UNDERSTANDING THE ALABAMA ADOPTION PROCESS
Adoption is one of the many options to build a family. There is helpful information available about the process in Alabama for prospective adoptive parents.
Adoption creates a permanent relationship between the adoptive parent and child. Once parents adopt a child, they are legally responsible to provide for the child until he or she reaches adulthood. This applies even if the parents separate or divorce later on.
Prospective adoptive parents must meet several basic requirements. The adoptive parents must be over 19 years of age, must have adequate housing and personal space for the child, must be healthy enough to meet the child’s needs and must be willing to undergo a thorough background check, including a criminal history review.
Also, if the adoptive parents are married, at least one of them must be a U.S. citizen and they must have been married for at least three years.
Once a child is placed in the adoptive parents’ home for at least three months, the adoptive parents can petition the court to finalize the adoption. Before the adoption can be finalized, however, the child’s biological parents’ rights must be terminated.
Their rights may be terminated involuntarily by the court because they are unable or unwilling to care for the child, in cases of abandonment or abuse, or other circumstances. Biological parents may also choose to voluntarily terminate their parental rights.
At the finalization hearing, the judge may ask the prospective adoptive parents about themselves and how they will continue to provide a safe home for the child. The judge will sign a final decree of adoption when all of the requirements have been met.
An experienced attorney can help prospective adoptive parents with their questions and provide representation.