Adoption provides a child with a life-long legal and emotional family relationship. When a child is adopted, that child moves permanently from one family to another family. In the process, all parental rights are legally transferred to the new parents. This means adoptive parents have the same rights and responsibilities as parents whose children were born to them. It also means adopted children have all the emotional, social, legal, and familial benefits of biological children.
Who may file for adoption?
Any person who is eighteen (18) years of age and who is a resident of this state or who has resided in this state for twelve (12) months before filing may file a petition to adopt a child in the Circuit Court of the county in which the petitioner resides. If the petitioner is married, the husband or wife shall join in a petition to adopt a child, unless the petitioner is married to a biological parent of the child to be adopted; if the court finds the requirement of a joint petition would serve to deny the child a suitable home, the requirement may be waived.
When is approval of the secretary not necessary in an adoption?
No petition for adoption shall be filed unless prior to the filing of the petition the child sought to be adopted has been placed for adoption by a child-placing institution or agency, or by the cabinet, or the child has been placed with written approval of the secretary; but no approval shall be necessary in the case of: (a) A child sought to be adopted by a blood relative, including a relative of half-blood, first cousin, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, and a person of a preceding generation as denoted by prefixes of grand, great, or great-great; stepparent; stepsibling; or fictive kin; however, the court in its discretion may order a report and a background check.
Can there be discrimination when adopting?
Petitions for adoption of children placed for adoption by the cabinet or a licensed child placing institution or agency shall not be denied on the basis of the religious, ethnic, racial, or interfaith background of the adoptive applicant, unless contrary to the expressed wishes of the biological parent(s).
What information is in the adoption documents?
The petition shall state:
- The name, date, place of birth, place of residence, and mailing address of each petitioner, and, if married, the date and place of their marriage;
- The name, date, place of birth, place of residence, and mailing address, if known, of the child sought to be adopted;
- Relationship, if any, of the child to each petitioner;
- Full name by which the child shall be known after adoption;
- A full description of the property, if any, of the child so far as it is known to the petitioner;
- The names of the parents of the child and the address of each living parent, if known. The name of the biological father of a child born out of wedlock shall not be given unless paternity is established in a legal action, or unless an affidavit is filed stating that the affiant is the father of the child. If certified copies of orders terminating parental rights are filed, the name of any parent whose rights have been terminated shall not be given;
- The name and address of the child’s guardian, if any, or of the cabinet, institution, or agency having legal custody of the child;
- Any further facts necessary for the location of the person or persons whose consent to the adoption is required, or whom KRS 199.480 requires to be made a party to or notified of the proceeding; and, if any fact required by this subsection to be alleged is unknown to the petitioners, the lack of knowledge shall be alleged. There shall be filed with the petition certified copies of any orders terminating parental rights. Any consent to adoption shall be filed prior to the entry of the adoption judgment. If the petitioner was not excepted by KRS 199.470(4), a copy of the written approval of the secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services or the secretary’s designee shall be filed with the petition.
Are adoption records confidential?
The files and records of the court during adoption proceedings shall not be open to inspection by persons other than parties to the proceedings, their attorneys, and representatives of the cabinet except under order of the court expressly permitting inspection.
Upon the entry of the final order in the case, the clerk shall place all papers and records in the case in a suitable envelope which shall be sealed and shall not be open for inspection by any person except on written order of the court, except that upon the written consent of the biological parents and upon written order of the Circuit Court, all papers and records including all files and records of the Circuit Court during proceedings for termination of parental rights, shall be open for inspection to any adult adopted person who applies in person or in writing to the Circuit Court.
Health information received pursuant to the law shall be added to the adoption case file. The clerk of the Circuit Court shall set up a separate docket and order book for adoption cases and these files and records shall be kept locked.
No person having charge of any adoption records shall disclose the names of any parties appearing in such records or furnish any copy of any such records to any person or other entity that does not meet certain legal requirements, except upon order of the court which entered the judgment of adoption.
Does the adopted person receive a new birth certificate?
After entry of the adoption judgment, the clerk of the Circuit Court shall promptly report to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services of Kentucky full information as called for on forms furnished by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, necessary to make a new birth certificate conforming to the standard birth certificate form. Upon receipt of this information, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services shall make a new birth certificate and it shall be filed with the original certificate, and the original certificate shall be stamped with the words, “CONFIDENTIAL — subject to copy and/or inspection only on written order of the court.”
Who must consent to the adoption?
An adoption shall not be granted without:
- The voluntary and informed consent, of the living parent or parents of a child born in a marriage or the mother of the child born out of marriage, or the father of the child born out of marriage, if paternity is established in a legal action or if an affidavit is filed stating that the affiant is the father of the child. The consent of the living parent or parents shall not be required if: (a) The parent or parents have been adjudged mentally disabled and the judgment shall have been in effect for not less than one (1) year prior to the filing of the petition for adoption; (b) The parental rights of the parents have been terminated; (c) The living parents are divorced and the parental rights of one (1) parent have been terminated and consent has been given by the parent having custody and control of the child; or (d) The biological parent has not established parental rights as required by the law.
- A minor parent who is a party defendant may consent to an adoption but a guardian ad litem for the parent shall be appointed.
- In the case of a child twelve (12) years of age or older, the consent of the child shall be given in court. The court in its discretion may waive this requirement.
- An adoption may be granted without the consent of the biological living parents of a child if it is pleaded and proved as a part of the adoption proceedings that certain provisions under the law exist with respect to the child.
- An adoption shall not be granted or a consent for adoption be held valid if the consent for adoption is given prior to seventy-two (72) hours after the birth of the child. A voluntary and informed consent may be taken at seventy-two (72) hours after the birth of the child and shall become final and irrevocable seventy-two (72) hours after it is signed.