Tennessee

Adoption

Access to Adoption Record

Who May Access Information
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 36-1-127; 36-1-128; 36-1-133

Nonidentifying information may be released to:

  • The adopted person who is age 18 or older
  • The adoptive parents or guardian if the adopted person is under age 18
  • The birth parent or legal relatives
  • The lineal descendants of an adopted person
  • The legal representative of any of the above persons

Identifying information is accessible to the following persons:

  • An adopted person who is age 21 or older
  • A birth parent or birth sibling
  • The spouse, lineal ancestor, or lineal descendant of an adopted person
  • The legal representative of any person listed above

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-133

Upon written request of a person listed above, the department shall release nonidentifying information about the adopted person and such person’s birth or legal relatives that may include:

  • The date and time of the child’s birth
  • The child’s weight and other physical characteristics at birth
  • The age of the adopted person’s birth relatives at the time of the child’s birth
  • The nationality, ethnic background, race, and religious preference of the birth or legal relatives
  • The educational level, general occupation, and any talents or hobbies of the birth or legal relatives
  • A general physical description of the birth or legal relatives, including height, weight, color of hair, color of eyes, complexion, and other similar information
  • Whether the birth or legal parent had any other children, and if so, any available nonidentifying information about such children
  • Available health history of the adopted person and the person’s birth or legal relatives, including specifically, any psychological or psychiatric information that would be expected to have any substantial effect on the adopted person’s mental or physical health

The department shall provide the same information described above to prospective adoptive parents with respect to any child or children the prospective adoptive parents are seeking to adopt.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 36-1-128; 36-1-129

The department shall maintain a contact veto registry for permitting registration of the willingness or unwillingness of the persons listed above for contact with persons eligible to have access to records. The registry shall contain the following information:

  • The name of each person who has filed a contact veto or who has given consent for contact
  • The address and telephone number of the person
  • The date and place of birth of the person, if known
  • Any persons whom the person who files a contact veto wishes to exclude from the application of the contact veto
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the person requesting contact
  • The method of contact, if any, to which the person consents, including contact through one or more third parties
  • Any other information that eligible parties wish to release to the other eligible parties

A person eligible to file a contact veto or give consent for contact may notify the department in writing that such person does or does not object to contact being made with such person by any person or group of persons who are eligible to establish contact.

As part of the surrender for adoption, a birth parent or guardian shall indicate whether or not he or she wishes to file a contact veto or give consent for further contact. By filing a contact veto, a person is entitled to notification of any inquiry requesting contact with the filing person.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-130

The original birth certificate is available to parties who have established their eligibility to have access to adoption records.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, Post Adoption Services

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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: Ann. Code § 36-1-133
The Department of Child Services shall provide nonidentifying information about the birth family.

Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-133
The information that may be released shall include only the following:

  • The date and time of the birth of the adopted person and the person’s weight and other physical characteristics at birth
  • The available health history of the adopted person, including specifically any psychological or psychiatric information that would be expected to have any substantial effect on the adopted person’s mental or physical health

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-133
The information that may be released shall include only the following:

  • The nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, races, and religious preferences of the birth or legal relatives
  • The educational levels, general occupations, and any talents or hobbies of the birth or legal relatives
  • General physical descriptions of the birth or legal relatives, including height, weight, color of hair, color of eyes, complexion, and other similar information
  • Whether the birth or legal parent had any other children, and if so, any available nonidentifying information about such children
  • Available health histories of the adopted person’s birth or legal relatives, including specifically any psychological or psychiatric information that would be expected to have any substantial effect on the adopted person’s mental or physical health

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-133
For the purpose of providing full disclosure about a child to be adopted, the department shall provide the information described above to prospective adoptive parents with respect to any child or children the prospective adoptive parents are seeking to adopt.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

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Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 36-1-121; 31-2-105
An adopted child shall not inherit real or personal property from his or her birth parents or their relatives when the relationship between them has been terminated by final order of adoption, nor shall the birth parents or their relatives inherit from the adopted child. However, if a parent of a child dies without the relationship of parent and child having been previously terminated, and any other person thereafter adopts the child, the child’s right of inheritance from or through the deceased birth parent or any relative thereof shall be unaffected by the adoption.For purposes of intestate succession by, through, or from a person, an adopted person is the child of an adopting parent and not of the 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 that birth parent.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-121
The adopted child and the child’s descendants shall be capable of inheriting and otherwise receiving title to real and personal property from the adoptive parents and their descendants.

The adoptive parents and their family shall have a right of inheritance but only as to property of the adopted child acquired after the child’s adoption.

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
Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-106(c)

With respect to a child sought to be readopted under the laws of this State who has been previously adopted pursuant to the laws of a foreign country, the court may enter new orders of adoption as required by any requirements of the U.S. Government for children who were adopted in foreign countries.If an adoption was conducted in accordance with the laws of the foreign jurisdiction, no further termination of parental rights of the child’s parents, home study, court report are required, and no time period for which an adoption petition must be on file before a final adoption order is entered shall be required. Further, no consultation of the putative father registry is required, and the affidavits otherwise required by § 36-1-120(b)(1)-(2) need not be filed, if the attorney, social worker, or child-placing agency that provided professional services in the foreign adoption, does not maintain an office in the United States.

When a Tennessee resident adopts a child in a foreign country in accordance with the laws of the foreign country, and such adoption is recognized as full and final by the U.S. Government, such resident may file, with a petition, a copy of the adoption decree that evidences finalization of the adoption in the foreign country, together with a certified translation of the decree if it is not in English, and proof of full and final adoption from the U.S. Government, with the clerk of court of any county in this State having jurisdiction over persons filing such documents.

The court shall assign a docket number and file and enter the required documents with an order recognizing such foreign adoption without the necessity of a hearing. Such order, along with the final decree, order, or certificate from the foreign country, shall have the same force and effect as if a final order of readoption were granted in accordance with the provisions of this part.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 36-1-120(f); 68-3-310(5)

All final orders of adoption must be reported by the clerk to the Division of Vital Records of the Department of Health by sending a certified copy of the order or certificate of adoption and by reporting the information required by the division for a new certificate of birth or a Report of Foreign Birth for the child. The court clerk shall supply the division the following information for the preparation of a Report of Foreign Birth if the child who has been adopted was born in a foreign country:

  • The full adoptive name of the child
  • The adopted child’s date of birth and sex
  • The city, province, and country of the adopted child’s birth
  • The full name of the adoptive father
  • The full maiden name of the adoptive mother
  • The legal residence of the adoptive parents

The State Registrar shall prepare a report of foreign birth for a child not born in any State, territory, or possession of the United States whose adoptive parents are residents of Tennessee when the required adoption papers have been received from a court of competent jurisdiction in Tennessee.


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