How to Finalize Your Adoption in New Mexico
The day your baby comes home with you from the hospital in a New Mexico adoption will be one of the best of your life. You have been waiting for this moment for so long, and you have every right to enjoy it with your new family. However, it’s important to remember that this is not quite the end of the adoption process. Before all is said and done, you will still have to complete two steps to finalize your adoption: post-placement visits and the New Mexico adoption finalization hearing.
Before you continue, you can get more information about adoption in New Mexico and the finalization process by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or filling out our free online contact form.
Until then, keep reading
What are post-placement visits?
A post-placement study is a follow-up on the home study an adoptive family completes prior to bringing their adopted child home with them. The post-placement report your home study provider fills out will include:
How the child interacts with the adoptive parents
How the child is adjusting since placement
How the child is being integrated into the adoptive family
The adoptive parents’ ability to meet all of the adopted child’s needs
Whether the adoption is in the adopted child’s best interests
If the child being adopted is under 1 year old, the post-placement report must be filed with the court within 60 days. If the child is older than 1, the report must be filed within 120 days.
What needs to happen before we can receive the final decree of adoption in New Mexico?
Aside from post-placement visits, there are other steps you’ll have to complete before you can achieve adoption finalization in New Mexico. Regardless of the kind of adoption you pursue, you’ll have to first wait for the termination of parental rights. Whether your child’s birth parents voluntarily consent to adoption or the court terminates their rights in the child’s best interests, this must happen before you can officially adopt your child.
Depending on where you adopt your child from and his or her heritage, there are two other statutes you may have to be in compliance with:
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC): If you live in New Mexico but adopt a child from another state, you’ll have to comply with ICPC, which is a set of regulations that helps to regulate adoptions across state lines. This will also apply if you live outside of New Mexico but adopted within the state.
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA): Enacted to preserve American Indian families and tribes, this federal law dictates that, if the child you wish to adopt is either a member of or eligible for membership of a federally recognized tribe, you will have to comply with specific regulations in order to adopt.
What happens at a New Mexico adoption finalization hearing?
Once the above steps are complete, it’ll be time for your New Mexico adoption finalization hearing. A judge in your county will oversee a brief proceeding, usually lasting about 30 minutes to an hour. While every adoption is different, here’s a general outline of what you can expect to happen at your NM adoption finalization hearing:
Step 1: You and your spouse (or you individually) will stand before the judge with your adopted child and your attorney. Occasionally, a social worker will be present as well.
Step 2: Your adoption attorney will ask you to introduce yourselves to the judge and explain why you are petitioning for adoption and why it should take place.
Step 3: You will indicate to the judge that your intent is to provide the child you wish to adopt with a safe and loving home. He or she may ask you some simple questions just to get to know you and your family.
Step 4: When the hearing is coming to an end, the judge will sign the final decree of adoption. If there are any outstanding issues, like terminating an alleged father’s rights to the child, this will also happen at the end of the hearing.
Once the New Mexico adoption finalization hearing is over, you will receive a new birth certificate in the mail that lists you as the parents of your child. Once this happens, the adoption process is officially over! However, that doesn’t mean you should move on and never think about it again. Adoptive parents should continue to discuss adoption with their children as they grow older. Make sure they always understand that they can come to you with questions, and that adoption is something to be proud of!
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