How Does the Adoption Process Work?

In order to begin the adoption process, you must first understand the different types of adoption. Below, we explain adoption procedures, and steps you need to take for each type of adoption. To learn more, contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks.

Stepparent Adoption

Stepparent adoption is a legal process in which a custodial parent’s new spouse can adopt that parent’s child. You’ll likely find stepparent adoption in cases where the child’s biological parent is unidentified, out of their life, or consents to the adoption. After the court finalizes the adoption, the new spouse will retain the same responsibilities and rights as a biological parent.

Second Parent Adoption

Similar to stepparent adoption, second parent adoption grants an unrelated parent to adopt a child without taking away parental rights from a custodial parent. However, unlike stepparent adoption, the couple involved in the adoption does not need to be married. It’s important to remember that not all states will allow second parent adoption.

International or Domestic Adoption

This is the most common form of adoption. It allows a couple, or single parent, to adopt a child in need from another country or the United States.

All Types of Adoption Require Consent

No matter the type of adoption process that best fits your needs, they all require consent from the child’s biological parents. The only time consent is not needed is when the court legally revokes parental rights for some reason, such as neglect or abuse.

Since parental consent is often an emotional step in the adoption process, it can also be highly complicated. Many states will even grant biological parents the right to revoke their consent up to three months from signing away their rights. Furthermore, most states also mandate that parents must wait to consent to an adoption until the child is born.

You Must Complete a Home Study

Before adopting a child, you will need to complete a home study. This home study will educate and evaluate your adoptive family in order to ensure that the adoption will meet the child’s best interest. Often, a social worker or state agent will conduct the home study. You will need to provide the following information during the study:

  • Your consent to undergo a federal background check
  • Information that proves financial stability
  • Your family’s medical history
  • Your birth certificate
  • Any personal references

The home study representative must also conduct a visit to your home. During this visit, the representative will make sure that your home is ready to adopt to a child. Keep in mind that the whole home study adoption process can take an entire year to complete.

What Is the Legal Process of Adoption?

During the adoption process you must obtain court approval before it can be finalized. You will need to submit a petition to the court for adoption. You must all pay any filing fees and participate in a hearing process before a judge. At your hearing, the residing judge will determine if you fit all the state requirements. Below is a description of the hearing process:

Step 1: Notice

You need to give notice of the hearing to everybody directly involved in the child’s life. This can include the child’s biological parents, adoption agency, or legal guardian.

Step 2: Petition for Adoption

With your adoption agency, your adoption petition will include:

  • Basic information of all parties involved
  • Legal reason for the termination of the biological parent’s rights
  • A statement indicating the adoption serves the best interests of the child
  • A statement that you understand your rights and duties as a parent

Step 3: the Hearing

During your hearing the judge will ask you under oath if you understand the impact of your adoption. If the judge feels you fit state requirements and that the adoption served the child’s best interest, then the court will grant your adoption.

Speak to a Family Law Attorney Today

To learn more about the adoption process, talk to a family law attorney at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.