Adoptions

The topic of adoption can include termination or relinquishment of parental rights and private versus agency adoptions. If Child Protective Services takes a child from the biological parents because there is a detriment to the care of the child and the parents cannot or will not reunify with the child within the time provided by law then the court may terminate the parents’ rights. This does not happen overnight. Sometimes the parents consent to terminating their parental rights, but the public policy is against doing so. Parents are given every opportunity to become parents and care for their children. In the event that parental rights are ended, the child/children become ward(s) of the state and can be placed up for adoption.

Adoption means that, for all intents and purposes, the child or children is the legal heir and legal child of the adopting parent(s). That means that if the adopting parent dies the child can inherit the parent’s property as though the child was actually born to that parent. If the adopted child is in a family that splits due to divorce, then one parent may have a duty to pay child support to the custodial parent. The saying is that “you get the benefit and the burden” when you adopt a child.

The court will require a placement report from someone authorized to make the report. The idea is to have a neutral determination of the stability of the adoptive home. This is true whether it is a private or stepparent adoption. There may also be a guardian ad litem appointed to represent the interests of the adopted child during the process.

Once the adoption decree is signed by the judicial officer the birth records for the child can be changed and the child is the legal child of the adopting parent(s).

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