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Adoption Forms

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Adoption - How to Legally Adopt

Introduction

Adoption is a process by which a person becomes the legal guardian of a child. The process of adoption results in terminating parental rights of birth parents. After the adoption process, the adoptive parent will have the rights and responsibilities of a parent.

Generally, adoption laws are state-specific, and to adopt a child, one must meet the qualifications under the laws of his/her state. Adoption laws differ substantially from state to state. While some states prohibit adoption by minors, others specifically provide for adult adoption.

Types of Adoption

Common forms of adoption are domestic adoption, open adoption and closed adoption. Domestic adoptions are adoption by caretaker relatives and stepparents. A caretaker relative must be a person who is within the 5th degree of kinship to a child by blood or adoption. In adoption laws, to count a man as a child's father, he must be the legal father. A legal father is a man married to the child's mother when the child was conceived or born.

Relative caretakers like grandparents or step-parents can also become legal parents to a child by the process of adoption. Grandchild adoption gives grandparents all the rights and responsibilities of a parent in the eyes of the law. Stepparent adoption is a process by which a step parent or a new partner of a biological parent becomes the legal parent.

In case of an open adoption, the identifying information of birth parents and adoptive parents are exchanged and there will be interaction between natural parents and the adopted person. However, this is subject to termination by the adoptive parent. Often natural parents and adoptive parents will enter into an agreement pertaining to rights concerning visitation, custody of child and other parental rights. Closed adoption, on the other hand, involves no exchange of personal information. In a closed adoption, the adoptive parent will be unaware of the family history of the adoptee.

For a valid adoption, parental consent to adoption is an essential condition. When a parent provides his/her free unconditional agreement to their child's adoption it is known as placement by consent. There are state specific laws regarding the form and procedure of placement by consent. Some state laws require the consent of the child to be adopted if the child is of a certain age.

How to Adopt

The persons seeking adoption must file a petition for adoption along with an affidavit in the court. The court will conduct a background investigation of the adoptive parent. After the investigation procedure there will be a hearing and the judge will make an adoption order considering the best interest of the child. An order of adoption legally transmits all parental rights and responsibilities and custody from the child's parents to the adoptive parents.

Pet Adoption

At present, pet adoption is also gaining popularity. Pet adoption refers to the process of taking guardianship of a pet. When the previous owner of a pet abandons or releases the pet to a shelter or rescue organization, one can take the rights and responsibility of that pet. The main issue involved in pet adoption is whether the new owner can provide a safe, secure and permanent home for the pet. For adopting a pet, one should apply with an adoption form to the shelter or rescue organization. There are many informational websites that help animal lovers to choose the right pet for their family.

Adoption FAQS

Can you define what an adoption is?

Adoption is a process by which a parent-child relationship is created between individuals. By adoption, a person becomes the legal guardian of a child. Adoption results in terminating parental rights of birth parents and transferring those rights to the adoptive parents. After the adoption process, the adoptee becomes the legal heir of the adopter.

What are the qualifications to be able to apply for adoption?

Adoption laws are state-specific and to adopt a child, one must meet the qualifications under the laws of his/her state. Adoption laws differ substantially from state to state. Adoption by minors is prohibited in some states while, some states specifically provide for adult adoption. Both married and single parents can adopt a child. Further, parenting other children is not a disability for adoption. Generally, a disability does not disqualify a person from adopting a child if s/he can ensure proper care for the child.

Can you please explain "term open adoption"?

Open adoption is a form of adoption in which the identifying information of birth parents and adoptive parents are exchanged and there will be interaction between natural parents and the adopted child. However, this right may be subject to termination by the adoptive parent. Often natural parents and adoptive parents will enter into an agreement pertaining to rights concerning visitation, custody of child and other parental rights.

The opposite form of adoption is closed adoption. In a closed adoption, there will not be any exchange of personal information and the adoptive parent will be unaware of the family history of the adoptee.

Can a relative caretaker become legal parent to a child?

Yes, relative caretakers like grandparents or step-parents can also become legal parents to a child by the process of adoption. Adoption by caretaker relatives and stepparents is known as domestic adoption. Grandchild adoption gives grandparents all the rights and responsibilities of a parent in the eyes of the law. Stepparent adoption is a process by which step parent or new partner of a biological parent becomes legal parent. Under adoption laws, to count a man as a child's father, he must be the legal father. A legal father is a man married to the child's mother when the child was conceived or born.

Can you explain how to adopt a child?

The persons seeking to adopt must file a petition for adoption along with an affidavit in the court. The court will conduct a background investigation of the adoptive parent. After the investigative procedure, there will be a hearing and the judge will pass an adoption order in the best interests of the child. An order of adoption legally transmits all parental rights and responsibilities and custody from the child's parents to the adoptive parents.

For a valid adoption, parental consent to adoption is an essential condition. Free, unconditional agreement of the parent of a child to that child's adoption is known as placement by consent. Many state laws have provisions regarding the form and procedure of placement by consent. Some state laws require the consent of the adoptee child if the child has reached a certain age.

What is a pet adoption?

Pet adoption refers to the process of taking guardianship of a pet. When the previous owner of a pet abandons or releases the pet to a shelter or rescue organization one can take the rights and responsibility of that pet. Those seeking pet adoption should apply with an adoption form to the shelter or rescue organization.

Adoption Package

This information package contains summaries of state laws and links to resources to assist a prospective parent with an adoption. Purchase of this package is a savings of more than 50% over purchase of the informational documents individually!

Adoption Package

The following forms are included in this package:

  • Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption
  • Standby Guardianship
  • Placement of Children With Relatives
  • Court Jurisdiction and Venue for Adoption Petitions
  • Consent to Adoption
  • The Rights of Presumed (Putative) Fathers
  • Online Resources for State Child Welfare Law and Policy

Other Adoption Forms and Guides