South Carolina

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-780

Nonidentifying information may be accessed by the following persons:

  • The adoptive parents
  • The adopted person
  • The birth parents

Identifying information may be accessed by the following persons:

  • The adopted person who is age 21 or older
  • The birth parents and siblings

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-780

The adoption agency may furnish nonidentifying information to adoptive parents, birth parents, or adopted persons when, in the sole discretion of the chief executive officer of the agency, the information would serve the best interests of the persons concerned. Nonidentifying information includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The health and medical histories of the birth parents
  • The health and medical history of the adopted person
  • The adopted person’s general family background without name references or geographical designations
  • The length of time the adopted person has been in the care and custody of the adoptive parent

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-780

The public adoption agency responsible for the placement shall furnish to an adopted person the identity of the adopted person’s birth parents and siblings, and to the birth parents and siblings the identity of the adopted person under the following conditions:

  • The adopted person is age 21 or older, and the applicants apply in writing to the adoption agency for the information.
  • The agency has a current file containing affidavits from the adopted person and the birth parents and siblings that they are willing to have their identities revealed to each other.
  • The agency has established and maintained a confidential register that contains the names and addresses of the adopted person and birth parents and siblings who have filed affidavits.
  • The adopted person and his or her birth parents and siblings have undergone counseling by the adoption agency concerning the effects of the disclosure. The adoption agency may charge a fee for the services, but services must not be denied because of inability to pay.

No disclosure may be made within 30 days after compliance with these conditions. The director of the adoption agency may waive the 30-day period in extreme circumstances. The agency may delay disclosure for 20 days from the expiration of the 30-day period to allow time to apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin the disclosure for good cause shown.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Code § 44-63-140

The original birth certificate is placed in a special sealed file by the State Registrar. The statute does not specify a procedure for access to the original certificate.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Adoption Reunion Registry, South Carolina Department of Social Services

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Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 63-9-520; 63-9-1340
The agency or person who places the child for adoption shall complete the investigations and reports.The public adoption agency within the Department of Social Services shall monitor and evaluate all public placements to insure that placements are suitable and in the best interests of the child.

Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Laws § 63-9-520
A background information investigation shall provide a medical and developmental history of the adopted child.

A postplacement investigation and report of this investigation must answer all of the following:

  • The race, sex, and age of the adopted child
  • Whether the child is suitable for adoption by the prospective adoptive parent
  • The reason for the child’s placement away from the birth parents
  • Whether the child, if of appropriate age and mental capacity, desires to be adopted

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Ann. Laws § 63-9-520
A background information investigation and a report of this investigation may not disclose the identities of the birth parents of the adopted child and shall provide medical histories of the child’s birth family, and including parents, siblings, and other family members related to the child, including ages, sexes, races, and any known genetic, psychological, metabolic, or familial disorders.

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Ann. Laws § 63-9-520
Before the final hearing for adoption of a child, investigations and reports must be completed as follows:

  • Before the placement of any child by any agency or by any person with a prospective adoptive parent, a background investigation must be completed.
  • A postplacement investigation and report of this investigation must be completed after the filing of the adoption petition.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions
Citation: Ann. Laws § 63-9-1110
When a person adopts the child of his or her spouse or a child to whom he or she is related by blood or marriage, no investigation or report, required under the provisions of § 63-9-520, is required unless otherwise directed by the court.

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Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63-9-760; 62-2-109
After a final decree of adoption is entered, the birth parents of the adopted person are relieved of all parental responsibilities and have no rights over the adopted person.The adoption of a child by an adoptive parent does not in any way change the legal relationship between the child and either birth parent of the child whose parental responsibilities and rights are not expressly affected by the final decree.

For purposes of intestate succession by, through, or from a person, an adopted person is the child of the adopting parent and not the birth parent, except that adoption of a child by the spouse of the birth parent has no effect on the relationship between the child and that birth parent.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63-9-760; 62-2-109
After the final decree of adoption is entered, the relationship of parent and child and all the rights, duties, and other legal consequences of the relationship of parent and child exist between the adopted person, the adoptive parent(s), and the kindred of the adoptive parent(s).

For purposes of intestate succession by, through, or from a person, an adopted person is the child of the adopting parent(s) and not the birth parent(s).

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 62-2-302; 62-2-609
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 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 gave substantially all his or her estate to his or her spouse.
  • 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 accordance with rules for determining relationships for purposes of intestate succession.

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State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63-9-920; 63-9-760(A)

When the relationship of parent and child has been created by a decree of adoption of a court of any other State or nation, the rights and obligations of the parties as to matters within the jurisdiction of this State must be determined by § 63-9-760.After the final decree of adoption is entered, the relationship of parent and child and all the rights, duties, and other legal consequences of the natural relationship of parent and child exist between the adopted child, the adoptive parent, and the kindred of the adoptive parent.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption
Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-910

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 63-9-790(A)-(B), in the case of a child born in a foreign country who was not a U.S. citizen at birth and whose adoption was finalized in a foreign country, the court shall review the documentation. If it finds the documentation to be satisfactory, the court shall issue an order stating that the required documentation has been submitted and is satisfactory and that the foreign adoption must be recognized and domesticated in South Carolina. The court shall transmit the order and the certificate of adoption to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics without the necessity of a hearing unless the court finds the documentation submitted is unsatisfactory and such finding is stated in the order resulting from the hearing.

Documentation required to be submitted to the court includes, but is not limited to:

  • A verified petition seeking domestication of the foreign adoption
  • A post-foreign adoption home study completed by a certified person that evaluates the adjustment and progress of the child and family since adoption
  • Naturalization papers, if available
  • Other documentation as the court may request

The court administration in consultation with the Department of Health and Environmental Control shall develop petition forms, including the documentation required to be filed with the petition, and guidelines for obtaining the domestication of a foreign adoption. These forms and guidelines must be available to the public upon request at all county clerks of court offices and at Department of Health and Environmental Control offices.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Code § 44-63-140

When adoption is decreed by a family court in this State of a person born in a foreign country who was not a U.S. citizen at birth and evidence of the date and place of birth submitted to the court and the court order setting forth the date and place of birth are attached to the Certificate of Adoption, the State Registrar shall prepare a ‘Certificate of Foreign Birth.’ The certificate must be labeled ‘Certificate of Foreign Birth’ and must show the actual country of birth. A statement also must be included on the certificate that it is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the person for whom it is issued.


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