Rhode Island

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 15-7.2-2; 15-7.2-7

The following persons may use the passive voluntary adoption reunion registry:

  • Birth parents and adult birth siblings
  • The adult adopted person
  • Surviving relatives of a deceased adopted person
  • The parent or adult sibling of a deceased birth parent
  • The adoptive parent of a deceased adopted person

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 15-7.2-1; 15-7.2-2

The passive voluntary adoption reunion registry shall provide for the transmission of nonidentifying health and social and genetic history of the adult adopted persons, birth parents, and other specified persons. Genetic and social history includes the following information that is available:

  • Medical history
  • Health status
  • Cause of and age at death
  • Height, weight, and eye and hair color
  • Ethnic origins
  • Religion, if any

Health history includes, when obtainable, the child’s health status and medical history at the time of placement for adoption, including neonatal, psychological, developmental, physiological, and medical care history.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 15-7.2-2; 15-7.2-7; 15-7.2-9; 15-7.2-12

The persons listed above may use the registry to register their willingness to the release of identifying information to each other by submitting a signed affidavit. The affidavit gives authority to the registry to release identifying information related to the registrant to the other relevant persons who register. Each registration shall be accompanied by the birth certificate of the registrant.

A registry shall release only information necessary for identifying a birth parent, adult adopted person, or adult birth sibling, and shall not release information of any kind pertaining to the adoptive parents, siblings who are children of the adoptive parents, and the income of anyone.

Any eligible registrant or any adoptive parent may file with the registry an objection to the release of identifying information. When an objection to the release of identifying information has been filed, the court shall hear the objection of the filing party prior to the release of identifying information to determine whether it is in the best interests of the parties to release identifying information.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7.2-12

An uncertified copy of the original birth certificate can be obtained through the adoption registry by the adult adopted person when each birth parent named on the certificate has registered.

Where the Information Can Be Located

State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Family Court, Juvenile Division

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Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-2.1
In those cases where a child is placed for adoption by the Department of Children, Youth and Families or a licensed child-placing agency, the agency shall provide a preadoption report in writing to the prospective adoptive parents.

Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-2.1
The preadoptive report shall include the following information that is reasonably available within the records of the department or the licensed child placing agency that is placing the child for adoption:

  • Current medical, dental, developmental, and psychological history of the child
  • An account of the child’s prenatal care, medical condition at birth, and developmental milestones
  • Any medical, psychological, or psychiatric examinations and diagnoses
  • Any physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect suffered by the child
  • Any developmental assessment and a record of any immunizations and health care received while the child was in foster or other care
  • The child’s enrollment and performance in school and any special educational needs
  • Any adjudications of waywardness and/or delinquency
  • The results of any genetic testing the child has undergone
  • The results of any testing for HIV
  • The length of time the child has been in the care of the agency and the child’s placement history
  • Any information necessary to determine the child’s eligibility for State or Federal benefits

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-2.1
The preadoptive report also shall include the following:

  • The age, race, religion, ethnicity, and general physical appearance of each birth parent
  • The educational levels of the birth parents, including any known diagnosed learning disabilities
  • The relationship of the birth parents
  • The ages and sexes of any other children born to the birth parents
  • If a parent is deceased, the cause of and the age at death
  • Nonidentifying medical, substance abuse, and mental health histories of the birth parents and siblings
  • Drugs and medications taken by the child’s birth mother during pregnancy
  • Any known allergies and hereditary, genetic, or metabolic diseases
  • The circumstances of any judicial order terminating the parental rights of a parent for abuse, neglect, abandonment, or other mistreatment of the child

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-2.1
The report shall be provided to the prospective adoptive parents as early as practicable after the filing of a termination of parental rights or direct consent adoption petition and before a prospective adoptive parent agrees to accept the child for purposes of adoption.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions
Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-2.1
This section does not apply to a stepparent adoption or the adoption of a child related to the petitioner by marriage, blood, or adoption.

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Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-17
The birth parents of the adopted child shall be deprived of all legal rights respecting the child, and the child shall be freed from all obligations of maintenance and obedience respecting his or her birth parents, except it will not deprive an adopted child of the right to inherit from and through his or her birth parents in the same manner as other birth children, provided that the decree of adoption shall in no way affect all legal rights of a birth parent respecting the child and all obligations of the child of maintenance and obedience respecting the birth parent if the birth parent is legally married to the adopting parent at the time of the decree.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7-16
A child lawfully adopted shall be deemed the child of the adoptive parent(s) for the purpose of inheritance by the child and his or her descendants from the parent(s), and by the adoptive parent(s) and their lineal and collateral relatives from the child.When an adopted child is related by blood to the parent or parents by adoption, he or she and his or her descendants shall be entitled to inherit from and through the parent or parents only as an adopted child or descendants of an adopted child and not by virtue of the blood relationship.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

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State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 23-3-15(e); 23-3-15.1

The State Registrar will, upon request, prepare and register a certificate of foreign birth for a foreign-born child who is not a U.S. citizen and who was adopted in State court when it receives:

  • A report of adoption from the court decreeing the adoption
  • Proof of the date and place of the child’s birth
  • A request from the court, the adopting parents, or the adoptee who is age 18 or older, that a certificate be prepared

The certificate shall be labeled ‘certificate of foreign birth’ and shall show the actual country of birth.

After registration of the certificate in the new name of the adoptee, the State Registrar will seal and file the report of adoption. The report will not be subject to inspection except upon court order or as provided by regulation.

A child who has automatically acquired U.S. citizenship following a foreign adoption and possesses a certificate of citizenship in accordance with the Child Citizenship Act (P.L. 106-395) is exempt from provisions that require judicial procedures and reports to obtain a new birth certificate. The State Registrar must, upon written request, prepare a certificate of foreign birth for a child who was born in a foreign country, adopted by a U.S. citizen, and has acquired citizenship when it receives the following documents:

  • Certificate of citizenship
  • Foreign birth certificate
  • Original documents certified by the U.S. embassy abroad
  • Permanent U.S. identification card
  • Social Security card

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