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Adoption bestows on the adoptive parent(s) all the rights and responsibilities of a biological parent, and gives the child being adopted all the legal rights and responsibilities of a biological child. There are several different types of adoptions: independent, state or private agency, international, step-parent, relative or adult adoptions. There are different legal steps for each type of adoption.

For an independent, state or private agency adoption, the adoptive parent(s) must undergo an investigation and home study done by a social worker either through an agency or the state.  If this is successful, the adoptive parent(s) will need to wait six months after the child(ren) is placed in their care before the adoption can be finalized.

For an international adoption, the rights of the parents will be terminated or surrendered in the country of origin; however, the adoptive parent(s) will need to obtain a home study and wait six months before finalizing the adoption.

step-parent adoption requires the termination or surrender of one parent’s rights in order to allow the other parent’s spouse to adopt the child.  With this type of adoption, the home study and six month waiting period can be waived by the Judge.

For a relative adoption, both parent’s rights must be terminated or surrendered.  Again, with this type of adoption, the home study and six month waiting period can be waived by the Judge.

For adult adoptions, the process is much the same as above depending on the relationship of the individuals seeking an adult adoption.  These type of adoptions should be considered for the purposes of:   1) Inheritance,  2) Formalizing a parent-child relationship (i.e.  stepparent-stepchild, foster parent-foster child, or an informal parent-child relationship), 3) Perpetual Care due to diminished capacity or abilities, in order to provide assurance of lifetime care under family insurance or through inheritance. However, if the only reason you are considering an adult adoption is for a name change, there is a relatively simple procedure to accomplish this without having to sever parental rights.

The Law Office of Hillary Dewhirst strives to make your adoption experience professional, compassionate, and seamless and will advise you though the decision-making process and required procedures for any type of adoption you choose.