Your Guide to Adoption Finalization in Ohio
When your child is placed in your arms for the very first time, it may finally feel like your adoption dreams have come true. And, they have!
But your adoption journey isn’t over when you bring your baby home from the hospital. In fact, your adoption won’t be legally completed until you finish one step about six months later — your adoption finalization.
Adoption finalization in Ohio is a rather simple process, but it’s one that can only be completed with the assistance of an experienced adoption professional. Fortunately, American Adoptions is here to help. As a fully licensed agency in the Buckeye State, we are here to guide you through your family-building journey from start to finish. That includes helping you prepare for and complete your adoption finalization in Ohio.
We know you have a lot of questions. That’s why we’ve answered some of the most common ones about this legal step below. Remember, if you have any questions about our agency or services, don’t hesitate to reach out at 1-800-ADOPTION or request free information online. We’ll be happy to help!
What is Adoption Finalization in Ohio?
Finalizing your adoption is the last step of the Ohio adoption process. This is when your child receives their final decree of adoption and officially becomes a legal member of your family for life.
What most hopeful parents considering adoption don’t realize is that adoption finalization occurs several months after placement. The moment you meet your child for the first time is life-changing, but it’s actually not the end of the adoption process.
So, when does the adoption become final for the adopting parents in Ohio?
Before the legal processes can be put in place for an Ohio adoption finalization, several things need to happen first, including:
- The termination of your child’s birth parents’ parental rights. Typically, this will be done by issuing their consent to the adoption with their lawyer present. (Note: A prospective birth mother must wait a minimum of 72 hours after the birth of her baby to give her consent to an adoption in Ohio.)
- The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and/or Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) processes, if applicable.
- The completion of your post-placement home study visits.
After you’ve been placed with a child, your Ohio adoption attorney and American Adoptions specialist will contact you about when your adoption finalization hearing will be scheduled, which is typically set for about six months after placement in your local county probate court.
What to Expect an Adoption Finalization Hearing in Ohio
The adoption finalization hearing occurs in court, where a judge will issue the final decree of adoption as the final step of the Ohio adoption process. This final stage of adoption is often viewed as a celebration. Families sometimes invite family and friends to the adoption finalization hearing, or throw an adoption finalization party to mark the occasion.
Before you attend the hearing, your attorney and adoption specialist will help you prepare. They’ll explain exactly what to expect in your situation, as well as any additional documentation you may need to bring. We know a court hearing can be a little overwhelming, but this is an easy process for all involved. At the end of the day, the overseeing judge will want to help you legally be the family you’ve already emotionally become.
The Ohio adoption finalization hearing is relatively short, usually lasting about 20 minutes to an hour. During your hearing, you’ll:
Step 1: Be sworn in along with your attorney and occasionally your social worker.
Step 2: Answer questions about the adoption and your intent to provide your child with a permanent, safe and loving home.
Step 3: Witness the judge signing the final decree of adoption.
At this point, your child’s adoption will be finalized, and they will be a legal and permanent member of your family! Many judges are happy to take pictures with adoptive families during this momentous occasion, so you may be able to document this proceeding to your heart’s content (but talk with your attorney ahead of time to ensure this is appropriate).
What Happens After the Final Decree of Adoption is Issued in Ohio
Once your child’s Ohio adoption is finalized, you are legally your child’s parents. This gives you a new legal standing you may not have had before.
There are a few other steps required to legalize your child’s place in your family. You’ll need to file for their amended birth certificate and social security card. Your attorney should be able to assist you in this process, should you need their help.
Of course, just because the legal process of adoption is over doesn’t mean the emotional journey is. Adoption is a lifelong commitment for all involved, and it’s your responsibility to maintain post-adoption contact with your child’s birth parents in the years to come. Remember, you can always contact your American Adoptions specialist with any questions you have about maintaining communication with birth family.
To learn more the Ohio adoption process with our agency, call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption specialist, or request more free information about adoption online.
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