South Dakota

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 25-6-15.2; 25-6-15.3

Nonidentifying information may be released to:

  • The adoptive parent
  • The adopted person who is age 18 or older

Identifying information may be released to:

  • The adopted person
  • The birth parents

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 25-6-15.2

Nonidentifying information, if known, shall be made available to the adoptive parent or to the adopted person who is age 18 or older upon written request and proper proof of identification. Information may be withheld only if would tend to identify a birth relative. Nonidentifying information includes:

  • The age of the birth parents at the time of the child’s birth
  • The heritage of the birth parents, including nationality, ethnic background, and race
  • The number of years of school completed by the birth parents at the time of the child’s birth
  • The general physical appearance of the birth parents at the time of the child’s birth in terms of 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 before the child’s birth
  • Whether the termination of parental rights was voluntary or involuntary
  • The religion of the birth parents
  • The occupations of the birth parents in general terms
  • The health history of the birth parents and blood relatives
  • The relationship between the birth parents

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 25-6-15.3

The Department of Social Services shall maintain a voluntary registry of adopted persons and birth parents who have presented a consent regarding the release of identifying information about themselves. Any consent shall indicate to whom the information may be released and whether the adopted person desires release of this identifying information after his or her death. A person who uses this voluntary register may revoke his or her consent at any time.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Code § 34-25-16.4

The original birth certificate is available upon order of the court.

Where the Information Can Be Located

South Dakota Voluntary Adoption Registry, Department of Social Services, Adoption Unit

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Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 25-6-10
The circuit court shall direct that an investigation be made by one of the following:

  • A court services officer or other officer of the court
  • An agent of the Department of Social Services
  • Some other discreet and competent person

Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 25-6-13
The report to the court shall include the full adoptive name, date of birth, sex, color or race, and place of birth of the adopted child.

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 25-6-15.2
Nonidentifying information, if known, shall be made available to the adoptive parent, or to the adopted person upon reaching age 18. This information or any part thereof may be withheld only if it is of such a nature that it would tend to identify a birth relative of the adopted person. Nonidentifying information is:

  • The ages of the birth parents at the time of the adopted person’s birth
  • The heritage of each birth parent, including nationality, ethnic background, and race
  • Education, including the number of years of school completed by the birth parents at the time of the adopted person’s birth
  • The general physical appearance of the birth parents at the time of the adopted person’s birth in terms of height; weight; color of hair, eyes, and 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 before the adopted person’s birth
  • Whether it was a voluntary or involuntary termination of parental rights
  • The religions of the birth parents
  • The occupations of birth parents in general terms
  • The health histories of the birth parents and blood relatives
  • The relationship of the birth parents

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 25-6-23
When a court enters a decree terminating parental rights, the parent shall complete a medical and social history form that shall be supplied by the Department of Social Services. When completed, the form shall be filed with the court of the State where the adoption proceedings shall take place.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 25-6-10
In the case of a stepparent adopting a stepchild, the circuit court may, in its discretion, order an investigation.

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Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Laws § 29A-2-114
For purposes of intestate succession, an adopted person is no longer considered the child of that person’s birth parents, except that:

  • Adoption of a child by the spouse of a birth parent has no effect on the relationship between the child and the birth parent whose spouse has adopted the child or the right of the child or a descendant of the child to inherit from or through the other birth parent.
  • Adoption of a child by a birth grandparent or a descendant of a birth grandparent has no effect on the right of the child or a descendant of the child to inherit from or through either birth parent.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Laws § 29A-2-114
For purposes of intestate succession, an adopted individual is the child of that individual’s adopting parent or parents.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 29A-2-302; 29A-2-705
A child who is adopted by the testator after the execution of his or her will, who is neither mentioned nor provided for in the will, is entitled to receive a share in the estate as follows:

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

Despite the above provisions, an omitted after-adopted child may not receive a share in the estate if 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 individuals 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: Ann. Stat. § 25-6-25

Any order of adoption entered in compliance with the laws of another jurisdiction or nation shall have the same effect as an order for adoption entered in this State.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Laws § 34-25-16.1

If the birth occurred in a foreign nation, and the adoption decree is entered in a court of this State, the Department of Health shall issue a new certificate of birth in the new name of the child and with the name of the adopting person. The birth certificate shall be prepared in accord with the facts as found and entered by the court. If the birth occurred in a foreign nation and the adoption was finalized in a foreign nation, any circuit court of this State may issue an order, ex parte and without hearing, directing that a new certificate of birth be issued upon filing the following documentation:

  • The adoption order from the foreign nation
  • A certified translation of the adoption order, if necessary
  • Proof of the date and place of the child’s birth
  • Proof of IR-3 immigration status
  • Proof that each adopting person is a resident of this State

The Department of Health shall issue a new certificate of birth in the new name of the child and the name of each adopting person upon receipt from the clerk of courts such information necessary to establish a new certificate of birth on a form prepared by the department.


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