The last step in the Arizona adoption process is adoption finalization. Once you have completed all the necessary steps, your child is officially a legal and permanent member of your family. It’s time to celebrate!
Before Arizona adoption finalization can occur, the final items need to be completed:
The birth parents have consented to the termination of their parental rights. In Arizona, consent may be given 72 hours after the birth of the child. All consent must be in writing, witnessed by two or more credible witnesses who are at least 18 years old. Consent must be obtained from:
the birth or adoptive mother
the father if he was married to the mother at the time of conception, is the adoptive father, or has otherwise established paternity
any guardian of the child or the agency that has been given the child to place for adoption
the guardian of an adult parent if one has been appointed
If applicable, you’ve received clearance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and/or the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
Your Arizona home study professional has completed the required number of post-placement in-home visits with your family — once within 30 days of placement, then once every three months until the adoption is finalized.
An adoption finalization hearing will be scheduled about six months after the initial placement of your child. This will take place in your local court. Your adoption attorney and American Adoptions adoption specialist will let you know when and where the hearing will take place.
At the adoption finalization hearing, you will be given permanent, legal custody of your child when the judge issues the final decree of adoption. This is the final step in the Arizona adoption process, and a big cause for celebration. Families often invite extended family and friends to the hearing, and have someone photograph the event.
The AZ adoption finalization hearing typically lasts only 30 to 60 minutes. Here is what you can typically expect at your hearing:
Your family, adoption attorney and sometimes your social worker will be sworn in before the judge
You will be asked some identification questions, along with questions about why you want to adopt, how your family is adjusting to the new member, and how you will continue to provide a loving, safe home for this child
The judge concludes with any final statements or questions for you or your social worker, then signs the final decree of adoption
If you’d like, your family and the judge may take a group photo with the final decree of adoption
Now your child’s adoption is officially finalized and the AZ adoption process is completed.
After adoption finalization, you will want to get a new social security number and amended birth certificate for your child — one that recognizes the child’s new last name. Your American Adoptions specialist will continue to be available as a resource for information and support. They can also facilitate ongoing communication between you and your child’s birth family.
For additional information about how to finalize an adoption in Arizona, call 1-800-ADOPTION for free information.
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