Adoption is the creation by law of the relationship of parent and child between two individuals. Adoption terminates the relationship and all rights and responsibilities previously existing between the child and it’s natural parents. The adoption process is closely regulated by the state.
The primary purpose of these regulations is to advance the welfare of minors by; (i) protecting minors from unnecessary separation from their original parents, (ii) facilitating the adoption of minors in need of adoptive placement by persons who can give them love, care, security, and support, (iii) protecting minors from placement with adoptive parents unfit to have responsibility for their care and rearing, and (iv) assuring the finality of the adoption.
The secondary purposes are; (i) to protect biological parents from ill-advised decisions to relinquish a child or consent to the child’s adoption, (ii) to protect adoptive parents from assuming responsibility for a child about whose heredity or mental or physical condition they know nothing, (iii) to protect the privacy of the parties to the adoption, and (iv) to discourage unlawful trafficking in minors and other unlawful placement activities.
As your lawyer, it is my responsibility to see that the statutory requirements for adoptive placements are strictly complied with. Being sure that my clients are fully informed about and understand the adoption process is an essential part of this process.
There are various types of Adoption; a private adoption is where an adoptive couple is working on a private adoption; an interstate adoption is where an adoptive couple is working with a birth mother on an interstate adoption; an agency adoption is where an adoptive couple is working with an in-state or an out-of-state adoption agency to locate a baby. There are also relative adoptions and step-parent adoptions.
Most prospective adoptive parents locate children available for adoption through:
An approved Home Study is required in all adoptive placements. It may be prepared by a licensed child placement agency for a fee. The home study should be completed prior to the placement of the child with the couple or as soon as possible once a baby is placed with you by a birthmother. The approved home study will be filed with the Court and reviewed by the Judge. The home study will address some of the following issues in addition to the agency requirements:
Obtain and file the necessary documents. The first step is to obtain Consents from the biological parents. The mother will complete an Affidavit Regarding the Biological Father indicating the name, last known address and marital status of the parents. A petition will filed by the prospective adoptive parents seeking the court’s approval of the adoptive placement. The consents and affidavit will be filed with the petition. A copy of the background information sheets about the child’s health, social, educational and genetic history provided by the placement agency or parents and a copy of any court order or pleading concerning custody or visitation with the child will also be filed with the petition. Finally, a document will be filed with the petition identifying any individual whose consent may be required, but has not been obtained at the time of filing the petition.Once the petition is filed, notice of the petition will be served on any person whose consent was necessary but had not been obtained. The court may order the preparation and filing of a report by the agency that placed the child or that prepared the preplacement assessment or will appoint an independent adoption authority to do the post placement visit and file a Court Report. The report is to provide information to assist the court in determining whether the adoptive placement is in the best interest of the child and must be completed within 50 days of the receipt of the order. The petitioners must also file an affidavit accounting for any payment made in connection with the adoption.
Medical expenses incident to the birth of the child could be covered by your medical insurance policy. Check your policy for specific provisions and for coverage on the minor child. All medical expense deposits are due two (2) weeks prior to the birthmother’s due date. The medical expenses will be determined once it is known if the birthmother has insurance or is covered by medicaid.Generally, all legal expenses are the responsibility of the adopting parents. Legal expenses are reimbursable up to varying limits under some corporate benefits packages. There is also an IRS tax credit of up to $12,500 for adoption expenses.
Adoption arrangements which include plans for continuing contact between natural and adoptive parents or allow natural parents to have continuing contact with adopted children are called semi-open or open adoptions and must be agreed to by each party.There is now an Agreement that can be entered pursuant to the provisions of O.C.G.A. Section 19-8-27 and can be litigated if it is not upheld. But it should not be a precondition to the adoptive placement. The consent of the biological parents must be unconditional. Such arrangements also will not invalidate an adoptive placement. Generally, the biological parents become legal strangers to the child once the adoption is final. They have no legal right to any further contact. They may be treated just like any other stranger. They are subject to civil and criminal laws which limit unwanted intrusions.