Newnan Adoptions FAQs
The decision to grow as a family by adopting a child can be both an exciting and daunting prospect. Just as every family is unique, so is each adoption case. The Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell has wide experience navigating the adoption process in Georgia. Here are some frequently asked questions we hear from clients:
- What are the different types of adoptions allowed in Georgia?
- What are the guidelines for adopting a child in Georgia?
- How long does the Georgia adoption process typically take and how much does it typically cost?
- What is the revocation period in Georgia?
- What can I do to have the best adoption outcome? Is there anything I can do to prepare?
What are the different types of adoptions allowed in Georgia?
There are three basic types of adoptions:
- Agency adoptions — Both public and private agencies can work with families to find placements for children. Public agencies like the Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) find adoptive parents for children who have come into the custody of the state because their biological parents are not present or capable or taking care of them. Private agencies that arrange adoptions include social service or religious organizations.
- Independent adoptions — These adoptions are arranged by individual parents or birth mothers working with an attorney, doctor, social worker, religious leader or other intermediary to reach an agreement with an adoptive family.
- Stepparent or relative adoptions — Georgia law allows stepparents to file an adoption petition for their stepchild. Other relatives such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle may be eligible to adopt a child in their family.
What are the guidelines for adopting a child in Georgia?
Georgia law lays out several qualifications to be eligible to become an adoptive parent. This includes being financially, physically and mentally able to take care of the child.
There are age requirements as well. You must be at least 21 years old or be married and living with your spouse. Generally, you must be a minimum of 10 years older than the child unless you are a relative or stepparent.
Usually, you must be a resident of Georgia at the time you file your petition for adoption. If you live in another state and are adopting a child from Georgia, there are special requirements set by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). International adoptions may have additional requirements.
How long does the Georgia adoption process typically take and how much does it typically cost?
The timeframe depends on the type of adoption and may vary depending on the particular circumstances. Stepparent, private agency and DFCS adoptions in-state typically take up to six months. Out-of-state or international adoptions may take up to a year. Uncontested adoption petitions receive court approval between 45 days and 120 days from the initial date of filing. For contested adoptions, the court may need additional time to hear from all the parties involved, which can take up to a year.
Public adoptions through DFCS or state agencies tend to cost between $4,000 and $6,000. This sum accounts for court fees, background checks, home study fees, pre-adoption courses and post-placement reports. Independent or private agency adoptions typically cost more and have some different expenses to consider, such as consultation fees, private agency fees, birth mother expenses, legal fees and sometimes travel fees. A local independent adoption in Georgia generally costs between $8,000 and $15,000. Out-of-state or international adoption costs may range from $30,000 to $48,000.
What is the revocation period in Georgia?
Georgia law allows biological parents a grace period within which to revoke their decision to surrender their parental rights. The birth parents have four days from the signing of the surrender of rights to change their mind. If the fourth day of the revocation period is on a Sunday or legal holiday, the final day is the next business day.
What can I do to have the best adoption outcome? Is there anything I can do to prepare?
Educating yourself on Georgia adoption law will give you a better understanding of the process. A knowledgeable family law attorney can advise you on positive steps that will help advance your case. You may need to prepare your house for home evaluations, clear your schedule for interviews and appointments and compile documentation for background checks. Another component is making sure you are financially ready for the prospect of having a new child with wants and needs in your household.