TN 26 (12-98)
GN 00306.220 Developing Equitable Adoption
A. Procedure — obtaining statements
Obtain answers to the questions listed in GN 00306.220A.2. from at least two persons who know the facts, including the person filing or inquiring for the child.
In some cases (such as when there is no written agreement), more than two statements may be necessary, depending on your judgement. Wherever possible, obtain statements from the natural and adopting parents and any other parties to the contract. If possible, develop by personal contact.
Obtain, for possible later contact, the name and address of any other persons who participated in or have direct knowledge of the facts about any agreement between the NH and the child's parents or legal custodian.
Ask these and any other questions which are necessary to clarify conflicting or ambiguous statements:
When and from whom did the NH get custody of the child?
If the NH did not get the child from the child's natural parents, how did the person or institution from whom he/she got the child gain custody?
Did the NH have any written or oral agreement with the child's parents or others regarding the child? If so, follow the procedure in GN 00306.220A.3. below.
Did the NH treat the child as his/her own?
Did the NH have full responsibility for the child's support and parental supervision?
By what name was the child generally known?
Did the child treat the NH as his/her natural parent?
Did the NH make financial provision for the child's future (e.g., designate the child as beneficiary of an insurance policy)?
Did the NH ever start proceedings to adopt the child legally?
If the NH agreed to adopt the child, why was the adoption not effected?
Is the person answering these questions related to the child or NH? If so, how?
What is the NH's relationship to the child?
3. Information about Agreement
If there is a written or oral agreement, follow this procedure:
Find out with whom the agreement was made and when it was made.
Is agreement in writing?
If yes, go to step c.
If no, go to step d.
Is agreement obtainable?
If yes, obtain it even if a written agreement is not required under State law.
If no, a reason must be given. If custodian of document will not give it up, make a copy of it. Go to step d.
Document in file that the agreement was not written. Describe the terms of the agreement as fully as possible, particularly the following:
What were the terms of the child's surrender to the NH? Could the child have been returned to or reclaimed by the surrendering person or institution? If so, under what circumstances? Was there any change in circumstances that would make the surrender absolute?
What promises did the NH make about the proposed adoption to the child's parents or other surrendering person?
Was there any agreement that the child would share in the NH's property upon the NH's death?
B. Procedure — examining evidence
There is no list of exact rules as to the evidence required to establish equitable adoption. Because State laws vary and development may be complex, handle each case on an individual basis. If there is a written agreement, the agreement or copy thereof that you have obtained, together with answers to the questions in GN 00306.220A.2. above, should provide sufficient evidence for a determination.