How to Finalize Your Adoption in New Hampshire
The final legal step you’ll need to complete for your child’s New Hampshire adoption process is the adoption finalization stage. Adoption finalization signifies that your child is a legally recognized, permanent member of your family. You’ll be granted the final decree of adoption and legal parental rights at this time.
The adoption finalization doesn’t occur until about six months after placement with your child. Prior to receiving your child’s final decree of adoption at the adoption finalization hearing in New Hampshire, there are several things that’ll need to happen first:
Your child’s biological parents will need to terminate their legal parental rights in accordance with all New Hampshire adoption consent laws, waiting a minimum of 72 hours after the baby is born before they may offer their consent.
If you’re adopting across state lines, you’ll need to comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) prior to returning to New Hampshire with your child.
If you adopt a child with native heritage, you’ll need to comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) processes.
You’ll need to complete all post-placement requirements with the supervision of your New-Hampshire-licensed home study professional, including visits every two months up until the finalization, at least two of which must take place in your home.
After you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be contacted by your New Hampshire adoption attorney about scheduling your NH adoption finalization hearing. The hearing will take place in your local probate court, which maintains jurisdiction over adoptions in the state of New Hampshire.
What to Expect at Your New Hampshire Adoption Finalization Hearing
The post-placement supervision period lasts several months, but the New Hampshire adoption finalization hearing itself is short, usually only lasting about 20 to 60 minutes. It’s at this hearing where you’ll be issued the NH final decree of adoption by a judge. A final decree of adoption in NH confirms that your child’s adoption is complete and that they’re a legally permanent part of your family.
For most New Hampshire adoption finalization hearings, the process goes something like this:
Step 1: You, along with your adoption attorney and sometimes your social worker, will be sworn in before the judge.
Step 2: You’ll be asked questions about the adoption, including why you chose to adopt and your ability to provide your child with a safe and loving home.
Step 3: Your adoption attorney and/or social worker may also be asked questions about the adoption process.
Step 4: The judge will sign the final decree of adoption.
Once the final decree of adoption has been issued, you’ll have legal parental rights established. The completion of this final stage of the NH adoption process is often seen by adoptive families as a time to celebrate their adoption journey and their first moments as a legally official family.
After the Final Decree of Adoption in NH is Granted
With the New Hampshire adoption finalization process completed, you’ll be able to file for your child’s amended birth certificate as well as their social security card.
Although the NH adoption process may technically end with finalization, adoption is a continuing journey for everyone involved. You can continue your relationship with your child’s birth family after the adoption is complete through an open adoption, and continuing to talk about adoption openly within your family is a good way to help young adoptees know that it’s ok to explore their feelings about adoption.
If you ever have questions, need help continuing communication with a birth family, need post-adoption support or information, or anything else, you can always reach out to your specialist at American Adoptions at any point in time.
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