“I want to adopt a baby!” Looking to adopt a baby in Georgia is a wonderful and mature decision that allows for hopeful parents to add to their family. Adopting a newborn baby in Georgia takes time, as do most adoptions. There are several steps to be completed. With each checkmark comes a sigh of relief and maybe a bit of anticipation for the next step until you legally becoming parent/s. The following lay out the general guidelines for how to adopt a baby in Georgia.
There are certain state-specific requirements that must be met per Georgia law to adopt a baby in Georgia. The following criteria must be met:
Be at least 25 years old or married and living with your spouse
Be at least 10 years older than the child you are adopting
Be a resident of Georgia for at least six months
Be financially, physically and mentally able to have permanent custody of the child
If you are married, you must file to adopt jointly. In a stepparent adoption, the stepparent’s spouse does not need to join in the adoption petition.
You can find more detailed information regarding adopting a child in Georgia here.
“I want to adopt a child in Georgia.” Congratulations, it’s time for the first step in the process. Determining what type of adoption you desire is the first step in the adoption process for potential adoptive parents. There are a few options that are available to you:
Adopt an infant or an older child.
Adopt baby internationally or domestically.
Have various levels of contact with the birth parents: open, semi-open or closed.
Adopt through a private agency or through the state foster system.
There are so many adoption agencies and adoption professional available in Georgia that trying to sift through them may feel overwhelming at times. However, it is crucial to find the right agency for you since adoption is a lifelong decision that needs to be handled with care and responsibility. Consider some of the following factors when it comes to choosing an adoption professional:
Does the adoption professional facilitate the type of Georgia infant adoption or child adoption that you are looking for?
Does the adoption professional offer guidance and mediation for pre- and post-placement communication with prospective birth parents?
Look at the costs associated with the adoption professional, find out the breakdown on costs for services, and compare it to other agencies and agency standards. Watch out for hidden fees and anything that seems out of the ordinary.
Find out how long the professional’s estimated wait time is, along with when your adoptive family profile will begin to be shown to birth mothers. It’s important to understand long-term timeframes and that expectations be made clear.
If adoption is truly in your heart, and you believe that the right child is out there for you, then be sure to choose an agency that you trust to wisely guide you through the process and help you find the infant or child who may be calling for you.
Accurately finding a match for adoptive families and birth mothers goes much smoother when proper requirements are met, the first of which is to complete a home study. A home study may feel like you are sacrificing a level of your privacy, but this is what determines whether you can be an adoptive family or not, and it also gives your adoption professional an idea of what type of lifestyle you live to help them find an appropriate adoption opportunity for you.
Upon completion of an approved home study, a potential adoptive family will create a profile with the organization they have chosen as their adoption professional. This profile is what will be shown to potential birth mothers when they are screening potential families to adopt their unborn baby or child. It’s important that the profile be personable and honest, so that birth mothers can accurately know what to expect from each different adoptive family.
This step in the process can feel like it takes ages, or feel like it flies by rather quickly. Waiting to meet a prospective birth mother who has chosen your profile as one of her screened profiles requires much patience, but it’s worth it when there are babies for adoption available. Make sure that you are available to meet with potential birth mothers, and clear your schedule when you get that phone call, because your new baby might be right around the corner.
When meeting with potential birth parents, it is vital to be transparent and communicate the expectations you have of what your future might be like. Don’t be afraid to be open with her and let her know how excited you are that you are having this opportunity just to meet with her. Don’t put any pressure on her to commit, and be yourself. You will know her once you find her.
Once the potential birth mother has decided that you are the right match for her, and her baby has been born, the legal process can commence to go through the steps of finalizing the adoption. Every situation is different for every birth mother, so it is important to have an adoption lawyer or adoption attorney to consult with from the start (which American Adoptions will provide). It is at this point as well that the communication agreement, or post-placement agreement, is drawn up.
Finalization completes the process to adoption, and it’s time to enjoy life after placement. While you are raising your child, be mindful of the post-placement agreement, and be sure to follow up on your end of the agreement. Remain open and communicative with the birth mother as you progress through your relationship with her, and set boundaries and expectations as needed. Hopefully, she will be doing the same.
Infant adoption in Georgia is a process, but one that is worth the effort, time, money, and energy. Are you ready to take the next step? If so, give American Adoptions a call at 1-800-ADOPTION, and ask an agent how they can help you to have a successful Georgia baby adoption story.
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