Original Birth Certificates. Mississippi is a Restricted State. Release of an adult adopted person’s own original birth record requires a court order.
Court Records. Court records are sealed and confidential and available only by court order. A showing of good cause is required for the release of adoption court records.
Identifying Information. The Mississippi Adoption Confidentiality Act allows for release of identifying information from a state-maintained “centralized adoption records file,” subject to birth parent consent. Birthparents may consent to or deny release of the original birth record of an adopted person. Information is maintained by the Bureau of Vital Records but requires the adopted person to apply for information from an adoption agency. The act also requires the adult adopted person to obtain counseling through the agency prior to information being released. The Adoption Confidentiality Act only covers adoptions “performed in this state after July 1, 2005” and applies only to adopted people who are at least 21 years of age. Accordingly, it has very limited current effect on any adult adopted people.
Descendant Rights. Mississippi law does not provide specific rights for descendants of an adopted person to obtain the adoptee’s birth record, other than through a court order or through the central adoption records process. Offspring and biological siblings may participate in that program.
Nuts! It is against the law in Mississippi for one birthparent to reveal the identity of another birthparent. An unlawful disclosure may result in civil liability, though the details of such liability is not specified.
Adult Adoption. Mississippi law provides for adoption of adults. The state’s adoption law related to who may be adopted provides that “the word ‘child’ . . . shall be construed to refer to the person to be adopted, though an adult.”
Mississippi Law: Vital Records and Birth Certificates
Relevant Mississippi adoption law related to birth records of adopted people. Mississippi vital records law does not specifically address amended birth certificates after an adoption. Rather, the state’s adoption law (below) regulates the record. The entire Mississippi adoption statute is only available online through Lexis-Nexis, a proprietary service.
Miss. Code Ann. § 93-17-21. Revised birth certificate
(1) A certified copy of the final decree shall be furnished to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, together with a certificate signed by the clerk giving the true or original name and the place and date of birth of the child. The said bureau shall prepare a revised birth certificate which shall contain the original date of birth, with the place of birth being shown as the residence of the adoptive parents at the time the child was born, but with the names of the adopting parents and the new name of the child. In all other particulars, the certificate shall show the true facts of birth. The fact that a revised birth certificate is issued shall be indicated only by code numbers or some letter inconspicuously placed on the face of the certificate. The word “revised” shall not appear thereon. However, in the event an unmarried adult shall be the adopting parent, then such birth certificate may show thereon, upon order of the chancellor as set forth in the decree of adoption, that same is a revised birth certificate, giving the court where said decree was issued and the date of such decree. The original birth certificate shall be removed and placed, with reference made to the decree of adoption, in a safely locked drawer or vault, and the same shall not be public records and shall not be divulged except upon the order of the court rendering the said final decree or pursuant to Sections 93-17-201 through 93-17-223, and for all purposes the revised certificate shall be and become the birth certificate of the child. However, the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the State of Mississippi shall be required to prepare and register revised certificates only for births which occurred in the State of Mississippi as shown either by the court decree or by the original birth record on file in the bureau; but if the birth occurred in some other state, then the Director of the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the State of Mississippi shall be required to furnish to the attorney or other person representing the adopted child the name and address of the proper official in the state where the child was born, to whom the adoption decree and other information may be referred for appropriate action, and shall furnish to such attorney the certified copy of the decree and the certificate furnished by the clerk.
(2) Provided, however, notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, either an original or a revised birth certificate may be issued, as hereinafter provided, by the Bureau of Vital Statistics to any child who was born outside the United States or its possessions and adopted, either heretofore or hereafter, by an order of a court in this state. Upon presentation of a certified copy of the final decree of adoption containing the required information, the Director of the Bureau of Vital Statistics shall be authorized and directed to receive said certified copy of the decree of adoption and prepare therefrom, and record, a birth certificate which shall disclose the following information: The name of the child (being the adopted name), race, sex, date of birth, place of birth (being the actual town, district and county of said child’s birth, except where the child is born in a penal or mental institution where the name of the county shall be sufficient), names, race, ages, places of birth and occupation of parents (being the adoptive parents) including the maiden name of the adoptive mother. Such certificate shall comport in appearance and indicia with the foregoing requirements for a “revised” certificate issued to a child born in this state. The Director of the Bureau of Vital Statistics shall be authorized and directed to issue certified copies thereof, the same as if the birth certificate were that of a child who had never been adopted.
