Domestic adoption, or adoption where the birth parents, adoptive parents, and child all live in the same country, can be a long and complicated process. Luckily, we’re here to give you a little insight into the legal steps you will have to take to complete your adoption. Hopefully this knowledge will give you the information you need to make the best decision for you.
How to Get Started with Adoption
Before any legal procedures start, you will first need to decide how you want to go about adopting. Maybe you’re a birth mother who already has an adoptive family in mind and you just need someone to help you make the transition official? In that case, you can find an independent adoption attorney to help you out.
Once you’ve decided how you’re going to adopt, the legal process begins.
Steps of the Adoption Process
The order of these steps might be different for each person, and their length can vary widely depending on many different factors, but in general, here are the common steps to adoption.
Application. This applies to both birth mothers and adoptive families. You need to send an application to your agency of choice, giving some details about who you are, what you’re trying to do, and some other general information.
Home study. Once an adoptive family has been selected, most agencies require them to undergo a home study. This can last for several months, and it involves a social worker coming over to the adoptive family’s house and evaluating their ability to care for the new child. They’ll look at things like lifestyle, personality, finances, etc., in order to make the decision.
Training. In some cases, such as if an adoptive family is taking in a child with special needs, the agency will have them go through training to make sure they are ready to care for the child properly.
Placement and finalization. There will be a lot of paperwork that both the birth family and the adoptive family will have to fill out and sign before the adoption can be finalized. Generally, there will be no need for any kind of court appearances. Once all the paperwork has been completed, the baby will be released to the adoptive family.
Follow-up visits. Most agencies don’t just leave adoptive families alone once the baby has been placed. Typically, there will be regular check-ins for at least a few months after placement, to make sure the baby is still being cared for properly and that the adoptive family is doing okay.
This a highly simplified version of the adoption process, but you can generally expect that something akin to these steps will be followed.