translation
  • A signed affidavit from the agency that states that the foreign adoption is valid and states the name by which the adoptee is to be known

The petition for validation of foreign adoption must be signed and verified by the petitioner, filed with the clerk of the court, and state:

  • The date and place of birth of the adoptee, if known
  • The name to be used for the adoptee whose foreign adoption decree is being petitioned for validation
  • The date the petitioner acquired custody or the date of placement of the adoptee and the name of the foreign country’s placing agency
  • The full name, age, place, and duration of residence of the petitioner
  • The marital status of the petitioner, including the date and place of marriage, if married

Upon a finding that these requirements have been met, the court shall issue a decree of validation of foreign adoption. The clerk of court shall forward a copy of the decree of validation of foreign adoption to the Registrar of Vital Statistics for the issuance of a birth record in accordance with § 14-15-18.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Cent. Code §§ 14-15-18; 23-02.1-18(2)

Within 30 days after a decree of validation of foreign adoption becomes final, the clerk of the court shall prepare an application for a birth record in the new name of the adoptee and forward the application to the appropriate vital statistics office and forward a copy of the decree to the department of this State for statistical purposes. In the case of the adoption of a person born outside of the United States, the court may make findings, based on evidence from the petitioner and other reliable State or Federal sources, on the date and place of birth and parentage of the adoptee. These findings must be certified by the court and included with the report of adoption filed with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.

For a person born in a foreign country whose adoptive parents are residents of the State of North Dakota at the time of the adoption, the State Registrar of Vital Statistics shall prepare a new birth record:

  • In the case of a foreign-born person adopted in North Dakota, upon presentation of a report of adoption as required by § 23-02.1-17
  • In the case of a foreign-born person adopted outside the State of North Dakota or outside the United States, or in the State of North Dakota prior to July 1, 1979, upon presentation of a certified copy of the adoption decree, and:
    • A certified copy of the birth record of the adoptee
    • An affidavit of an adoptive parent setting forth the true or probable date and place of birth and parentage of the adoptee

Any certification of a birth record issued under this subsection must be in the same form as other certifications of birth records issued in this State, except that it must state that it does not purport to be evidence of U.S. citizenship.


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