Mississippi Law: Court Records
Relevant parts of Mississippi adoption law related to court records. The entire Mississippi adoption statute is available through Lexis-Nexis, a proprietary service.
93-17-25. Proceedings and records confidential; use in court or administrative proceedings
All proceedings under this chapter shall be confidential and shall be held in closed court without admittance of any person other than the interested parties, except upon order of the court. All pleadings, reports, files and records pertaining to adopting proceedings shall be confidential and shall not be public records and shall be withheld from inspection or examination by any person, except upon order of the court in which the proceeding was had on good cause shown.
Upon motion of any interested person, the files of adoption proceedings, heretofore had may be placed in the confidential files upon order of the court or chancellor and shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
Provided, however, that notwithstanding the confidential nature of said proceedings, said record shall be available for use in any court or administrative proceedings under a subpoena duces tecum addressed to the custodian of said records and portions of such record may be released pursuant to Sections 93-17-201 through 93-17-223.
93-17-27. References to marital status of natural parents prohibited
No reference shall be required to be made to the marital status of the natural parents of the child nor shall any allegation or recital be made therein that the child was born out of wedlock in any petition filed or decree entered upon consent.
93-17-29. References to parents and child in docket entries and decrees
The docket entries and decrees spread upon the minutes of the court shall not refer to names of the natural parent or parents nor to the original name of the child. In the decree reference to the child shall be by the name to be conferred upon it by the court rather than by its original name if the name of the child is to be changed. The style of the cause and the docket entry thereof shall recite only the names of the petitioners and that the case is for the adoption of a child described in the petition.
93-17-31. Clerks to keep separate index, docket and minute books
The several chancery clerks shall obtain and keep a separate, confidential index showing the true name of the child adopted, the true name of its natural parent, or parents, if known, and the true name of the persons adopting the child and the date of the decree of adoption, and the name under which the child was adopted, or the name given the child by the adoption proceedings and a cross index shall be kept showing the said true name and the name given the child in the adoption decree, and which index shall be subject to the provisions of Section 93-17-25 as to same being kept in confidence and such index shall not be examined by any person, except officers of the court including attorneys, except upon order of the court, on good cause shown, in which the proceeding was had. The reports shall be filed only if so ordered by the chancellor. The several chancery clerks shall obtain and keep a separate docket and minute book of convenient size which shall be subject to provisions of Sections 93-17-25 through 93-17-31 and in which, from July 1, 1955, all entries concerning adoption shall be made.
Mississippi Law: Identifying Information
The entirety of Mississippi’s Adoption Confidentiality Act, which governs release of identifying information related to an adoption.
93-17-201. Short title
Sections 93-17-201 through 93-17-223 may be cited as the “Mississippi Adoption Confidentiality Act.”
The following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed herein unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(a) “Agency” means a county welfare department, a licensed or nonlicensed adoption agency or any other individual or entity assisting in the finalization of an adoption.
(b) “Adoptee” means a person who is or has been adopted in this state at any time.
(c) “Birth parent” means either:
(i) The mother designated on the adoptee’s original birth certificate; or
(ii) The person named by the mother designated on the adoptee’s original birth certificate as the father of the adoptee.
(d) “Board” means the Mississippi State Board of Health.
(e) “Bureau” means the Bureau of Vital Records of the Mississippi State Board of Health.
(f) “Licensed adoption agency” means any agency or organization performing adoption services and duly licensed by the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children’s Services.
93-17-205. Centralized adoption records file established; contents; filing of supplemental information; authorization to release birth parent’s identity; notification of genetic illness
(1) The bureau shall maintain a centralized adoption records file for all adoptions performed in this state after July 1, 2005, which shall include the following information:
(a) The medical and social history of the birth parents, including information regarding genetically inheritable diseases or illnesses and any similar information furnished by the birth parents about the adoptee’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters if known;
(b) A report of any medical examination which either birth parent had within one (1) year before the date of the petition for adoption, if available and known;
(c) A report describing the adoptee’s prenatal care and medical condition at birth, if available and known;
(d) The medical and social history of the adoptee, including information regarding genetically inheritable diseases or illnesses, and any other relevant medical, social and genetic information if available; and
(e) Forms 100A, 100B (if applicable) and evidence of Interstate Compact for Placement of Children approval (if applicable).
