New Mexico Statutes Chapter 32A. Children's Code § 32A-5-3. Definitions

As used in the Adoption Act:

A. “accrediting entity” means an entity that has entered into an agreement with the United States secretary of state pursuant to the federal Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000   1 and regulations adopted by the United States secretary of state pursuant to that act, to accredit agencies and approve persons who provide adoption services related to convention adoptions;

B. “adoptee” means a person who is the subject of an adoption petition;

C. “adoption service” means:

(1) identifying a child for adoption and arranging the adoption of the child;

(2) arranging or assisting in the process of connecting or matching parents who may place a child for adoption with prospective adoptive parents;

(3) providing counseling, advice or guidance related to a potential adoption;

(4) receiving or disbursing funds or anything of value on behalf of a prospective adoptive parent or to a parent who may place or has placed a child for adoption;

(5) securing termination of parental rights to a child or consent to adoption of the child;

(6) performing a background study on a child and reporting on the study;

(7) performing a home study on a prospective adoptive parent and reporting on the study;

(8) making determinations regarding the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child;

(9) performing post-placement monitoring of a child until an adoption is final;  or

(10) when there is a disruption before an adoption of a child is final, assuming custody of the child and providing or facilitating the provision of child care or other social services for the child pending an alternative placement of the child;

D. “agency” means a person certified, licensed or otherwise specially empowered by law to place a child in a home in this or any other state for the purpose of adoption;

E. “agency adoption” means an adoption when the adoptee is in the custody of an agency prior to placement;

F. “acknowledged father” means a father who:

(1) acknowledges paternity of the adoptee pursuant to the putative father registry, as provided for in Section 32A-5-20 NMSA 1978;

(2) is named, with his consent, as the adoptee's father on the adoptee's birth certificate;

(3) is obligated to support the adoptee under a written voluntary promise or pursuant to a court order;  or

(4) has openly held out the adoptee as his own child by establishing a custodial, personal or financial relationship with the adoptee as follows:

(a) for an adoptee under six months old at the time of placement:  1) has initiated an action to establish paternity;  2) is living with the adoptee at the time the adoption petition is filed;  3) has lived with the mother a minimum of ninety days during the two-hundred-eighty-day period prior to the birth or placement of the adoptee;  4) has lived with the adoptee within the ninety days immediately preceding the adoptive placement;  5) has provided reasonable and fair financial support to the mother during the pregnancy and in connection with the adoptee's birth in accordance with his means and when not prevented from doing so by the person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the adoptee or the adoptee's mother;  6) has continuously paid child support to the mother since the adoptee's birth in an amount at least equal to the amount provided in Section 40-4-11.1 NMSA 1978, or has brought current any delinquent child support payments;  or 7) any other factor the court deems necessary to establish a custodial, personal or financial relationship with the adoptee;  or

(b) for an adoptee over six months old at the time of placement:  1) has initiated an action to establish paternity;  2) has lived with the adoptee within the ninety days immediately preceding the adoptive placement;  3) has continuously paid child support to the mother since the adoptee's birth in an amount at least equal to the amount provided in Section 40-4-11.1 NMSA 1978, or is making reasonable efforts to bring delinquent child support payments current;  4) has contact with the adoptee on a monthly basis when physically and financially able and when not prevented by the person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the adoptee;  or 5) has regular communication with the adoptee, or with the person or agency having the care or custody of the adoptee, when physically and financially unable to visit the adoptee and when not prevented from doing so by the person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the adoptee;

G. “alleged father” means an individual whom the biological mother has identified as the biological father, but the individual has not acknowledged paternity or registered with the putative father registry as provided for in Section 32A-5-20 NMSA 1978;

H. “consent” means a document:

(1) signed by a biological parent whereby the parent grants consent to the adoption of the parent's child by another;

(2) whereby the department or an agency grants its consent to the adoption of a child in its custody;  or

(3) signed by the adoptee if the child is fourteen years of age or older;

I. “convention adoption” means:

(1) an adoption by a United States resident of a child who is a resident of a foreign country that is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption;  or

(2) an adoption by a resident of a foreign country that is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption of a child who is a resident of the United States;

J. “counselor” means a person certified by the department to conduct adoption counseling in independent adoptions;

K. “department adoption” means an adoption when the child is in the custody of the department;

L. “foreign born child” means any child not born in the United States who is not a citizen of the United States;

M. “former parent” means a parent whose parental rights have been terminated or relinquished;

N. “full disclosure” means mandatory and continuous disclosure by the investigator, agency, department or petitioner throughout the adoption proceeding and after finalization of the adoption of all known, nonidentifying information regarding the adoptee, including:

(1) health history;

(2) psychological history;

(3) mental history;

(4) hospital history;

(5) medication history;

(6) genetic history;

(7) physical descriptions;

(8) social history;

(9) placement history;  and

(10) education;

O. “independent adoption” means an adoption when the child is not in the custody of the department or an agency;

P. “investigator” means an individual certified by the department to conduct pre-placement studies and post-placement reports;

Q. “office” means a place for the regular transaction of business or performance of particular services;

R. “parental rights” means all rights of a parent with reference to a child, including parental right to control, to withhold consent to an adoption or to receive notice of a hearing on a petition for adoption;

S. “placement” means the selection of a family for an adoptee or matching of a family with an adoptee and physical transfer of the adoptee to the family in all adoption proceedings, except in adoptions filed pursuant to Paragraphs (1) and (2) of Subsection C of Section 32A-5-12 NMSA 1978 , in which case placement occurs when the parents consent to the adoption, parental rights are terminated or parental consent is implied;

T. “post-placement report” means a written evaluation of the adoptive family and the adoptee after the adoptee is placed for adoption;

U. “pre-placement study” means a written evaluation of the adoptive family, the adoptee's biological family and the adoptee;

V. “presumed father” means:

(1) the husband of the biological mother at the time the adoptee was born;

(2) an individual who was married to the mother and either the adoptee was born during the term of the marriage or the adoptee was born within three hundred days after the marriage was terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity or divorce;  or

(3) before the adoptee's birth, an individual who attempted to marry the adoptee's biological mother by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid and if the attempted marriage:

(a) could be declared invalid only by a court, the adoptee was born during the attempted marriage or within three hundred days after its termination by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity or divorce;  or

(b) is invalid without a court order, the adoptee was born within three hundred days after the termination of cohabitation;

W. “record” means any petition, affidavit, consent or relinquishment form, transcript or notes of testimony, deposition, power of attorney, report, decree, order, judgment, correspondence, document, photograph, invoice, receipt, certificate or other printed, written, videotaped or tape-recorded material pertaining to an adoption proceeding;

X. “relinquishment” means the document by which a parent relinquishes parental rights to the department or an agency to enable placement of the parent's child for adoption;

Y. “resident” means a person who, prior to filing an adoption petition, has lived in the state for at least six months immediately preceding filing of the petition for adoption or a person who has become domiciled in the state by establishing legal residence with the intention of maintaining the residency indefinitely;  and

Z. “stepparent adoption” means an adoption of the adoptee by the adoptee's stepparent when the adoptee has lived with the stepparent for at least one year following the marriage of the stepparent to the custodial parent.

1 See 42 U.S.C.A. § 14901 et seq.

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