Code Section Group

Family Code - FAM

DIVISION 13. ADOPTION [8500 - 9340]

  ( Division 13 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

PART 2. ADOPTION OF UNMARRIED MINORS [8600 - 9213]

  ( Part 2 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

CHAPTER 4. Intercountry Adoptions [8900 - 8925]
  ( Chapter 4 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

8900.
  

(a) Intercountry adoption services described in this chapter shall be exclusively provided by private adoption agencies licensed by the department specifically to provide these services. As a condition of licensure to provide intercountry adoption services, any private full-service adoption agency and any noncustodial adoption agency shall be accredited by the Council on Accreditation, or supervised by an accredited primary provider, or acting as an exempted provider, in compliance with Subpart F (commencing with Section 96.29) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(b) A private full-service adoption agency or a noncustodial adoption agency, when acting as the primary provider and using a supervised provider, shall ensure that each supervised provider operates under a written agreement with the primary provider pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 96.45 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(c) The primary provider shall provide to the department a copy of the written agreement with each supervised provider containing all provisions required pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 96.45 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 583, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2008.)

8900.5.
  

As used in this chapter:

(a) “Accredited agency” means an agency that has been accredited by an accrediting entity, in accordance with the standards in Subpart F (commencing with Section 96.29) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the convention. Accredited agency does not include a temporarily accredited agency.

(b) “Adoption service” means any of the following services:

(1) Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption.

(2) Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption.

(3) Performing a background study on a child or a home study on any prospective adoptive parent, and reporting on the study.

(4) Making nonjudicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child.

(5) Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with any prospective adoptive parent until final adoption.

(6) If necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing or facilitating child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement.

(c) “Central authority” means the entity designated under paragraph (1) of Article 6 of the convention by a convention country. The United States Department of State is designated as the United States Central Authority pursuant to the federal Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 14911).

(d) “Convention” means the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, May 29, 1993.

(e) “Convention adoption” means the adoption of a child resident in a convention country by a United States citizen, or an adoption of a child resident in the United States by an individual or individuals residing in a convention country, if, in connection with the adoption, the child has moved or will move between the United States and the convention country.

(f) “Convention country” means a country that is party to the convention and with which the convention is in force for the United States.

(g) “Exempted provider” means a social work professional or organization that performs a home study on any prospective adoptive parent, or a child background study, or both, in the United States in connection with a convention adoption, and who is not currently providing and has not previously provided any other adoption service in the case.

(h) “Hague adoption certificate” means a certificate issued by the secretary in an outgoing case (where the child is emigrating from the United States to another convention country) certifying that a child has been adopted in the United States in accordance with the convention and, except as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 97.4 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 14901 et seq.; the IAA).

(i) “Hague custody declaration” means a declaration issued by the secretary in an outgoing case (where the child is emigrating from the United States to another convention country) declaring that custody of a child for purposes of adoption has been granted in the United States in accordance with the convention and, except as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 97.4 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the IAA.

(j) “Legal service” means any service, other than those defined in this section as an adoption service, that relates to the provision of legal advice and information or to the drafting of legal instruments. Legal service includes, but is not limited to, any of the following services:

(1) Drafting contracts, powers of attorney, and other legal instruments.

(2) Providing advice and counsel to an adoptive parent on completing forms for the State Department of Health Care Services or the United States Department of State.

(3) Providing advice and counsel to accredited agencies, temporarily accredited agencies, approved persons, or prospective adoptive parents on how to comply with the convention, the IAA, and any regulations implementing the IAA.

(k) “Primary provider” means the accredited agency that is identified pursuant to Section 96.14 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations as responsible for ensuring that all adoption services are provided and responsible for supervising any supervised providers when used.

(l) “Public domestic authority” means an authority operated by a state, local, or tribal government.

(m) “Secretary” means the United States Secretary of State, and includes any official of the United States Department of State exercising the authority of the Secretary of State under the convention, the IAA, or any regulations implementing the IAA, pursuant to a delegation of authority.

(n) “Supervised provider” means any agency, person, or other nongovernmental entity that is providing any adoption service in a convention adoption under the supervision and responsibility of an accredited agency that is acting as the primary provider in the case.

(Added by Stats. 2007, Ch. 583, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2008.)

8901.
  