The Administrative Office of Courts shall assist the bureau in the maintenance of its centralized adoption record by compiling the number of finalized adoptions in each chancery court district on a monthly basis, and submitting this information to the bureau. The bureau shall include these statistics in its centralized adoption record. The information in this report shall include the number of adoptions in this state where the adopting parent is a blood relative of the adoptee and the number of adoptions in this state where the adopting parent is not a blood relative of the adoptee. The report shall not include any individual identifying information. This information shall be updated annually and made available to the public upon request for a reasonable fee.
(2) Any birth parent may file with the bureau at any time any relevant supplemental nonidentifying information about the adoptee or the adoptee’s birth parents, and the bureau shall maintain this information in the centralized adoption records file.
(3) The bureau shall also maintain as part of the centralized adoption records file the following:
(a) The name, date of birth, social security number (both original and revised, where applicable) and birth certificate (both original and revised) of the adoptee;
(b) The names, current addresses and social security numbers of the adoptee’s birth parents, guardian and legal custodian;
(c) Any other available information about the birth parent’s identity and location.
(4) Any birth parent may file with the bureau at any time an affidavit authorizing the bureau to provide the adoptee with his or her original birth certificate and with any other available information about the birth parent’s identity and location, or an affidavit expressly prohibiting the bureau from providing the adoptee with any information about such birth parent’s identity and location, and prohibiting any licensed adoption agency from conducting a search for such birth parent under the terms of Sections 93-17-201 through 93-17-223. An affidavit filed under this section may be revoked at any time by written notification to the bureau from the birth parent.
(5) Counsel for the adoptive parents in the adoption finalization proceeding shall provide the bureau with the information required in subsections (1) and (3) of this section, and he shall also make such information a part of the adoption records of the court in which the final decree of adoption is rendered. This information shall be provided on forms prepared by the bureau.
(6) (a) If an agency receives a report from a physician stating that a birth parent or another child of the birth parent has acquired or may have a genetically transferable disease or illness, the agency shall notify the bureau and the appropriate licensed adoption agency, and the latter agency shall notify the adoptee of the existence of the disease or illness, if he or she is twenty-one (21) years of age or over, or notify the adoptee’s guardian, custodian or adoptive parent if the adoptee is under age twenty-one (21).
(b) If an agency receives a report from a physician that an adoptee has acquired or may have a genetically transferable disease or illness, the agency shall notify the bureau and the appropriate licensed agency, and the latter agency shall notify the adoptee’s birth parent of the existence of the disease or illness.
(7) Compliance with the provisions of this section may be waived by the court, in its discretion, in any chancery court proceeding in which one or more of the petitioners for adoption is the natural mother or father of the adoptee.
93-17-207. Release of nonidentifying information; persons eligible to receive; fee
(1) The bureau or the agency shall release the nonidentifying information maintained as provided in Section 93-17-205 for a reasonable fee, including the actual cost of reproduction, to any of the following persons upon request made with sufficient proof of identity:
(a) An adoptee eighteen (18) years of age or older;
(b) An adoptive parent;
(c) The guardian or legal custodian of an adoptee; or
(d) The offspring or blood sibling of an adoptee if the requester is eighteen (18) years of age or older.
(2) Information released pursuant to subsection (1) of this section shall not include the name and address of the birth parent, the identity of any provider of health care to the adoptee or to the birth parent and any other information which might reasonably lead to the discovery of the identity of either birth parent.
93-17-209. Search for birth parents by agency to obtain medical, social, or genetic information; fee
(1) Whenever any person specified under Section 93-17-207 wishes to obtain medical, social or genetic background information about an adoptee or nonidentifying information about the birth parents of such adoptee, and the information is not on file with the bureau and the birth parents have not filed affidavits prohibiting a search to be conducted for them under the provisions of Sections 93-17-201 through 93-17-223, the person may request a licensed adoption agency to locate the birth parents to obtain the information.
(2) Employees of any agency conducting a search under this section may not inform any person other than the birth parents of the purpose of the search.
