Home to over 160,000 people, Guam is home to a wide variety of residents – including those considering adoption. Whether you are pursuing adoption as hopeful parents or as an expecting mother, the U.S. territory has a specific set of laws and regulations that govern the process. Here, you will find everything you need to know about adoption in Guam and who can help you complete an adoption.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Guam
What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in Guam?
In Guam, the following people are eligible to apply for adoption:
- A husband and wife jointly
- An unmarried individual
- A stepparent
- A legally separated adult
- A Guam resident who meets one of the above requirements
What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in Guam?
Guam’s statutes to not contain minimums or maximums of allowable birth parent expenses. All adoption expenses paid should be agreed upon beforehand and included in the pre-adoption report. For additional questions, speak to an adoption professional.
What are the laws to become a foster parent in Guam?
The Department of Public Health & Social Services has information for any parents hoping to pursue foster care in Guam. To lean more, see the required application forms.
What are the requirements to finalize an international adoption in Guam?
When an adoption has been decreed by a U.S. court, it will have the same effect as to matters within the jurisdiction of Guam as though it had been granted by the court. The statutes do not address the issue of international re-adoption.
If you would like to apply for a U.S. birth certificate for your child adopted abroad, you will need to send the following to the Registrar of Vital Statistics:
- A report of adoption decreed by a competent court
- Proof of the date and location of the child’s birth
- A request from the court, the adoptive parents, or an adoptee over 18, for a U.S. birth certificate
Birth certificates will state the country of the child’s birth and be labeled as a “Certificate of Foreign Birth.” After this has been registered, the registrar will seal the report of adoption, and it will not be subject to inspection unless an order is made by a judge.
Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in Guam?
Guam’s statutes do not address the issue of advertising or facilitators. If you have any questions, speak to an adoption professional.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in Guam
When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?
Guam’s adoption laws do not specify a time frame for birth parents to wait before giving consent. Consent must be acknowledged before a notary public and witnessed by a representative of the court. It must be established in writing and attached to the petition of adoption. After parental rights have been terminated, a copy of the termination decree must be filed with the court by the child’s guardian.
Who must consent to the adoption?
Consent must be given by the living parents or guardian of the child. A minor parent may consent to adoption, but his or her parents or guardian must also give their consent.
When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable? If a birth parent revokes consent, is the child automatically returned to the birth parent?
Consent is immediately irrevocable except in situations where the court finds revocation to be in the best interests of a child.
What rights does the father of the baby have in Guam adoptions?
The following parties are deemed “parents” by Guam law, and therefore required to consent to adoption:
- The mother of the child
- The father or presumed father of a legitimate child
- An adoptive parent
A child is considered legitimate in the following cases:
- The parents were married when the child was conceived, after the conception of the child, and before the child’s 18th
- The child is legitimate under the laws of his or her place of birth
- The parents have filed an affidavit before the child’s 18th birthday claiming parentage
Any natural parent may petition the court for an order affirming the legitimacy of his or her child, based on the affidavit or the marriage of the parents. The parents must also file affidavits that no one else has claimed parentage.
The term “parent” does not apply to a parent whose rights have been terminated.
Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in Guam
What is included in the Guam home study process?
In the Guam home study, your home study provider will evaluate:
- The background of the parents, including education, family history, and childhood
- Reasons for adopting
- The suitability of the home to raise a child
- Religious affiliation
Parents will need to provide the following for the home study:
- Copies of birth certificates
- Copies of marriage and divorce certificates
- Proof of insurance
- Employment and income verification
- Physical examinations
- Police clearance from the place of current or previous residence
- Two non-relative references
Who is included in the home study process?
In the home study assessment, your home study provider will work with the hopeful adoptive parents and all members of their family.
Who will conduct the home study?
Home studies in Guam must be conducted by the department or a licensed agency.
On what grounds will the home study not be approved in Guam?
Home study approval will be withheld at the discretion of the home study provider. If you have any questions or concerns, speak to your adoption professional.
When should the home study be completed? When must the home study be renewed?
The court will order a home study to be conducted upon the filing of an adoption petition. The department will request the court to have a 45-day period to submit completed home studies unless specified in the court order. If necessary, the department may request extensions.
What is a post-placement study in the adoption process? What are the post-placement study requirements for Guam?
Guam requires a supervisory period of up to one year before the adoption will be formally completed. During this time, the department will schedule quarterly visits and provide assistance to the parents in adjusting to the new family structure.
What are the home study requirements for stepparent or relative adoptions in Guam?
Guam’s laws do not indicate any exceptions or differences in home studies for stepparents or relatives. Speak to your home study provider for any specific questions you have.
What are the home study requirements to adopt a child from another state?
Guam’s laws do not address interstate placements. See your adoption professional if you have questions about adopting a child from another U.S. state or territory.
What are the requirements to adopt a child that is currently in my care?
A foster parent may be considered by an agency for the adoption of a child if:
- The Adoption Selection Committee states that it is in the child’s best interests
- The child has lived with the foster parents for at least one year and have developed a relationship with the family
- The child is deemed “hard to place” due to age, medical conditions, or other issues, and the parent is willing to adopt the child having prior knowledge of this information.
At that point, a streamlined home study will be conducted, including an interview with the family to assess their feelings about adoption, the birth parents, and their ability to provide a permanent home to a child.
If you would like to complete a home study in Guam, contact the Department of Public Health & Social Services.
Guam Adoption Professionals
Your adoption professional will be your partner in the process, taking you through the necessary steps to complete your adoption. Below, you will find a list of adoption agencies and professionals in Guam:
Things to do in Guam
If you are travelling to Guam to adopt, you might find yourself in the area for an extended period of time. While you are there, here are some of the places you can visit: