Adoptions

Adoptions in Georgia

Adoption is a complex process and it is highly advised to seek a qualified attorney to help you. We understand the sensitive nature of family adoptions and you can rest assured that the Moore Law Firm will work tirelessly on your behalf.
When people think of adoption, they usually assume that it relates only to children who are wards of the state or newborns that are available to be adopted through an agency. By definition, an adoption is when a child is legally placed in the care of someone that is not the biological parent of the child.

Actually, there are many situations where family members of the children bring adoption procedures. Here is a list of links for more specific adoption situations:

Adoption of a child from state foster care programs

Adoption of a child by another family member

Adoption of a child by a stepparent

Adoption of a child through an adoption service

While there are many different scenarios for adoption, there are some things that are a consideration in all cases. For instance, will the adoption be an open adoption or closed adoption? In an open adoption, the biological parent retains some rights to make contact with the child in some limited capacity. Contact does not always equate to physical contact, but can include letters, pictures and possibly visitation depending on the situation. An open adoption does not give the biological parents input on matters or legal leverage regarding the child such as schools, activities of residency.

 

If you are considering an open adoption, there are many things to consider and a lawyer is highly recommended to help facilitate the process. Some of the major considerations are things like “How much contact can the biological parent(s) have?” or “What can I do if the contact arrangement is not working out or is harming the child?” These are important considerations and a good lawyer will always make contingencies for just such situations.

 

Most adoptions in the state of Georgia are “closed” adoptions if they are done with a foster child program or a private adoption agency. Note that Georgia does not allow adoption from any agency that is not recognized by the Department of Human Resources. A closed adoption means that the biological parents have given up all parental rights for the child as well as any visitation or contact. The names of the biological parents are then sealed away with the court documents and cannot be viewed without an order from the court.

 

There are some exceptions to viewing the sealed documents such as situations regarding health issues where genetic information is needed. An adopted child can ask to view the files later in life, but there usually must be an important need to view them. This can be done by filing a petition with the courts to open the sealed files. The state of Georgia has created a division that helps adopted children reunite with their parents called The Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry.

 

FAQ’s about Adoption

How do I adopt a child?

Well, there is no simple answer for this one. Adoption is a long process that can be difficult for some. But if you are serious about adopting a child, it is advised to have a lawyer help you through it. There are several types of adoption that you will want to consider.

Am I qualified to adopt a child?

In the state if Georgia, the adopting parent, or parents, must be 25 years old and at least ten years older than the child. If the adopting parents are married, the age requirement is reduced to 18, but both parties must agree to the adoption.  While the adoption experience differs between a private agency and Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS), the criteria for adoption, as well as the procedures, are similar.

 

You would first contact either agency and make the initial inquiry. Since private agencies may have different procedures from this point, we will focus on the steps set forth by the DHS. After the inquiry, they will set up an interview with one of their caseworkers to ask you a few questions.

 

Once you have been through the initial interview, they will have you attend an orientation to explain to you the process and requirements of adoption. There are still several steps before you will finally be allowed to adopt and you should enlist the advice and services of a good lawyer.

What are Private Adoptions?

A private or independent adoption is where the adoption is done without the aid of an agency. This is most common in situations where someone inside the family is adopting the child, such as a grandparent. This does not mean that the state will not be involved in the process.

What are Agency Adoptions?

An agency adoption can be done through the state or a private adoption agency. There are several guidelines on must consider when adopting in this manner and it is highly advised to enlist the services and advice of a lawyer to help you.

What are Stepparent Adoptions?

Stepparent adoptions are relatively common. The advantages of a stepparent adoption are the termination of parental rights of the other parent. Sometimes this can prove difficult if the other parent is either absent or disputes the adoption. But with the aid of the courts and a good attorney, it can be a simple undertaking.