Find out more about the different kinds of adoptions and the steps you need to take for each of them.
Types of Adoption
Before beginning the adoption process, you should get familiar with the different kinds of adoptions. For a more in-depth look at kinds of adoption, keep reading this post concerning kinds of adoption.
Stepparent adoptions are a court procedure that enables a custodial parent’s new spouse to legally adopt that parent’s child. Stepparent adoption is generally used when the child’s other biological parent is either inaccessible, out of the child’s life, agrees to the adoption, or does not have parental rights (because of abuse, abandonment, or neglect.) After the court finished the adoption, that spouse has all the same responsibilities and rights that their biological parent has regarding the child.
Second Parent Adoption
Second parent adoption was favorable among same-sex couples prior to the United States Supreme Court issuing its decision legalizing same-sex marriages. These adoptions are like stepparent adoption since it enables an un-related parent to adopt the child without the custodial parent relinquishing their parental rights, but dissimilar stepparent adoptions, the couple does not need to be married legally. Not all states enable second-parent adoptions, so certify with an attorney prior to starting the process.
Domestic or International Adoption
The most general type of adoption in which a couple—or single parent—choosing to adopt a child in need from the US or another country.
Each Adoption Has One Thing in Common: Consent
Even though it might seem like adoptions are fundamentally about the adoptive child and potential family, the birth parents have an important role. Parental rights are several of the most highly safeguarded legal rights. For adoptions to be legal, the birth parents are required to consent to permanently relinquish (end) their parental rights. The only time parental consent is not required is when a court has already taken away parental rights for other reasons, such abuse or abandonment, following a court hearing.
Consent might be the most emotional and complex step in the process of adoptions. A lot states necessitate parents to wait until the child is born prior to consenting to the adoption, meaning they could change their mind at any time prior to them signing the official consent paperwork. Other states allow biological parents to consent prior to the child being born but require the parent’s to confirm the approval prior to the adoption can proceeds.
Acquiring consent from the child’s biological parents can be a convoluted process. Actually, many states enable biological parents to rescind their consent for up to 3 months following them signing away their rights, meaning the new-adoptive parents might have to return the child in which they have formed an emotional bond. Not only is adoption difficult for biological parents, but it’s also a life-altering event for the children. Since removing a child from a potential adoptive family might be harmful to the child and the adoptive family, many states necessitate biological parents to go through counseling before enabling them to consent to adoption.
State’s vary widely on when birth parents are able to give consent, so you are going to want to check your state laws, get a hold of an adoption agency, and/or meet with an attorney that specializes in adoptions.
The Home Study
Every parent is required to complete a home study prior to adopting a child. A home study educates and assesses the adoptive family to make sure the adoption is in the best interest of the child. Usually, a licensed case worker or another state agent is going to complete the study. The representative is going to request a considerable amount of information from the family, like:
- The agreement to perform a federal criminal background check
- detailed documents to demonstrate financial consistency
- medical questions from the family
- birth certificates
- marriage license (when applicable)
- child abuse clearings, and
- personal references.
Your home study representative is going to also meet with you at your house on at a minimum of one occasion. The intent of the visit is to guarantee that your house, and everybody living in it, are prepared to welcome a child and that you are ready and suitable to parent. The complete home study process might take as few as a couple of months or might take up to a year to finish.
Although the home study representative has the power to write a negative or positive review, it’s the court that makes a final decision concerning your ability to adopt. If you’re unhappy with the outcome of your home study, you can appeal it through the courts. Many states enable parents to file a separate appeal, whereas others make it a part of the process.
Before the adoption hearing takes place, the adoptive parents are required to provide notice of the hearing to anyone involved legally in the child’s life.
The Legal Process
Irrespective of the kind of adoption—if it’s independent, using an agency, or step-parent—every case is required to receive court approval before the adoption can turn final. The adoptive parents are required submit a petition for adoption within the court, pay the filing costs, and go through the hearing process in court, in front of a judge. The intent of the hearing is for the judge to confirm that the adoptive parents fulfill all state requirements, which shouldn’t be a complicated process when the parents acquired the necessary information during the adoption process.
Step One: Notice
Prior to the adoption hearing taking place, the adoptive parents are required to provide notice of the hearing to anyone involved legally in the child’s life. In a lot of cases, you are required to give notice to the biological parents of the child, legal guardian(s), adoption agency, and in some situations, the adoptive child (subject to the age.) Verify with your adoption representative or attorney to discover your state’s particular notice requirements.
Step Two: The Adoption Request
You are going to work with your adoption agency or attorney to finish the adoption petition. The petition typically includes:
- names, residences ages of the adoptive parents, the child, and the biological parents
- a declaration that the adoptive parents comprehend their rights and duties
- the legal reason for ending the biological parent’s rights
- the relationship among the adoptive parents and child (like a non-relative or stepparent)
- a declaration that the adoptive parents are the best caretakers for the child, and
- a declaration that the adoption is in the best interest of the child.
It’s vital to include a copy of the biological parent’s written agreement to the adoption with your request. When the court unintentionally ended parental rights, you are going to need to add a copy of the court order. In closing, in a lot of cases, the adoptive parents wish to change the child’s name, which can be accomplished by filing a petition for a name change with your adoption request.
The Final Step: The Hearing
In a lot of cases, the court hearing is a straightforward procedure, but it can be a thrilling and life-changing day for the new family. The judge is going to ask the soon to be parents, under oath, if they comprehend the effect of the adoption, comprising of their rights to bring up and responsibilities for supporting the child. When the court discovers that the adoption is in the best interest of the child, the judge is going to sign the adoption decree, and when needed, a decree for a change of name. If you have questions concerning adopting a child, you should need to get a hold of a local adoption attorney.
Melissa Heinig, A. (2022, July 12). Adoption procedures. www.nolo.com. Retrieved September 12, 2022, from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/adoption-procedures-30201.html
Adoption Lawyer in Arizona
Have questions about adoptions in Arizona? Speak with our Adoption Attorney today! An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.