The department shall adopt regulations to administer the intercountry adoption program.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8902.
  

For intercountry adoptions that will be finalized in this state, the licensed adoption agency shall provide all of the following services:

(a) Assessment of the suitability of the applicant’s home.

(b) Placement of the foreign-born child in an approved home.

(c) Postplacement supervision.

(d) Submission to the court of a report on the intercountry adoptive placement with a recommendation regarding the granting of the petition.

(e) Services to applicants seeking to adopt related children living in foreign countries. The Legislature recognizes that these children have an impelling need for adoptive placement with their relatives.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8903.
  

(a) For each intercountry adoption finalized in this state, the licensed adoption agency shall assume all responsibilities for the child including care, custody, and control as if the child had been relinquished for adoption in this state from the time the child left the child’s native country.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), if the child’s native country requires and has given full guardianship to the prospective adoptive parents, the prospective adoptive parents shall assume all responsibilities for the child including care, custody, control, and financial support.

(c) If the licensed adoption agency or prospective adoptive parents fail to meet the responsibilities under subdivision (a) or (b) and the child becomes a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the state shall assume responsibility for the cost of care for the child. When the child becomes a dependent of the court and if, for any reason, is ineligible for AFDC under Section 14005.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and loses Medi-Cal eligibility, the child shall be deemed eligible for Medi-Cal under Section 14005.4 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and the State Director of Health Services has authority to provide payment for the medical services to the child that are necessary to meet the child’s needs.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8904.
  

For an intercountry adoption that will be finalized in a foreign country, the licensed adoption agency shall provide all of the following services:

(a) Assessment of the suitability of the applicant’s home.

(b) Certification to the Immigration and Naturalization Service that this state’s intercountry adoption requirements have been met.

(c) Readoption services as required by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 219, Sec. 202. Effective January 1, 1994.)

8905.
  

Licensed adoption agencies may work only with domestic and foreign adoption agencies with whom they have written agreements that specify the responsibilities of each. The agreements may not violate any statute or regulation of the United States or of this state.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8906.
  

Nothing in this chapter may be construed to prohibit the licensed adoption agency from entering into an agreement with the prospective adoptive parents to share or transfer financial responsibility for the child.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8907.
  

The costs incurred by a licensed adoption agency pursuant to programs established by this chapter shall be funded by fees charged by the agency for services required by this chapter. The agency’s fee schedule is required to be approved by the department initially and whenever it is altered.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8908.
  

(a) A licensed adoption agency shall require each person filing an application for adoption to be fingerprinted and shall secure from an appropriate law enforcement agency any criminal record of that person to determine if the person has ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation. The licensed adoption agency may also secure the person’s full criminal record, if any, with the exception of any convictions for which relief has been granted pursuant to Section 1203.49 of the Penal Code. Any federal-level criminal offender record requests to the Department of Justice shall be submitted with fingerprint images and related information required by the Department of Justice for the purposes of obtaining information as to the existence and content of a record of an out-of-state or federal conviction or arrest of a person or information regarding any out-of-state or federal crimes or arrests for which the Department of Justice establishes that the person is free on bail, or on his or her own recognizance pending trial or appeal. The Department of Justice shall forward to the Federal Bureau of Investigation any requests for federal summary criminal history information received pursuant to this section. The Department of Justice shall review the information returned from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and shall compile and disseminate a fitness determination to the licensed adoption agency.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), the criminal record, if any, shall be taken into consideration when evaluating the prospective adoptive parent, and an assessment of the effects of any criminal history on the ability of the prospective adoptive parent to provide adequate and proper care and guidance to the child shall be included in the report to the court.

(c) (1) A licensed adoption agency shall not give final approval for an adoptive placement in any home in which the prospective adoptive parent, or any adult living in the prospective adoptive home, has a felony conviction for either of the following:

(A) Any felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, crimes against a child, including child pornography, or for a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault and battery. For purposes of this subdivision, crimes involving violence means those violent crimes contained in clause (i) of subparagraph (A), and subparagraph (B), of paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) of Section 1522 of the Health and Safety Code.

(B) A felony conviction that occurred within the last five years for physical assault, battery, or a drug- or alcohol-related offense.

(2) This subdivision shall become operative on October 1, 2008, and shall remain operative only to the extent that compliance with its provisions is required by federal law as a condition of receiving funding under Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 670 et seq.).

