A lot of the fear surrounding adoption is in regards to the lack of understanding of these three important adoption vocabulary words. I'm hoping with a little "Adoption Vocabulary 101," I can demystify some of it for you!
Consent: Consent refers to the agreement by a parent, or a person or agency acting in place of a parent, to relinquish the child for adoption and to release all rights and duties with respect to that child. In most States, the consent must be in writing and either witnessed and notarized or executed before a judge or other designated official.
Revocation: The revocation period refers to the length of time the birth mother or father has to change their mind after signing consent.
Finalization: Finalization hearings usually take place within a year of the time the child is placed in the home. Your adoption is not legally complete until you have gone through the finalization process. Prior to finalization, post-placement visits are required to be preformed by the social worker who initially completed the home study. The court will seek to establish that the child has been placed in a loving, secure home. You should be prepared to present all information included in your adoption petition, and to answer questions about why you want to adopt, how you will care for your child, how your family is and will continue adjusting, and anything else the court feels is relevant. When the judge signs the adoption order, you gain permanent, legal custody of your child! Finalization is the last formal step of the adoption process, but just the beginning of your new family.
Variations in Law from State to State: The important thing to remember is that adoption law varies from state to state. The time period in which consent is signed varies from state to state. Revocation periods do not exists in all states. There are states where consent is irrevocable at the time of signing. The length of time before finalization also varies from state to state, from as little as a few days to as long as a year.
Working with an adoption consultant can help you to understand the adoption process more fully so that your adoption take place safely and quickly. If you are interested in learning more about domestic adoption and have questions about how an adoption consultant can help, please contact me.