(3) The agency may charge the requester a reasonable fee for the cost of the search. When the agency determines that the fee will exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) for either birth parent, it shall notify the requester. No fee in excess of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) per birth parent may be charged unless the requester, after receiving notification under this subsection, has given consent to proceed with the search.
(4) The agency conducting the search shall, upon locating a birth parent, notify him or her of the request and of the need for medical, social and genetic information.
(5) The agency shall release to the requester any medical or genetic information provided by a birth parent under this section without disclosing the birth parent’s identity or location.
(6) If a birth parent is located but refuses to provide the information requested, the agency shall notify the requester, without disclosing the birth parent’s identity or location, and the requester may petition the chancery court to order the birth parent to disclose the nonidentifying information. The court shall grant the motion for good cause shown.
(7) The Mississippi Department of Health and Human Services shall provide the bureau each year with a list of licensed adoption agencies in this state capable of performing the types of searches described in this section.
§ 93-17-211. Civil and criminal immunity for persons acting under Adoption Confidentiality Act
Any person, including this state or any political subdivision of this state, and any employee, agent or representative of any agency who participates in good faith in any requirement of Sections 93-17-201 through 93-17-223 shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that results from his or her actions. In any proceeding, civil or criminal, the good faith of any person participating in the requirements of Sections 93-17-201 through 93-17-223 shall be presumed.
93-17-213. Promulgation of rules and regulations; fees
The bureau shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of Sections 93-17-201 through 93-17-223 and the bureau may charge reasonable fees to implement Sections 93-17-201 through 93-17-223.
93-17-215. Request by adoptee for identifying information
Any person twenty-one (21) years of age or over who has been adopted in this state may request the bureau through a licensed adoption agency providing post-adoption services to obtain and provide the identifying information regarding either or both of his or her birth parents maintained as provided in Section 93-17-205, unless that birth parent has executed an affidavit prohibiting the release of such information.
93-17-217. Identification and counseling of requesting adoptee; release of information by bureau
Provided the birth parent has not filed an affidavit prohibiting the release of identifying information and before acting on a request made pursuant to Section 93-17-209 or Section 93-17-215, the agency shall require the adoptee to provide adequate identification and to submit to counseling by such agency in connection with the release and use of this information. The bureau shall release the requested information to the designated agency upon request by such agency.
93-17-219. Search for birth parent; when permitted; fee; agency contact with birth parent; release of information to adoptee
(1) If the bureau does not have on file (a) an affidavit either authorizing release of identifying information or prohibiting such release and any further contact from each known birth parent for whom information is sought, or (b) a notice that such birth parent has been contacted once and has refused to authorize the release of confidential information, then the adoptee may request the agency to undertake a search for the birth parent who has not filed an affidavit or who has not been contacted. The licensed agency shall not inform any person other than the birth parents of the purpose of the search.
(2) The licensed agency may charge the adoptee a reasonable fee for the cost of the search. When the agency determines that the fee will exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) for either birth parent, it shall notify the adoptee. No fee in excess of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) per birth parent may be charged unless the adoptee, after receiving notification under this paragraph, has given consent to proceed with the search.
(3) Upon locating a birth parent the licensed agency conducting the search shall make at least one (1) verbal contact and notify him or her of the following:
(a) The nature of the information requested;
(b) The date of the request; and
(c) The fact that the birth parent has the right to consent to or prohibit the release of this information by filing with the bureau the affidavit to this effect.
(4) Within three (3) working days after contacting a birth parent, the licensed agency shall provide the birth parent with a written statement of the information requested and an affidavit form authorizing or prohibiting the release of the requested information. If the birth parent authorizes the release of the information, the licensed agency shall disclose the requested information about that birth parent.
(5) If a licensed agency has contacted a birth parent as provided by this section, and the birth parent does not file the affidavit, the agency shall not disclose the requested information.
(6) If, after a search under this section, a known birth parent cannot be located, the agency shall not disclose the requested identifying information about that birth parent, although it may disclose any available nonidentifying information regarding that birth parent, and it may disclose identifying information about the other birth parent if such other birth parent has signed an unrevoked affidavit authorizing such release. If a birth parent is located and refuses to authorize the release of identifying information, the agency locating this birth parent shall notify the bureau. The bureau shall note such contact and refusal in its records.
