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What are the steps in the basic adoption process in Georgia?

About a month ago, we briefly discussed why legal adoption exists and who is eligible to be an adoptive parent in Georgia. At that time, it was noted that those foundational eligibility requirements were only the very first hurdle that had to be cleared in order to adopt a minor child. In this post, we will go over an outline of the steps necessary for a parent or parents to adopt a child through the state's Division of Children and Family Services.

The DCFS website lays out a seven step process used to complete an adoption in Georgia. We will only be outlining the steps today, though future posts may address each of the steps in a more in-depth fashion. The adoption process begins, appropriately enough, with the prospective parent inquiring about the possibility of adopting. After an initial screening, the prospective parent will be given notice of an information session which he or she must attend. This second step includes receiving information about the process and learning about the children who are currently in need of adoption in the state. There will also be an initial visit to the prospective parent's home by a DCFS worker. If the family decides to move forward with the process, the third step will include attendance at a training program and case manager meetings.

Step four is the Family Evaluation, after which the prospective parent's information is forwarded to the state's Adoption Exchange for consideration as an adopting family. Step five is pre-placement, during which the prospective parent and the agency attempt to find a good fit between household and child. Once the family and the case worker decide on a child, there will be some meetings with the child and hopefully a placement agreement signed as step six. The seventh and last step is finalization. This is where an adoption petition is filed with a court, and the child eventually is legally considered to be the prospective parent's own, with all the same rights and responsibilities that having a biological child entails.

As can be seen, only people who are serious about raising children should consider entering the adoption process. As noted, the above-described procedure is for adopting through the state's DCFS program. There are private companies that also offer services whose processes may vary, though they are likely to be similar so as to meet legal requirements. Anyone considering adoption who has questions may wish to consider consulting an experienced Georgia family law attorney.

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