The Adoption Process in Alabama
The decision to adopt a child is a very important one. If you are considering taking on this important responsibility, it is important to understand what is required and what the process of adoption in Alabama entails. Consulting with a family law attorney can give you the peace of mind you seek when embarking on the journey of taking a child into your home.
The concept of adoption
Adoption is the legal process through which adoptive parents are given permanent parental rights to someone else’s child. Adoption means taking a child into your home as a permanent family member. It means caring for and guiding that child through his or her childhood and giving them everything they need to reach their full potential.
The Alabama Department of Human Resources is the state department responsible for securing adoptive homes for children who are available for adoption, following termination of parental rights. There are several steps that potential adoptive parents must go through. While the process is not difficult, a general understanding of what to expect can make the transition easier.
Meeting Adoption Requirements
In addition to being willing and committed to being a parent and providing the love and guidance a child needs, there are some basic requirements that every adoptive parent must meet. Those requirements are as follows:
- Over the age of majority (which in Alabama is 19)
- If married, must have been married for at least 3 years
- If married, at least one spouse must be a U.S. citizen
- Have adequate housing & personal space for the adopted child
- Healthy enough to meet a child’s needs.
- Willing to undergo a thorough background check, including criminal history
When all of these requirements have been met, the next step is to officially submit an application to become an adoptive parent.
Submitting an Application
Once you are sure that adoption is something to which you and your family are deeply committed, the next step is to request an Application to Adopt. The completed application should be returned to the county Department of Human Resources, where you live. Our firm is ready to assist you in completing and submitting your application for adoption, and guiding you through the entire process.
Group Preparation & Selection Meetings
After your Application to Adopt is received, the next step is attending Group Preparation and Selection (GPS) meetings. GPS is a program designed specifically to educate potential adoptive families regarding various relevant topics on their upcoming adoption experience. During this program, a social worker will also interview you and other family members in your home.
Approval as an Adoptive Resource
After a family profile and home study have been conducted for your family, the information gathered will be evaluated and a determination will be made as to whether you are approved as an adoptive resource. Your county Department of Human Resources will send you written confirmation of your approval.
Background Information & Pre-Placement Visits
The State Office of Adoption determines child placement. When you have been selected as a potential adoptive resource for a particular child, you will be given an opportunity to review that child’s background information. Any questions or concerns you may have will be addressed, as well. If you decide that your family may be able to offer a home to that child, pre-placement visits will be arranged.
Legal Proceedings for Court Sanctioning
Once the child has been successfully placed in your home for at least 3 months, the final step in the process is to obtain sanctioning by the court that the child is legally yours. If you have questions regarding adoption, or any other family law issues, contact attorney Brad J. Latta online, or by calling (205) 998-5570.