(7) Only one (1) contact shall be made with a birth parent pursuant to a search request under this section if the birth parent refuses to authorize the release of the requested information. Further contacts with a birth parent under this section on behalf of the same adoptee shall be prohibited.
93-17-221. Petition in chancery court for disclosure of identifying information
The adoptee may petition the chancery court to order the agency to disclose any identifying information that may not be disclosed under Sections 93-17-201 through 93-17-223. The court shall grant the petition for good cause shown.
93-17-223. One birth parent prohibited from divulging identity of other parent
In cases where only one (1) of the birth parents has authorized the release of identifying information, that birth parent shall be prohibited from divulging to the adoptee the identity, or any information reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of the identity, of the other birth parent, and shall execute a sworn affidavit stating that no such information shall be revealed. The refusal of any birth parent to comply with this prohibition shall constitute an act of bad faith under the terms of Sections 93-17-201 through 93-17-223, and such birth parent shall be subject to civil liability for the release of such information.
Mississippi Law: Adoption Generally
Relevant portions of Mississippi’s adoption law. The entire Mississippi adoption statute is available online through Lexis-Nexis, a proprietary service.
§ 93-17-3. Jurisdiction for adoption or readoption proceedings; who may be adopted; who may adopt; venue of adoption proceedings; certificate of child’s condition; change of name; completion of home study; compliance with Interstate Compact for Placement of Children and Indian Child Welfare Act; authorize waiver of certain procedure for adult adoptees
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a court of this state has jurisdiction over a proceeding for the adoption or readoption of a minor commenced under this chapter if:
(a) Immediately before commencement of the proceeding, the minor lived in this state with a parent, a guardian, a prospective adoptive parent or another person acting as parent, for at least six (6) consecutive months, excluding periods of temporary absence, or, in the case of a minor under six (6) months of age, lived in this state from soon after birth with any of those individuals and there is available in this state substantial evidence concerning the minor’s present or future care;
(b) Immediately before commencement of the proceeding, the prospective adoptive parent lived in this state for at least six (6) consecutive months, excluding periods of temporary absence, and there is available in this state substantial evidence concerning the minor’s present or future care;
(c) The agency that placed the minor for adoption is licensed in this state and it is in the best interest of the minor that a court of this state assume jurisdiction because:
(i) The minor and the minor’s parents, or the minor and the prospective adoptive parent, have a significant connection with this state; and
(ii) There is available in this state substantial evidence concerning the minor’s present or future care;
(d) The minor and the prospective adoptive parent or parents are physically present in this state and the minor has been abandoned or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the minor because the minor has been subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse or is otherwise neglected, and the prospective adoptive parent or parents, if not residing in Mississippi, have completed and provided the court with a satisfactory Interstate Compact for Placement of Children (ICPC) home study and accompanying forms;
(e) It appears that no other state would have jurisdiction under prerequisites substantially in accordance with paragraphs (a) through (d), or another state has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this state is the more appropriate forum to hear a petition for adoption of the minor, and it is in the best interest of the minor that a court of this state assume jurisdiction; or
(f) The child has been adopted in a foreign country, the agency that placed the minor for adoption is licensed in this state, and it is in the best interest of the child to be readopted in a court of this state having jurisdiction.
(2) A court of this state may not exercise jurisdiction over a proceeding for adoption of a minor if, at the time the petition for adoption is filed, a proceeding concerning the custody or adoption of the minor is pending in a court of another state exercising jurisdiction substantially in conformity with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act or this section unless the proceeding is stayed by the court of the other state.
(3) If a court of another state has issued a decree or order concerning the custody of a minor who may be the subject of a proceeding for adoption in this state, a court of this state may not exercise jurisdiction over a proceeding for adoption of the minor unless:
(a) The court of this state finds that the court of the state which issued the decree or order:
(i) Does not have continuing jurisdiction to modify the decree or order under jurisdictional prerequisites substantially in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act or has declined to assume jurisdiction to modify the decree or order; or
(ii) Does not have jurisdiction over a proceeding for adoption substantially in conformity with subsection (1)(a) through (d) or has declined to assume jurisdiction over a proceeding for adoption; and
(b) The court of this state has jurisdiction over the proceeding.
