Adoption Procedures

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The first step in adoption procedures is to educate yourself about adoption. There's a wealth of information out there. You need, however, to start right where you are. Ask yourself if you are ready for a lifetime commitment of parenting. If the answer is yes, you then will read up on the laws that apply in your state, because they'll govern all decisions from this point forward. Which type of adoption is right for you--public, private, or independent, international--comes next. It's a purely personal choice.

The Nitty-Gritty of Adoption Procedures

Finances come first. You are looking at one-time expenses from perhaps $1,500 to as much as $30,000. These may help determine which type of adoption you go with. How are you going to cover these expenses? Once that is resolved, the next step in the adoption procedure is selecting an adoption agency and letting them know you're serious.

You will have to meet adoption agency criteria, just as you must meet state and federal criteria. These factors include age, health, income, and marriage, among others. Once you're fulfilled those criteria, home study by a licensed social worker is the next step in the adoption procedures. Your own schooling in adoption and parenting classes will follow.

Your search for a child, already on the books, now begins in earnest. Once the search is complete, you can begin preparations in your home for the child. Once the child arrives, you (or your adoption attorney) will file the petition to adopt in your court of local jurisdiction. The judge then decrees the adoption permanent and binding. Original birth records are usually sealed at this point. The adoption procedures are now finalized.

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