How to Finalize Your Adoption in Alabama
Complete Your AL Adoption
Adoption finalization is the last step in the Alabama adoption process. Once you have completed all the necessary steps, it is time to celebrate your child becoming a legal and permanent member of your family.
Because this is such a big step in the adoption process, it's important that you feel prepared. You can reach out to one of our adoption specialists to get an idea of what to expect from your finalization process.
The final decree of adoption in Alabama can only be issued when these items are completed:
- The birth parents have consented to the termination of their parental rights. In Alabama, consent may be given at any time. Once signed, this consent can be withdrawn within five days of the child’s birth or five days of the signing, whichever happened last. All consent must be in writing, indicating the parent is voluntarily giving up their parental rights. Consent must be obtained from:
- the birth or adoptive mother
- the presumed father if he was married to the mother before the child’s birth, at the time of the child’s birth, or after the child’s birth and he agreed to have his name listed as the father on the child’s birth certificate
- any guardian of the child or the agency that has been given the child to place for adoption
- the putative father, if he responds to the notice of the adoption proceedings within 30 days
- You’ve received clearance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and/or the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), if applicable.
- You have completed the required post-placement in-home visits with your Alabama home study professional within 45 days of placement. Your home study professional must observe the child and interview the parents in the home during this visit.
About 60 days after the initial placement of your child, an Alabama adoption finalization hearing will be scheduled. This will take place in your local county probate court. Your adoption attorney and American Adoptions adoption specialist will coordinate the date and location of this hearing.
What Can You Expect at Your Alabama Adoption Finalization Hearing
At the Alabama adoption finalization hearing, the judge issues the final decree of adoption and you will be given permanent, legal custody of your child. This is a major cause for celebration, as this is the final step in the Alabama adoption process. Families often invite extended family and friends to the hearing and have someone photograph the event.
The AL adoption finalization hearing is brief, typically lasting only 30 to 60 minutes. Here is what you can usually expect at your hearing:
- Your family, adoption attorney and sometimes your social worker will be sworn in before the judge
- You will be asked to introduce yourself and answer questions about why you chose adoption and how you will continue to provide a loving, safe home for this child
- After concluding with any final statements or questions for you or your social worker, the judge 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 Alabama adoption process is completed.
After the Final Decree of Adoption is Issued in Alabama
You will want to apply for 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 the adoption process in Alabama, call 1-800-ADOPTION for free information.
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