(d) Any fee charged by a law enforcement agency for fingerprinting or for checking or obtaining the criminal record of the applicant shall be paid by the applicant. The licensed adoption agency may defer, waive, or reduce the fee if its payment would cause economic hardship to the prospective adoptive parents detrimental to the welfare of the adopted child.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 86, Sec. 132. (SB 1171) Effective January 1, 2017.)

8909.
  

(a) An agency may not place a child for adoption unless a written report on the child’s medical background and, if available, the medical background of the child’s biological parents so far as ascertainable, has been submitted to the prospective adoptive parents and they have acknowledged in writing the receipt of the report.

(b) The report on the child’s background shall contain all known diagnostic information, including current medical reports on the child, psychological evaluations, and scholastic information, as well as all known information regarding the child’s developmental history and family life.

(c) (1) The biological parents may provide a blood sample at a clinic or hospital approved by the State Department of Health Services. The biological parents’ failure to provide a blood sample shall not affect the adoption of the child.

(2) The blood sample shall be stored at a laboratory under contract with the State Department of Health Services for a period of 30 years following the adoption of the child.

(3) The purpose of the stored sample of blood is to provide a blood sample from which DNA testing can be done at a later date after entry of the order of adoption at the request of the adoptive parents or the adopted child. The cost of drawing and storing the blood samples shall be paid for by a separate fee in addition to any fee required under Section 8907. The amount of this additional fee shall be based on the cost of drawing and storing the blood samples but at no time shall the additional fee be more than one hundred dollars ($100).

(d) (1) The blood sample shall be stored and released in such a manner as to not identify any party to the adoption.

(2) Any results of the DNA testing shall be stored and released in such a manner as to not identify any party to the adoption.

(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1053, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1997.)

8910.
  

(a) In no event may a child who has been placed for adoption be removed from the county in which the child was placed, by any person who has not petitioned to adopt the child, without first obtaining the written consent of the licensed adoption agency responsible for the child.

(b) During the pendency of an adoption proceeding:

(1) The child proposed to be adopted may not be concealed within the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending.

(2) The child may not be removed from the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending unless the petitioners or other interested persons first obtain permission for the removal from the court, after giving advance written notice of intent to obtain the court’s permission to the licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. Upon proof of giving notice, permission may be granted by the court if, within a period of 15 days after the date of giving notice, no objections are filed with the court by the licensed adoption agency responsible for the child. If the licensed adoption agency files objections within the 15-day period, upon the request of the petitioners the court shall immediately set the matter for hearing and give to the objector, the petitioners, and the party or parties requesting permission for the removal reasonable notice of the hearing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as shown in the records of the adoption proceeding. Upon a finding that the objections are without good cause, the court may grant the requested permission for removal of the child, subject to any limitations that appear to be in the child’s best interest.

(c) This section does not apply in any of the following situations:

(1) Where the child is absent for a period of not more than 30 days from the county in which the adoption proceeding is pending, unless a notice of recommendation of denial of petition has been personally served on the petitioners or the court has issued an order prohibiting the removal of the child from the county pending consideration of any of the following:

(A) The suitability of the petitioners.

(B) The care provided the child.

(C) The availability of the legally required agency consents to the adoption.

(2) Where the child has been returned to and remains in the custody and control of the child’s birth parent or parents.

(3) Where written consent for the removal of the child is obtained from the licensed adoption agency responsible for the child.

(d) A violation of this section is a violation of Section 280 of the Penal Code.

(e) Neither this section nor Section 280 of the Penal Code may be construed to render lawful any act that is unlawful under any other applicable law.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8911.
  

As a condition of placement, the prospective adoptive parents shall file a petition to adopt the child under Section 8912 within 30 days of placement.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8912.
  

(a) An international adoption or readoption request may be filed by a resident of this state in a county authorized by Section 8609.5. The court clerk shall immediately notify the department at Sacramento in writing of the pendency of the proceeding and of any subsequent action taken.

(b) The caption of the adoption petition shall contain the names of the petitioners, but not the child’s name. The petition shall state the child’s sex and date of birth. The name the child had before adoption shall appear in the joinder signed by the licensed adoption agency.