(4) Any person may be adopted in accordance with the provisions of this chapter in term time or in vacation by an unmarried adult, by a married person whose spouse joins in the petition, by a married person whose spouse does not join in the petition because such spouse does not cohabit or reside with the petitioning spouse, and in any circumstances determined by the court that the adoption is in the best interest of the child. Only the consenting adult will be a legal parent of the child. The adoption shall be by sworn petition filed in the chancery court of the county in which the adopting petitioner or petitioners reside or in which the child to be adopted resides or was born, or was found when it was abandoned or deserted, or in which the home is located to which the child has been surrendered by a person authorized to so do. The petition shall be accompanied by a doctor’s or nurse practitioner’s certificate showing the physical and mental condition of the child to be adopted and a sworn statement of all property, if any, owned by the child. In addition, the petition shall be accompanied by affidavits of the petitioner or petitioners stating the amount of the service fees charged by any adoption agencies or adoption facilitators used by the petitioner or petitioners and any other expenses paid by the petitioner or petitioners in the adoption process as of the time of filing the petition. If the doctor’s or nurse practitioner’s certificate indicates any abnormal mental or physical condition or defect, the condition or defect shall not, in the discretion of the chancellor, bar the adoption of the child if the adopting parent or parents file an affidavit stating full and complete knowledge of the condition or defect and stating a desire to adopt the child, notwithstanding the condition or defect. The court shall have the power to change the name of the child as a part of the adoption proceedings. The word “child” in this section shall be construed to refer to the person to be adopted, though an adult.
(5) No person may be placed in the home of or adopted by the prospective adopting parties before a court-ordered or voluntary home study is satisfactorily completed by a licensed adoption agency, a licensed, experienced social worker approved by the chancery court, a court-appointed guardian ad litem that has knowledge or training in conducting home studies if so directed by the court, or by the Department of Human Services on the prospective adoptive parties if required by Section 93-17-11.
(6) No person may be adopted by a person or persons who reside outside the State of Mississippi unless the provisions of the Interstate Compact for Placement of Children (Section 43-18-1 et seq.) have been complied with. In such cases Forms 100A, 100B (if applicable) and evidence of Interstate Compact for Placement of Children approval shall be added to the permanent adoption record file within one (1) month of the placement, and a minimum of two (2) post-placement reports conducted by a licensed child-placing agency shall be provided to the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services Interstate Compact for Placement of Children office.
(7) No person may be adopted unless the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) have been complied with, if applicable. When applicable, proof of compliance shall be included in the court adoption file prior to finalization of the adoption. If not applicable, a written statement or paragraph in the petition for adoption shall be included in the adoption petition stating that the provisions of ICWA do not apply before finalization.
(8) The readoption of a child who has automatically acquired United States citizenship following an adoption in a foreign country and who possesses a Certificate of Citizenship in accordance with the Child Citizenship Act, CAA, Public Law 106-395, may be given full force and effect in a readoption proceeding conducted by a court of competent jurisdiction in this state by compliance with the Mississippi Registration of Foreign Adoptions Act, Article 9 of this chapter.
(9) For adult adoptees who consent to the adoption, a chancellor may waive any of the petition requirements and procedural requirements within subsections (4), (5), (6) and (7) of this section.
93-17-5. Parties to adoption proceeding; consent of child
(1) There shall be made parties to the proceeding by process or by the filing therein of a consent to the adoption proposed in the petition, which consent shall be duly sworn to or acknowledged and executed only by the following persons, but not before seventy-two (72) hours after the birth of the child:
(a) The parents, or parent, if only one (1) parent, though either be under the age of twenty-one (21) years;
(b) If both parents are dead, then any two (2) adult kin of the child within the third degree computed according to the civil law; if one of such kin is in possession of the child, he or she shall join in the petition or be made a party to the suit; or
(c) The guardian ad litem of an abandoned child, upon petition showing that the names of the parents of the child are unknown after diligent search and inquiry by the petitioners. In addition to the above, there shall be made parties to any proceeding to adopt a child, either by process or by the filing of a consent to the adoption proposed in the petition, the following:
(i) Those persons having physical custody of the child, except persons who are acting as foster parents as a result of placement with them by the Department of Human Services of the State of Mississippi.
(ii) Any person to whom custody of the child may have been awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction of the State of Mississippi.
