How to Adopt a Baby in Alabama
What You Need to Know for an Alabama Adoption
Are you considering adopting a baby in Alabama?
Here are the six steps of how to adopt through American Adoptions in Alabama:
Step 1: Decide if You Are Ready to Commit to Adoption
The Alabama adoption process is one of the many ways to become a family. However, it is not the right way for everyone.
While all parents face similar highs and lows, each family is unique, with its own set of ups and downs. Being adoptive parents brings a whole new set of challenges that biological parents won’t have. However, the end result is worth the challenges in both situations — you get to raise and love a child. Before you begin the adoption process, you need to be fully committed to the process of adopting a child in Alabama.
Adoptive parents may have already faced loss and frustration due to infertility. They may have jealous feelings toward others who are able to conceive and carry a child. Regardless of the circumstances, you need to have your feelings recognized and addressed before you begin the adoption process in Alabama.
Step 2: Understand Your Options and Alabama Adoption Requirements
If you are committed to adoption in Alabama, the next step in the AL adoption process is to decide which type of adoption you want to pursue. While American Adoptions specializes in domestic infant adoption in Alabama and across the U.S., there are three main ways to adopt children in Alabama. Common types are:
Domestic Agency Adoption
U.S. adoption agencies (also known as domestic adoption agencies) provide all services needed to complete an adoption. This includes professional counseling for pregnant women, birth parents and adoptive parents; financial protection for adoptive parents; and referrals to legal and home study professionals for additional services. Working with a full-service agency, like American Adoptions, gives you the ability to work with one adoption professional to complete all steps necessary for an infant adoption in Alabama.
Children of any age, from infant to teenager, can be adopted internationally. Regulations and costs vary based on the country you choose to adopt from, as well as which international adoption agency you choose to work with in Alabama. Families adopting internationally should be prepared to provide their child with connections to their ethnic and cultural heritage. Read more about international adoption in Alabama here.
Foster Care Adoption
Most children placed in Alabama’s foster care system are reunited with their biological family. However, about 20 percent of children in foster care become eligible for adoption in Alabama. Many of these children are older, part of a sibling group, or have additional needs. If you are comfortable adopting children with “special needs”, foster-to-adopt may be something to consider. Learn more about foster care and adoption in Alabama here.
Step 3: Choose Your Adoption Professional
Choosing your adoption professional may be the most important decision you make during the adoption process in Alabama. Your adoption professional will define the quality of adoption experience you’ll have. It is vital that you do research and ask questions before choosing an adoption professional in Alabama.
Some things to consider:
- Don’t choose an adoption professionals based on price. Agencies offer varying levels of services and financial safety, so working with a less expensive agency may not provide you the same quality of service. This could put you at risk financially and emotionally.
- Pursuing adoption without an agency in Alabama may put you in jeopardy of adoption fraud and financial loss. The experience of an adoption specialist will protect you from this type of situation.
- Talk to other families about their experience with the adoption agency.
The most common types of adoption professionals include:
- Adoption facilitators: Potential adopting parents and birth parents may choose to work with an adoption facilitator to find an adoption opportunity. However, it’s important to be aware of the risks of working with this type of professional. In fact, in some states, adoption facilitators are entirely illegal for predatory tactics.
- Adoption law firms: These groups of adoption attorneys may assist and participate in direct adoption placements. Every adoptive family should work with an adoption attorney in Alabama to ensure their process is completed legally; if you are also working with an adoption agency, like American Adoptions, your adoption specialist can refer you to an appropriate adoption attorney or law firm.
- Adoption law centers: Adoption law centers should not be confused with adoption law firms. These centers are usually not regularly reviewed, and may not be properly certified. This could put birth and adoptive families at risk.
- Local/regional adoption agencies: These are licensed and regulated organizations that work with birth families and adoptive families that reside within a limited geographic area. This may make for longer wait times to adopt a child from Alabama, but does sometimes allow for more in-person interaction.
- National adoption agencies: These agencies are licensed, reviewed and regulated by multiple states. They work with birth and adoptive families across all 50 states. Often, these agencies have a shorter wait time for adopting an infant and lower financial risk. American Adoptions is an example of just such an agency.
It is important to learn about all aspects of the different Alabama adoption professionals in order to make the best decision for your family.
Step 4: Become a Waiting Adoptive Family
Once you have determined what type of adoption you’d like to pursue and what adoption professional you’d like to work with, you can begin to envision how you’d like your adoption to proceed. When you work with American Adoptions in Alabama, you will complete an Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ), so you can be connected with expectant mothers who have a similar vision for their adoption.
In addition, you will create an adoptive family profile for expectant mothers to review. You will also complete your Alabama adoption home study, take adoption training classes for the state of Alabama, and more.
Step 5: Find an Adoption Opportunity
Finding an infant adoption opportunity with a birth mother is one of the most emotional parts of the adoption process. Entering into an adoption opportunity through private domestic adoption can take a few weeks or a few months after expectant parents view your adoption profile. Generally, 75 percent of American Adoptions’ active waiting families are placed with a child within 1 to 12 months. Ultimately, a family’s adoption wait time comes down to the birth mother’s individual preference.
Once a match is made, the potential birth parents and the prospective adoptive family will get to know each other to whatever extent both parties want. American Adoptions specialists can help facilitate the communication between the two families. This will help ease awkwardness and hopefully build a strong relationship to last a lifetime.
Step 6: Legally Finalize Your Adoption
In Alabama, consent to adoption by the birth mother may be given at any time. Once signed, it may be withdrawn five days after birth or within five days of signing, whichever comes last. The consent must be in writing, signed by the person consenting. If consent is given before the child’s birth, it must be signed before a judge.
If the adoption takes place outside of Alabama, you will need to follow the travel guidelines established by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). This will not affect you if you reside in Alabama and adopt a child in Alabama.
After placement, your Alabama home study professional will arrange to come back for the post-placement in-home visits that must occur before your adoption is finalized in court. Your Alabama adoption specialist will visit within 45 days of placement. This is to ensure that everyone is adjusting well to the new family arrangement.
An adoption finalization hearing will be scheduled approximately three months after the initial placement of your child. This is when the judge reviews your adoption and officially gives you parental rights. This will take place in the Probate Court, and an adoption attorney is not always required to attend.
Read more about how to finalize your adoption in Alabama here.
Step 7: Adapt to Post-Placement Life
Once your Alabama child adoption is finalized, the lifelong journey for your family and the birth family is just beginning. Whenever possible, open adoptions are always encouraged, as studies show there are many benefits to be gained by everyone involved, especially the adopted child.
The amount of communication between birth and adoptive families is established in the adoption plan. This can be in the form of letters, emails, calls or visits. The frequency may be often or occasional. It is up to the parties involved. American Adoptions can continue to facilitate post-placement contact for 18 years following your adoption.
For adoptive families, this is also the time to help your child understand that their adoption is a wonderful part of their history, and they should feel free to ask any questions they may have. Adoptive families can also find ways to incorporate their child’s heritage into their lives and celebrate their identity.
Are you ready to begin the process to adopt Alabama kids? Call 1-800-ADOPTION now or request free information online.
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