(c) If the child is the subject of a guardianship petition, the adoption petition shall so state and shall include the caption and docket number or have attached a copy of the letters of the guardianship or temporary guardianship. The petitioners shall notify the court of any petition for guardianship or temporary guardianship filed after the adoption petition. The guardianship proceeding shall be consolidated with the adoption proceeding.

(d) The order of adoption shall contain the child’s adopted name, but not the name the child had before adoption.

(e) If the petitioner has entered into a postadoption contact agreement with the birth parent as set forth in Section 8616.5, the agreement, signed by the participating parties, shall be attached to and filed with the petition for adoption.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 638, Sec. 12. (AB 1757) Effective January 1, 2013.)

8913.
  

The prospective adoptive parents and the child proposed to be adopted shall appear before the court pursuant to Sections 8612 and 8613.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8914.
  

If the licensed adoption agency is a party to or joins in the adoption petition, it shall submit a full report of the facts of the case to the court. The department may also submit a report.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8915.
  

When any report or findings are submitted to the court by a licensed adoption agency, a copy of the report or findings, whether favorable or unfavorable, shall be given to the petitioner’s attorney in the proceeding, if the petitioner has an attorney of record, or to the petitioner.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8916.
  

(a) If the petitioners move to withdraw the adoption petition or to dismiss the proceeding, the court clerk shall immediately notify the department at Sacramento of the action. The licensed adoption agency shall file a full report with the court recommending a suitable plan for the child in every case where the petitioners desire to withdraw the adoption petition or where the licensed adoption agency recommends that the adoption petition be denied and shall appear before the court for the purpose of representing the child.

(b) Notwithstanding the petitioners’ withdrawal or dismissal, the court may retain jurisdiction over the child for the purpose of making any order for the child’s custody that the court deems to be in the child’s best interest.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8917.
  

(a) If the licensed adoption agency finds that the home of the petitioners is not suitable for the child or that the required agency consents are not available and the agency recommends that the petition be denied, or if the petitioners desire to withdraw the petition and the agency recommends that the petition be denied, the clerk upon receipt of the report of the licensed adoption agency shall immediately refer it to the court for review.

(b) Upon receipt of the report, the court shall set a date for a hearing of the petition and shall give reasonable notice of the hearing to the licensed adoption agency and the petitioners by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as shown in the proceeding.

(c) The licensed adoption agency shall appear to represent the child.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8918.
  

At the hearing, if the court sustains the recommendation that the child be removed from the home of the petitioners because the licensed adoption agency has recommended denial or the petitioners desire to withdraw the petition or the court dismisses the petition and does not return the child to the child’s parents, the court shall commit the child to the care of the licensed adoption agency for the agency to arrange adoptive placement or to make a suitable plan.

(Enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. Operative January 1, 1994.)

8919.
  

(a) Each state resident who adopts a child through an intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country shall readopt the child in this state if it is required by the Department of Homeland Security. Except as provided in subdivision (c), the readoption shall include, but is not limited to, at least one postplacement in-home visit, the filing of the adoption petition, the intercountry adoption court report, accounting reports, the home study report, and the final adoption order. If the adoptive parents have already completed a home study as part of their adoption process, a copy of that study shall be submitted in lieu of a second home study. No readoption order shall be granted unless the court receives a copy of the home study report previously completed for the international finalized adoption by an adoption agency authorized to provide intercountry adoption services pursuant to Section 8900. The court shall consider the postplacement visit or visits and the previously completed home study when deciding whether to grant or deny the petition for readoption.

(b) Each state resident who adopts a child through an intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country may readopt the child in this state. Except as provided in subdivision (c), the readoption shall meet the standards described in subdivision (a).

(c) (1) A state resident who adopts a child through an intercountry adoption that is finalized in a foreign country with adoption standards that meet or exceed those of this state, as certified by the State Department of Social Services, may readopt the child in this state according to this subdivision. The readoption shall include one postplacement in-home visit and the final adoption order.

(2) The petition to readopt may be granted if all of the following apply:

(A) The adoption was finalized in accordance with the laws of the foreign country.

(B) The resident has filed with the petition a copy of both of the following:

(i) The decree, order, or certificate of adoption that evidences finalization of the adoption in the foreign country.

(ii) The child’s birth certificate and visa.

(C) A certified translation is included of all documents described in this paragraph that are not in English.

