Child Adoption – Laws and Issues

Transfer of a child’s rights from its birth parents to other parents is legally defined as adoption. Once the adoption process is completed, the adoptive parents have all the rights of the child. But concluding the definition here will leave the issues and laws behind the adoption process.

Before making the adoption, families (especially mom and dad) need to agree on the point that it should be focused on the desires and needs of the child, rather than the parents. They must think carefully before adopting a child and should evaluate the reasons behind the need. For example, if you want to adopt a child to round out or just to complete your family, that means you are putting the child’s needs behind your desires, which is not going to help anyone in the long run.

From the moment you made the decision for adoption, selecting the right adoption agency should be your next priority. The agency will guide further about the steps to be taken for adoption such as home study, paperwork, training, and background check, etc.

Further in this article, we will shed some light on what are adoption laws, child’s adoption process, requirements, and issues faced during adoption in detail.

Adoption Laws

The first fundamental and legal step of the adoption process is the suspension of the parental rights of the birth parents. The final step is to finalize the adoption in the court, which makes you the legal and permanent parent of your adopted child.

Parental Rights Suspension

A decree issued by the judge after a court hearing that terminates all the parental rights of the child’s birth parents. This should be done before the adoption, as the child will be considered legally free for adoption. The process of termination of the rights can be completed with or without the consent of the birth parents, although, they can appeal in a certain period if the rights have been suspended without their agreement. This length of the period varies from state to state.

Legal Risk

The term ‘legal risk’ describes the process in which the adoption has been made without or before the termination of the legal rights of the birth parents. These kinds of adoption are considered as high risks, because the birth parents or relatives can claim their rights anytime. Adoption of newborns is also considered as high risks.

On the other hand, when the birth parents are agreed on transferring the right to other individuals, then there’s a time period in which they can appeal to revert the agreement. You can contact your local department of children to know about the length of this period for reversing the appeal.

CASA

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a group of trained volunteers that defend the rights of children in the court during the hearings of adoptions. They research and identify any abuse or neglect cases on the orders of the judges regarding adopted children. After their research, they submit their findings to the court about the misdemeanors to help the court make the decisions about children’s future.

Most countries including Canada and the United States have agencies that appoint attorneys and social workers separately for every child to protect their rights. These agencies work on matters related to youth, children, and families and are licensed by the states. These agencies have the right to give shelter and care for the children only, the decision for transferring parental rights is made by the court.

In these scenarios, the court is responsible for:

  • Child case reviews
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Setting aims for the future of the child
  • Reviewing these aims
  • Changing of the aims (if necessary)
  • Finalizing the process

Documentation Required For Adoption

  • Consent for adoption (it basically refers to three different consent documents: consent signed by the birth parent, adoption consent issued by the agency, if the adopted child is above 12 years, then the child’s consent will also be required)
  • Birth certificate
  • Adoption decree
  • Amended birth certificate (Issued after adoption due to the change in parental credentials)
  • Social security card
  • Adoption agreement
  • Adopting parent documents (birth certificates, marriage license, w-4/income tax form, divorce judgment if applicable)

How To Find A Child Given Up For Adoption?

These days, birth parents especially mothers have the right to choose semi-open or open adoption options, which enable them to remain in contact with the families who have adopted their child. This also gives the satisfaction to the birth parents that the children they placed for adoption are in safe hands. But, if the contact had not been made between birth parent and child in years, then the loss of information and to track the parents with adoptive children will become difficult. Luckily, the process for the birth parents/mothers to find the families are easier than it may appear. Parents can:

  • Look for people who facilitated the adoption.
  • Look for the state’s legislations about adoption records.
  • Contact the court where you completed the adoption process.
  • Register for adoption reunion registry online.
  • Use your prior knowledge to locate your adopted child.

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