Macon Adoption Attorney Takes the Worry Out of the Process
Experienced counsel to facilitate various types of adoption in Georgia
In Macon and throughout Georgia, there are children waiting to be adopted. If you’ve decided to open your home to a child, Skinner Family Law can guide you through the legal process and give you peace of mind. A successful adoption has the potential to bring great joy to your household, but legal missteps can bring frustration and sorrow. I draw on my insights gained from more than 30 years of family law practice to protect you at every stage of the process. My extensive knowledge and reasonable rates make my services a great value for prospective parents looking to adopt in Georgia.
Legal requirements for adoptive parents in Georgia
A person looking to adopt a child in Georgia must be:
- At least 25 years of age, if single, and 10 years older than the child to be placed, or
- Married and living with a spouse and 10 years older than the child to be placed; and
- A resident of the state for six months prior to filing the adoption petition
The most important requirement is the ability and willingness to be a primary caregiver to a child, responsible for the child’s health and welfare.
The adoption process in Georgia
There are several types of adoptions parents can choose, depending on their circumstances and those of the child. There are:
- Public agency adoptions
- Foster child adoptions
- Private agency adoptions
- Open adoptions
- International adoptions
- Stepparent adoptions
- Relative adoptions
To give you a basic idea of the process, these are the steps in a public agency adoption:
- Inquiry — You contact the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and ask for an information packet.
- Information session — You attend a meeting to get general information and learn about specific children who are available to be adopted.
- Initial visit — A Resource Development Worker comes to your home to discuss where you are with the process so far.
- Pre-service training — Your County DFCS or a private adoption agency under contract with DFCS provides a program of approximately 23 hours of classroom training covering a variety of essential topics. At this time, a case manager meets with your family to complete the assessment process.
- Family evaluation — This stage includes visits to your home, gathering medical and financial information, conducting a criminal background check, and further discussions about your views on adopting. If all goes well, your family is then considered a resource for a waiting child.
- Pre-placement — Depending on your preferences and the availability of a suitable child, there is a period of waiting.
- Placement — When you or the agency identifies a possible match, you are given the opportunity to get more detailed information on an available child. A subsequent meeting discloses further information. You may then have a series of visits with the child. If all goes well, you sign a placement agreement and the child joins your family. Your Resource Development Worker and the child’s Case Manager visit to evaluate how things are working and to offer support.
- Finalization — DFCS issues a release, and you can file an adoption petition with the court. The court holds a hearing to affirm the adoption, so you legally become the child’s parent.
When you adopt through a public agency, a court should already have terminated the rights of the natural parents, but you must confirm this has been done. Without this step, no adoption can go forward. Sometimes, it is necessary for a natural father to go through the process of legitimation and then surrender his parental rights so the adoption can proceed. As an experienced family law attorney who has handled many adoptions, I am meticulous about this and every other detail so your adoption proceeds smoothly and there can never be any doubts about your legal right as a parent.
Contact an experienced attorney for your adoption in Georgia
Depending on your circumstances, the adoption process can be an emotional roller-coaster. That’s one reason to have an experienced adoption attorney helping every step of the way. Call Skinner Family Law at 478-845-1058 or contact my Macon office online to schedule a consultation.