Adoption Finalization in Alaska
How to Receive Your Final Decree of Adoption in AK
The moment when you hold your child for the first time is difficult to describe.
You’ve had a long journey. The adoption process can be difficult, and it is certainly time-consuming. After all of the paperwork, the phone calls, the home study and the long wait, your baby is finally in your arms. The joy that many adoptive parents experience in this moment is truly life-changing.
You may be surprised to hear that this isn’t the end of your adoption process. After your baby is placed in your arms, you still need to receive a final decree of adoption in Alaska. Adoption finalization in Alaska is something that most hopeful adoptive parents don’t know much about, but it’s an important part of the adoption process.
Whether you are considering adoption or already in the adoption process, this guide to adoption finalization in Alaska will help you understand what it takes to receive the final decree of adoption.
How do I Receive My Final Decree of Adoption in Alaska?
Placement can seem so momentous that it’s hard to return to the adoption process checklist, but there are still a few boxes that need to be checked off for your adoption finalization in Alaska. You will be guided through these steps by your adoption specialist and your adoption attorney, so there’s no need to feel stressed about receiving your final decree of adoption in Alaska.
Step 1: Post-Placement Visits
Before you are placed with your child, you will have already completed your adoption home study. This is a review of your home, lifestyle and adoption readiness by a licensed social worker. After you have been placed with your baby, a social worker will conduct similar visits. These post-placement visits are the first step toward your adoption finalization. The social worker will be looking to see how everyone is adjusting to the placement, and they will be making sure that the placement is in the best interests of the child. Specifically, adoption law in Alaska states that any significant changes, such as a new home, a new pet or other differences, from pre-placement to post-placement will be focused on.
Step 2: Compliance with ICPC and ICWA
When you complete a domestic infant adoption, there are several import laws you must comply with to receive a final decree of adoption in Alaska. It is not your sole responsibility to follow these laws exactly; that is what your adoption specialist and adoption attorney are there for. However, it will help to understand these laws as you make decisions in your adoption process.
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is a federal regulation that ensures adoptions between two states are completed in a safe and ethical way. This regulation will impact your adoption if you are placed with a child who is born in a state other than Alaska. Your adoption attorney will help you follow the law. The most noticeable effect you will feel is that you will need to stay in your child’s state of birth for a couple weeks after placement, during which paperwork will be processed between states. Your compliance with ICPC will be reviewed at your Alaska adoption finalization hearing.
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) applies to any adoption in which the child has Native American heritage. The purpose of ICWA is “to protect the best interest of Indian Children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families.” If you are adopting within the state of Alaska, there is a higher chance this may apply to your adoption than in other states.
Step 3: Your Alaska Adoption Finalization Hearing
Once you have completed your post-placement visits and ensured compliance with all necessary regulations, you are ready for your adoption finalization hearing in Alaska. At this hearing, you will go before a judge to receive your Alaska final decree of adoption. The judge will review your post-placement visit reports and other aspects of your adoption. It is common for the judge to ask you a few personal questions, too.
Once the judge is satisfied, he or she will present your final decree of adoption. This is the last step in the Alaska adoption finalization process, and it is a moment worth celebrating. It’s common for a family to bring a photographer with them to the courthouse, and even to take a picture with the judge.
Step 4: Life After Alaska Adoption Finalization
Your adoption finalization in Alaska is the end of the adoption process. Take time to appreciate that —this process isn’t always easy, and you have accomplished something incredible when your receive your Alaska final decree of adoption.
But don’t celebrate too long, because the rest of life is still ahead. The adoption process is over, but the adoption journey is just beginning. There will be many joys and many challenges ahead. After your Alaska adoption finalization, you are ready to face them all and experience the amazing reality of parenthood.
If you would like to know more about adoption in Alaska through our agency, or would like to start the adoption process today, please call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time to speak with an adoption specialist.
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