(iii) The agent of the county Department of Human Services of the State of Mississippi that has placed a child in foster care, either by agreement or by court order.
(2) The consent may also be executed and filed by the duly authorized officer or representative of a home to whose care the child has been delivered. The child shall join the petition by the child’s next friend.
(3) If consent is not filed, process shall be had upon the parties as provided by law for process in person or by publication, if they are nonresidents of the state or are not found therein after diligent search and inquiry, the court or chancellor in vacation may fix a date in termtime or in vacation to which process may be returnable and shall have power to proceed in termtime or vacation. In any event, if the child is more than fourteen (14) years of age, a consent to the adoption, sworn to or acknowledged by the child, shall also be required or personal service of process shall be had upon the child in the same manner and in the same effect as if the child were an adult.
Any child heretofore adopted under the laws of the State of Mississippi and any child who may have been adopted under the provisions of this chapter, may be re-adopted under the provisions hereof. If any such prior adoption is valid, and the re-adoption proceedings be instituted by the persons who previously adopted the child, there shall be no waiting period and no investigation and no interlocutory decree, and a final decree of adoption may be granted by the court ex parte if it be to the best interest of the child that it be re-adopted. If the re-adoption be by any person who was not a petitioner in the prior adoption or adoptions, then in such re-adoption proceedings, the persons who previously adopted the child shall be substituted in the place and stead of the natural parent and the same procedure shall be followed as if such child sought to be re-adopted was being for the first time adopted under the provisions of this chapter.
Mississippi Law: Intercountry Adoption
Relevant Mississippi adoption law related to intercountry adoptions. The entire Mississippi adoption statute is only available online through Lexis-Nexis, a proprietary service.
93-17-303. Registration of foreign adoptions
(1) A child who has automatically acquired United States citizenship following a foreign adoption and who possesses a Certificate of Citizenship in accordance with the Child Citizenship Act, Public Law 106-395, may be issued a Mississippi birth certificate upon compliance with this article and the requirements for adoptions under this chapter to the extent not superseded by this article.
(2) A parent shall not proceed under this article if the foreign adoption has been registered or otherwise finalized by a court of this or any other state.
(3) A parent who is eligible to obtain a decree of registration of a foreign adoption under this article may proceed pro se.
93-17-305. Procedure for registration of foreign adoption decree; jurisdiction; restrictions; exceptions; forms
(1) An adopting parent or parents may petition the chancery court in the county having jurisdiction to register a foreign adoption decree so that it will be given full and final effect in this state. The petition and order shall be in substantially the form set forth in Section 93-17-307 unless the Supreme Court promulgates by rule a different set of forms, in which case the petition and order shall be in substantially the form set forth by court rule. As part of the Petition to Register a Foreign Adoption, a child’s name may be changed from that appearing on the foreign adoption decree if all other requirements of law as to name change are met.
(2) A foreign adoption decree previously registered or otherwise finalized by a court of this or any other state may not be registered subsequently in any court of this state.
(3) If the chancellor, in termtime or vacation, determines that the foreign adoption can be registered, the chancellor shall sign the order and shall direct the chancery clerk to enter the date of the foreign adoption decree and identify the foreign court on the docket. A certified copy of the order, along with a copy of U.S. Government Form N-560, Certificate of Citizenship, or a copy of the child’s United States passport, or both, if either or both documents are a part of the court file, shall be provided to the petitioner by the chancery clerk.
(4) If the chancery court determines that the foreign adoption cannot be registered, the petitioner may proceed as applicable under the provisions of this chapter for adoptions generally. Reasons for which a foreign adoption cannot be registered include, without limitation, if the court determines that the foreign adoption is not a full and final adoption because the foreign-born child has been issued an IH-4 or IR-4 visa.
(5) Adopting parent(s) who are eligible to register a foreign adoption under this article may, for any reason, proceed under this chapter as for adoptions generally.
(6) The petition and accompanying documents, including the final decree, are confidential and are subject to rules of confidentiality as otherwise provided in this chapter for adoption records.
§ 93-17-307. Forms
The petition shall be accompanied by the documentation indicated on the forms. The petition and order shall be in substantially the following form unless the Supreme Court adopts a rule setting forth a different form: [link to form content].