Must I file an adoption petition?
Yes. You must file an adoption petition regardless of the type of adoption. The adoption court must approve the adoption. You must file the adoption petition and go through the adoption hearing. A notice of hearing will be sent to all parties having an interest in the adoption including the biological parents, the agency and the child if he or she is over a certain age. Sometimes the court will appoint a disinterested third party to protect the child’s interest. If a legal representative has been appointed for the child, the representative must give notice of hearing to the concerned parties. The courts will look at the best interest of the child when deciding on the petition. If the court approves the adoption, it will issue an adoption decree.
What information must an adoption petition contain?
An adoption petition must contain at least the following information:
• Names, ages and contact details of the adoptive parents
• Relationship between the child and the adoptive parents
• Reason for termination of the child’s rights
• A statement to the extent that the adoptive parents are the best persons to adopt the child
• A statement that the child’s best interests are protected by the adoption
The petition should be accompanied by the consent of the birth parents or court order terminating the parental rights. If you want to change the child’s name post adoption, you should file a petition for name change at the same time.
Do I need an attorney?
Yes. Even if you are working with an agency, you should hire an adoption attorney. The agency will do the paperwork but you will need an attorney to prepare the petition and represent you in the court. You can prepare the petition on your own and represent yourself but the law is complex and unless you have in depth knowledge of the law, you should hire an attorney to do the work for you.
What are the legal requirements for international adoption?
For an international adoption, the requirements under the US laws as well as the law of the child’s country must be satisfied.