How to Finalize Your Adoption in Maine
The Final Steps Before Your Adoption is Officially Complete
You’re almost there. You’ve made the decision to adopt a child in Maine. You went through all the paperwork, the in-home visits from your social worker and the interviews. You completed an adoptive family profile, and you received the second-best phone call of your life about a birth mother choosing your family.
Then you got the best phone call of your life — the baby is almost here; it’s time to travel. Your baby was placed in your arms, and you stepped into the wonderful, challenging, fulfilling journey of parenthood.
Now that you’ve been through all of this, what comes next? After your baby has been placed in your care, there are still a few necessary legal steps to finalize your adoption.
To get more information about what to expect from your finalization hearing, reach out to an adoption specialist today.
What does it take to finalize your adoption in Maine? Here are the big steps.
Complete Your Post-Placement Visits
Maine requires several post-placement visits with a home study social worker before any adoption can be finalized. You can usually expect between 2–5 visits over the course of six months after you and your child are home. In coordination with your adoption agency, the social worker will review the physical and emotional adjustment and development of the child, as well as the capacity of the adoptive parents to assume their new roles and provide for the needs of the child.
Just like the pre-placement home study, this is done to make sure every child is placed in a good situation. It’s understandable to feel like this part of the process is invasive, but it’s a good and necessary protection to have in place for children. And your adoption specialist with American Adoptions will be there along the way to help you.
Ensure Full Compliance with ICPC and Other Maine Requirements
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) establishes procedures for ensuring the safety and stability of placements of children across state lines. If you are adopting a child who was born in a different state than yours, you will need to follow these guidelines in order to legally finalize your adoption.
You will feel the effects of ICPC most notably immediately following placement while you wait for documentation to be completed between both states involved. This normally means you will have to wait at least 1-2 weeks in the state of your child’s birth before returning home after the necessary paperwork has been verified by your adoption professional and the states.
Additionally, you need to be sure that you have followed Maine’s specific adoption laws and requirements along the way. Your adoption professional is here to help with this.
Your Maine Adoption Finalization Hearing
A court hearing date will be set for your adoption finalization after you have completed your post-placement home visits with your social worker. During this hearing, a judge will ensure that the adoption process has proceeded lawfully up to this point, and he/she may also ask you several questions about your desire to adopt and readiness to be parents. According to Maine’s adoption law, all of this is done to ensure “the best interests of the adoptee are served by the adoption.”
Once the judge is satisfied that this is true of your adoption, he will issue a final decree of adoption and you will be declared legally, officially, finally a family. Congratulations — this is truly an amazing moment after a long journey. Many adoptive families will turn their finalization hearing into a celebration by inviting friends and family, or even a photographer.
After Adoption Finalization in Maine is Complete
In one sense, this is the last step at the end of a long process. You should take time to celebrate that, because you’ve worked really hard to get here. But on the other hand, this is only the beginning. Adoption is a lifelong endeavor, and you’re just getting started.
There are a few more logistical things you can take care of after your adoption is finalized, like requesting an amended birth certificate and new social security card for your child. Your adoption specialist will be available to you even after finalization to help with things like this.
Then there are even bigger things you can turn to — like raising your child and helping them thrive. They will have unique questions and struggles as a child who was adopted. You can help them build a positive self-identity and embrace their adoption story from a young age, taking every opportunity to remind them that they are special and loved.
You will also have the opportunity for continued communication with your child’s birth mother, depending on what type of adoption communication plan was agreed on. American Adoptions’ staff can facilitate this ongoing interaction if you need additional help.
Your adoption process is sure to have twists and turns that no one else experiences, but this is a basic overview of what to expect during the final steps of the process in Maine. If you have more questions about the adoption process with our agency, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption specialist or click here to request free information.
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