A Quick Guide to Adoption in Georgia
Georgia Adoption Law
The majority of laws that address Georgia adoptions are located in Title 19, Chapter 8 of the state’s official code. These laws address eligibility factors and many more subjects, and you’ll want to discuss all of these laws with an adoption attorney.
A lawyer is essential in any Georgia adoption, and they can help protect the rights of both the blood parents and the adopting parents. This article will discuss general Georgia law on adoption, as well as steps taken in the adoption of a child.
Laws for Georgia Adoptions
Section 19-8-3 of the state’s official code announces that a person must meet the following qualifications in order to adopt a child:
1. The person is at least 25 years old or is married and living with a spouse
2. The person is at least 10 years older than the child
3. The person has been a bona fide resident of the state of GA for at least six months before filing for an adoption
4. The person is financially, physically, and mentally able and ready for permanent custody of the child
The other sections of this law state that a person meeting the qualifications listed above can apply to the department or human services or a child-placing agency; and if two married people are adopting, they must file a petition with both names according to Georgia adoption law.
Georgia adoptions involving paternity issues, adoptions by relatives, a parent who adopts and then gives up parental rights, and much more are covered by Title 19, Chapter 8 of the official code.
The Georgia Adoption Process for a Child
All of the information within this section is located at the following link under the Georgia Department of Human Services:
Steps for Georgia Adoptions:
1. Contact the DHS- if you are thinking about a Georgia adoption, you should call the DHS at (877) 210-KIDS to answer several basic questions.
2. Orientation- this step involves meeting with the DHS and learning basic information about the process for Georgia adoptions. You’ll see photos of children during this meeting.
3. IMPACT- this step involves the people thinking about Georgia adoptions to attend a program under their county’s Department of Family and Children Services. The preparation program, called IMPACT, requires 20 classroom hours of training. During this time period, the family will also undergo a Family Evaluation that include information about the home, medical records, a criminal background check, financial statement, and more.
4. Pre-Placement- this step for Georgia adoptions involves the parties identifying a child and attending support groups. Picking a child will shorten the delay between the evaluation and next step greatly.
5. Placement- after you have picked a child for the Georgia adoption, the parties will receive detailed information about the child. There will be several visits before the child is placed, and a case manager will usually help the transition during this period.
6. Finalization- after release form the DHS, the adopting party’s attorney will file an adoption petition. The hearing will be held at the Superior Court of your county.