(3) If the court denies a petition for readoption, the court shall summarize its reasons for the denial on the record.

(d) The State Department of Social Services shall certify whether the adoption standards in the following countries meet or exceed those of this state:

(1) China

(2) Guatemala

(3) Kazakhstan

(4) Russia

(5) South Korea

(e) In addition to the requirement or option of the readoption process set forth in this section, each state resident who adopts a child through an intercountry adoption which is finalized in a foreign country may obtain a birth certificate in the State of California in accordance with the provisions of Section 102635 or 103450 of the Health and Safety Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 130, Sec. 92. Effective January 1, 2008.)

8920.
  

(a) A child who was adopted as part of a sibling group and who has been separated from his or her sibling or siblings through readoption by a resident of this state may petition the court to enforce any agreement for visitation to which the separate adoptive families of the siblings subscribed prior to the child’s readoption or to order visitation if no such agreement exists. The court may order that the agreement be enforced or grant visitation rights upon a finding that visitation is in the best interest of the child.

(b) In making a finding that enforcement of an existing agreement or the granting of visitation rights is in the best interest of the child under subdivision (a), the court shall take into consideration the nature and extent of the child’s sibling relationship, including, but not limited to, whether the child was raised with a sibling in the same home, whether the child shares significant common experiences or has close and strong bonds with a sibling, and whether ongoing contact with a sibling is in the child’s best interest, including the child’s long-term interest.

(c) As used in this section, “sibling” means full-siblings or half-siblings.

(d) As used in this section, “readoption” means the process by which a child who belongs to a foreign-born sibling group that was adopted together through an intercountry adoption is subsequently adopted by a different set of adoptive parents who are residents of the state.

(Added by Stats. 2003, Ch. 19, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2004.)

8921.
  

An adoption facilitator shall not offer, provide, or facilitate any adoption service, as described in this chapter, in connection with a convention adoption unless it is registered and posts a bond pursuant to Section 8632.5, and is approved by the accrediting entity pursuant to Subpart F (commencing with Section 96.29) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(Added by Stats. 2007, Ch. 583, Sec. 7. Effective January 1, 2008.)

8923.
  

(a) A complaint against an accredited agency or approved person in connection with a convention adoption shall be filed according to the procedures set forth in Subpart J (commencing with Section 96.68) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(b) Each private full-service adoption agency and noncustodial adoption agency licensed by the department under this chapter shall notify the department of any complaint filed against it pursuant to Subpart J (commencing with Section 96.68) of Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(c) The department may revoke the license of any agency that fails to comply with the provisions of this chapter and Part 96 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(Added by Stats. 2007, Ch. 583, Sec. 8. Effective January 1, 2008.)

8924.
  

(a) For cases in which a child is emigrating from California to a convention country, an accredited agency or approved person providing any adoption service described in this chapter, shall perform all of the following:

(1) A background study on the child prepared in accordance with all requirements set forth in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 96.53 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 8706, and applicable state law.

(2) Consents are obtained in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 96.53 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations and applicable state law.

(3) If the child is 12 years of age or older, the agency or person has given due consideration to the child’s wishes or opinions before determining that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests and in accordance with applicable state law.

(4) Transmission to the United States Department of State or other competent authority, or accredited bodies of the convention country, of the child background study, proof that the necessary consents have been obtained, and the reasons for the determination that the placement is in the child’s best interests.

(b) The accredited agency shall comply with all placement standards set forth in Section 96.54 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations for children emigrating from California to a convention country.

(c) The accredited agency shall keep the central authority of the convention country and the Secretary informed as necessary about the adoption process and the measures taken to complete it for children emigrating from California to a convention country, in accordance with all communication and coordination functions set forth in Section 96.55 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(d) For all convention and nonconvention adoption cases involving children emigrating from California to a convention country, the agency, person, or public domestic authority providing adoption services shall report information to the Secretary in accordance with Part 99 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(Added by Stats. 2007, Ch. 583, Sec. 9. Effective January 1, 2008.)

8925.
  

A Hague adoption certificate or, in outgoing cases, a Hague custody declaration, obtained pursuant to Part 97 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations shall be recognized as a final valid adoption for purposes of all state and local laws.

(Added by Stats. 2007, Ch. 583, Sec. 10. Effective January 1, 2008.)

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