You’ve decided to adopt. Whether you’re a couple looking for a way to expand your family or a step parent seeking parental rights over your partner’s child, the process for adoption can seem like an overwhelming procedure. Fortunately, no matter the case, the adoption process is pretty simple once you narrow down the specifics of what type of adoption is best for you.   

Domestic Vs International Adoptions

Individuals seeking to adopt a child who is not related to them will either decide between a domestic or international adoption. These individuals must be 18 years of age or older, or if they are a couple, must file for adoption jointly. 

Domestic adoptions are adoptions held within the borders of the United States. In these adoptions, the birth parents will decide which family they deem best fit for their child. Adoptive parents will meet with the birth parents, typically before the child is born, and discuss the type of environment the child will be raised in. Domestic adoptions can either be open or closed due to the birth parents residing within the United States. With closed adoptions, the birth parent and child have no contact, while in open adoptions the child and birth parent do have contact. Typically, it is beneficial for both parties if the adoption remains open. 

International adoptions are adoptions that happen between two different countries. These adoptions tend to take longer in the adoption process due to interactions between different government officials. These adoptions, although not always, tend to remain as closed due to difficulty with contact between countries.

Adoption Agencies

After deciding which adoption best suits you, the next step is to find an adoption agency to help further you along in the adoption process. Adoption agencies help assign an adoptive family with a mother who is seeking to put her child up for adoption. During this process, you will be required to partake in an Adoptive Home study which consist of 3 main things:

    • Document completion: These documents typically consist of background checks, job checks, confirming stable income, etc., to insure you have the necessities to care for a child
    • Home Inspection: Social workers or the adoption agency themselves will go to your residence and ensure that the space is livable and safe for the child
    • Interviews: Each family member will be asked to participate in an interview so agencies can see how family members feel about the adoption and what role they will possess with raising the child. 

After the child is born, the birth parents must then waive their rights as parents for you to obtain custody of the child. In the state of Louisiana, the mother can waive her rights three days after the birth if the adoptive family worked with an adoption agency. If the adoption is considered a private adoption (no adoption agency helped during the process), the birth mother can waive her rights five days after birth. 

Step-Parent/Intra Family Adoptions

Intra Family adoptions, also known as step-parent adoptions, happen when a relative is seeking to adopt another relative. An Intrafamily adoption allows a child’s grandparent, step-parent, close relative, or someone related to them in the 12th degree (1st cousin once removed), to adopt another family member. 

Intrafamily adoptions have some requirements that are not necessary during a Domestic or International adoptions. These requirements include:

    • Being related to the child by blood
    • The birth parent recognizing the adoptive parent as the child’s caregiver
    • The adoptive parent being over the age of 18
    • The adoptive parent has had legal or physical custody of the child for six months or longer
    • Birth parent gives up their parental rights

After background checks and home studies are completed, the adoptive parent can file a Petition for Adoption with the court.

Court Proceedings

With every adoption, you must file a Petition for Adoption with the court. This document will legally make you the adoptive parent of the child. Once the petition is filed, the court will inspect your adoption profile and the background checks previously given to guarantee that this child will be in safe hands. After all is completed and the court approves the adoption, congratulations! You’ve officially adopted a child!

The Law Office of Michael A. Rosenblatt provides guidance through this process, allowing clients to move forward with adoptions effortlessly.