You probably already know that adoption is a method of adding to your family by providing a safe and nurturing home to a child in need, but what does it mean from a legal standpoint? In the eyes of Georgia state law, any children adopted into your family gain the same rights and legal standing that they would have if they had been born into it.
The government of the State of Georgia details a seven-step process involved in adopting a child. Your individual process may vary slightly depending on your particular circumstances, but you can generally expect the adoption process to progress in the following manner.
Once you have made the decision to adopt, the first step is to place a phone call to the Division of Family and Children Services. This allows you to set up an informational session with the DFC, which is the second step.
The informational session allows you and the DFC to learn about each other in the interest of making the experience successful for all parties. During this session, you will find out about the requirements to adopt and determine whether you meet them. You will also learn about the process in more detail. You may see photos of children who are available to adopt. In 2016, there were 1,034 children adopted from the state of Georgia.
The informational session initiates a preparatory phase in the process, so the next steps involve evaluation and training. Evaluation involves background checks, interviews and home visits from a case manager. Training involves a total of 24 hours of preparatory classes.
During the pre-placement step, there are opportunities available for you to take an active role in identifying a child that you may wish to adopt:
- Match meetings
- Adoption parties
- Online review
Identifying a child on your own can help the process go more quickly.
Once you have identified a child, the next step is to make an inquiry. If you do not actively seek out a child, you wait for someone else to select you for consideration. You will likely have the opportunity to meet with the child at least once after identification takes place in one way or another. Once everyone is in agreement about the match, the placement step concludes when you sign a placement agreement.
The final step in the process of adopting a child in Georgia is the court hearing during which finalization takes place.
The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.