As a follow-up to our first segment, below are several more facts regarding the adoption process in Georgia. Hopefully these facts will arm you with the knowledge necessary to begin an effective adoption campaign that will ultimately result in a wonderful new addition to your family.
A home investigation will likely be necessary
Prospective adoptive parents in Georgia will likely have to undergo a home investigation or home study if the planned adoption is an agency adoption (the child is being placed with the family via an adoption agency) or a third party adoption (the prospective adoptive parents are not related to the child, and the prospective adoptive parent is not the step parent of the child).
Generally, home studies are conducted by the Division of Family and Children Services or a private adoption agency before the agency places a child with a prospective adoptive family. Home studies involve someone from the public or private agency visiting the prospective adoptive parent’s home to ensure everything attested to in the adoption petition was accurate and that home is suitable for children. Additionally, criminal background checks are performed on the prospective parents. Basically, the purpose of the home study is to ensure that the environment the child will be brought into is healthy and conducive to the proper development of a child.
Payments or gifts to biological parents are prohibited
It is against the law for prospective adoptive parents to pay the pay the biological parents for the adoption. This prohibition not only includes monetary payment, but also prohibits adoptive parents from giving biological parents valuable gifts in exchange for the adoption.
It may be necessary for the adoptive parents to go to court
Generally the Georgia adoption process culminates in a final hearing where the adoptive parents, along with their attorney and the child to be adopted appear before the presiding judge. The biological parents need not appear in most cases. During this hearing, the court may wish to hear testimony from the adoptive parents and the child concerning the adoption. Once the hearing is complete and the court is satisfied the adoption is in the best interest of the child, the court will issue and order granting the adoption.
Adoptions many be denied
As with any other family law matter, the judge makes the ultimate decision whether to grant or deny the petition for adoption. A court may deny an adoption for one of the following reasons:
a) The adoption would not be in the child’s best interests;
b) The legal parents have not voluntarily agreed to give up their rights; or
c) There is not a good reason involuntarily terminate the biological parent’s parental rights.
Adoption records are private
Adoption records are generally closed to the public. However, an individual who wishes to find out about his or her birth family, adopted siblings, or a child he or she placed for adoption may be able to view adoption the records in certain situations. Those wishing to obtain such information should contact the Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry.