The last legal step of the adoption process is adoption finalization in Oklahoma. The completion of this stage in the adoption process signifies that your child is a legally permanent member of your family.
But before you receive your child’s final decree of adoption at their adoption finalization hearing in Oklahoma, there are a number of things that will need to happen first:
Your child’s biological parents will need to terminate their legal parental rights in accordance with Oklahoma adoption consent laws, which state that they must issue their consent in writing before a judge.
If applicable, you may need to adhere to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and/or the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) processes before you can return home to Oklahoma with your child.
You’ll need to complete all post-placement requirements with your Oklahoma-licensed home study provider.
Only once all of these requirements are met will your OK adoption attorney talk to you about scheduling your Oklahoma adoption finalization hearing. This typically occurs several months after placement in your local district court, which maintains jurisdiction over adoptions in Oklahoma.
Most Oklahoma adoption finalization hearings last only 20 to 60 minutes. Then, the judge issues the final decree of adoption, formally completing your child’s adoption and cementing their legal status as your child.
The typical Oklahoma adoption finalization hearing usually goes like this:
You’ll be sworn in before the court.
The judge may ask you about your desire to adopt and/or your ability to provide your child with a good home.
The judge may also ask your adoption attorney or social work some questions about the adoption process.
The judge will sign the final decree of adoption.
Once you’ve secured a final decree of adoption in Oklahoma, your child’s adoption is complete. Many adoptive families use their child’s adoption finalization as an opportunity to celebrate the adoption and officially welcome their child into their lives. Take the opportunity to remember the moment with a family photo, a party, or a shared meal with your child’s birth family.
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for, so it’s nice to recognize it!
Now that you’ve complete your Oklahoma adoption finalization process, you’ll be able to file for your child’s amended birth certificate and social security card.
But even though the adoption process is technically over, adoption is a lifelong process for all parties. Maintaining a dialogue about adoption in your family is a great way to continue to grow together and explore how adoption has played a role in your lives.
You can always contact American Adoptions if you have any questions, if you need post-placement support, if you need help facilitating post-adoption communication with your child’s birth family, or anything else.
Learn more about how to finalize an adoption in Oklahoma now by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or by requesting information online.
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