There are several options for adoption, including domestic, foster care and international. With domestic adoption, birth parents voluntarily place their new-born or small child with adoptive parents through a licensed agency. Foster care adoption is through the state and international adoption is when a placement occurs from a country outside of the United States.
Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 18 years old and can be married or single. They must show that they can financially provide for a child and complete a background check and a health exam. They must also participate in a home study, which evaluates their living situation.
Court hearing and finalization
Once the requirements are met, the prospective adoptive parents can petition the court to formally adopt the child. This gives them all of the same rights and responsibilities as birth parents.
Before the court can order the finalization, the birth parents’ parental rights must be terminated. This can happen voluntarily, or the court can terminate their rights based on neglect, abuse or for other reasons.
The court will review all relevant documents, including recommendations from social workers and other professionals involved with the prospective adoptive family. If the judge finds that the adoption is in the child’s best interest, it will order a final adoption order and the child will receive an amended birth certificate.