Whether to adopt a child is one of the biggest decisions one could ever make. Whether through an agency, foster care or any other means, adoption is never a simple and clear-cut process. There are several types of adoption and it is important to understand the process and laws that apply for your specific situation. If are unsure about the adoption process or where to begin, our team of dedicated family attorneys may be able to help you.
Adoption is the process of making a child a legal member of your family. No matter what type of adoption you are considering it is a good idea to consult with an Alpharetta adoption lawyer.
There are several options available for families. An adoption lawyer in Alpharetta may be able to help someone decide which type of adoption is right for them. Some of the most common types of adoption include:
Adoption agencies include both public and private agencies that are licensed to place children with adoptive parents. The agencies work to place children in need of a permanent home with adoptive families.
Independent adoptions are direct arrangements between the birth parent and the adoptive parents. Independent adoptions can either be “open” or “closed.” In an open adoption, the biological parents maintain some form of contact with the adopted child and the child’s adoptive family.
When a parent’s new spouse adopts their child from a previous partner, it is known as a stepparent adoption. These adoptions can be relatively simple (though no adoption is truly simple) if both of the child’s biological parents consent. The process becomes much more complicated if one parent does not consent or cannot be located to give their consent.
When a child’s parents are deceased, incapacitated, or unable to care for their child the law favors adoption by a relative. Relative adoptions occur when a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other family member adopts the child as their own.
Adoption laws vary from state to state but some general principles always apply. Legally, adoption severs the relationship of one or both of the child’s biological and creates parental rights and obligations for the adoptive parents. An Alpharetta adoption lawyer could help explain the adoption laws that apply to one’s specific situation.
While some laws apply across all states, Georgia has its own laws that apply to adoption. In Georgia, an adoptive parent must meet several criteria, including:
There are also background checks and home visits that may be required before an adoption can be finalized.
The biggest hurdle to overcome before being placed with an adoptive child is the adoption home study. You will have a full physical, including a drug screen, and have to dig out old tax returns and income information. You have to give fingerprints for federal and state criminal records checks. Friends have to write references. It is very thorough and can feel invasive.
A social worker, who is conducting the home study, will interview you and any other household members. This study has a lot of educational benefits. It helps many parents understand things about adopting a child that they hadn’t even thought about when they started the process.
For example, a very high percentage of children who are placed for adoption have been exposed to drug and alcohol use in utero, as well as the use of cigarettes or marijuana. When you go through your home study process, you receive a list of potential exposures and prenatal care as well as the race, gender, family background. This list gives you an opportunity to see what you’re open to.
A big issue is alcohol syndrome, and some parents needs help understanding the effects of that. Fetal alcohol syndrome has more long-lasting effects than the consumption of meth or other drugs during pregnancy. Adoptive parents must decide for themselves whether they are open to that or any other health issues.
A good social worker won’t judge you because you really want to adopt a certain gender or race. There’s a lot to think about in terms of the race of an adoptive child. For example, parents will discuss with a social worker what it means to be white parents adopting a minority child. The social worker wants to make sure that adoptive parents are educated and understand what they might be getting themselves into.
After a child is placed with you, there will be post-adoption visits to see how your family is adjusting. How many post-adoption visits will depend on both the state that you’re adopting from as well as the agency that you’re using. Once those are finished, you may finalize the adoption.
There are several types of adoption and each case its own legal issues. Our dedicated team of attorneys could help you understand the types of adoption and what course of action is right for you. If you are considering adopting, consult with an Alpharetta adoption lawyer to learn more about the process.