Preparing for a child is an exciting time, but it can also come with stress and worry. When you choose adoption to grow your family, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the rules, regulations, and red tape that comes before you can bring your child home.
Even when everything goes perfectly, adoption takes time. Any errors in the process can cause extra delays. To make the process as smooth as possible, you can work with an experienced family attorney who understands the laws and procedures that keep an adoption on track. A knowledgeable Sandy Springs adoption lawyer can give you the support you need to secure your adoption and help you bring your child home.
Placing a child with an adoptive family is a delicate process. The state wants to ensure that it is setting families up for success when it authorizes adoptions. As such, Georgia residents who want to adopt a child must meet certain requirements.
Age is an important factor–you must either be at least 21 years old or, if you are between 18 and 20, married and living with your spouse. You also need to be at least 10 years older than the child you would like to adopt unless you are a stepparent or other relative who is adopting a family member. Children who are 14 years old or older need to give their consent before they will be adopted.
To adopt in Sandy Springs, you need to be a “bona fide resident” of Georgia. This means you have lived in Georgia as your primary home for at least six months before you start the legal adoption process.
You also must be able to permanently care for the child you adopt physically, mentally, and financially.
Single people may apply for adoption. Married couples must both be named on the paperwork unless a stepparent is adopting their spouse’s children. In those cases, only the stepparent needs to apply for the adoption. If the child’s other biological parent is still living, they will need to sign away their parental rights before the stepparent can adopt the child.
Our Sandy Springs attorneys can help you understand the requirements for adoption and prove that you meet these necessary qualifications so that you can begin your adoption process.
You can take several avenues when choosing to adopt a child in Georgia. You can work with a private agency, the Department of Human Services Division of Families and Children Services (DFCS), or work independently with the birth parents. Regardless of which path you choose, having your own Sandy Springs adoption attorney can help protect your interests during the process.
Private agencies must be properly licensed and follow the requirements of the state. This includes hosting several stages of orientation and training for prospective parents, conducting home studies, and providing pre-adoption services to birth parents and adoptive parents.
While there may be some variations in how an adoption takes place based on the circumstances of each case, DFCS has outlined the most common procedures for a Georgia adoption through their agency:
Once the court finalizes the adoption petition, the adoption is official.
Independent adoptions take place without DFCS or private agency involvement. Prospective parents will still need to file an Adoption Petition with the state, which will then review the petition and determine whether the adoption can be finalized.
Regardless of how you choose to grow your family, there are many factors to consider and preparations to be made. When you choose adoption, those logistics require significant legal knowledge. A Sandy Springs adoption lawyer from our firm can help you through every step of the adoption process so that your family is protected and you can focus on welcoming your new child. Call our team today to schedule a consultation.