The final stage of the adoption process is adoption finalization in Utah. Completing this step confirms your child as a legal and permanent part of your family and grants you legal parental rights.
Adoption finalization typically occurs at least six months after you’ve been placed with your child. Prior to receiving your child’s final decree of adoption at the adoption finalization hearing in Utah, there are several steps that must happen first:
Your child’s biological parents will need to terminate their legal parental rights in accordance with Utah adoption consent laws. This can happen no sooner than 24 hours following the birth of their child.
If adopting across state lines, you’ll need to complete the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) prior to returning home to Utah with your child.
If adopting a child of native heritage, you must complete the adoption according to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
Complete all post-placement requirements under the supervision and guidance of your Utah-licensed home study professional.
After meeting these requirements, your Utah adoption attorney will contact you to schedule your UT adoption finalization hearing. This usually takes place at least six months after placement occurs in your local district court, which maintains jurisdiction over adoption matters in Utah.
Utah adoption finalization hearings are typically brief, lasting only about 20 to 60 minutes. At the hearing, the judge will issue the final decree of adoption, which signifies the completion of your child’s adoption process and confirms their legal place in your family.
The events in the average Utah adoption finalization hearing include:
The adoptive family being sworn in before the court.
The judge asking the adoptive family about why they chose to adopt and if they’re able to give their child a good home.
The judge asking the adoption attorney or social worker a few questions about the adoption process.
The final decree of adoption being signed.
The final decree of adoption in Utah signifies that your child’s adoption is complete and you have been granted legal parental rights. For many adoptive families, their child’s adoption finalization is a chance to celebrate and commemorate the moment you officially become a family with photos, a party or by spending time with your child’s birth family.
With the Utah adoption finalization process officially completed, you can now file for your child’s amended birth certificate and social security card.
Although the adoption process legally ends with finalization, adoption is an ongoing journey for everyone involved. Continuing to talk about and explore adoption as a family is an important way to grow closer together.
Any time you have questions, need post-adoption support, need help facilitating communication with birth family, or anything else, you can always call American Adoptions.
Contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more about how to finalize an adoption in Utah now, or request free adoption information online.
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