Alabama Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adopting in Alabama.

Jenny Jerkins March 16, 2015

Welcome, Alabamians! This guide was written to provide you with a single place to find information about adoption within your own state. It will walk you through everything from laws that will impact your adoption to reviews of adoption service providers in Alabama.

This guide is divided into five parts: general information about adoption in Michigan, then sections dedicated to domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 6), foster adoption (slide 18), international adoption (slide 27), and stepparent adoption (slide 31). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful adoption resources (slide 34).

Are you considering growing your family through domestic infant adoption? For a free and confidential consultation with an adoption professional, click here.

Please Note:
1. Please Note:

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the information provided in this slideshow guide, you should not rely on it to make decisions. Instead, you should rely on licensed professionals in making decisions relative to adoption. The information in this guide is subject to change without notice. Adoption.com is not responsible for the consequences of relying on this information. In no event shall Adoption.com be liable for any direct, indirect, special, or incidental damage resulting from, arising out of, or in connection with the use of this information.

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

Alabama has many fun attractions for families, including:
- Adventureland
- Spring Valley Beach
- Montgomery Zoo

Adoption in Alabama at a Glance
3. Adoption in Alabama at a Glance

Kids in Foster Care Available for Adoption in 2012: 6,900
Foster adoptions completed in 2012: 349
International adoptions completed in 2012: 171
Other adoptions completed in Year 2012: 1,625

Can I Adopt in Alabama?
4. Can I Adopt in Alabama?

Adoption requirements in the state of Alabama are as follows:

- Age: You must be 19 years of age.
- Marital Status: Adoptive parents in Alabama can be single, married, or divorced. At least one spouse must be a U.S. citizen. If single or divorced, then you must be a U.S. citizen.
- Finances: You must demonstrate that you are able to financially support your own family.
- Housing: You must have adequate housing and personal space for the child or children adopted.
- Work: You can work inside or outside your home or be retired.
- Personality: You must be flexible, energetic, open to learning new things, and willing to work with social workers and other support people.
- Experience: No parenting experience is required to adopt.
Other Requirements in State: You must be healthy enough to meet a child’s needs.

NOTE: A prospective adoptive parent cannot have been convicted of child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, a crime against children, homicide or other serious crimes.

SOURCE: Alabama Department of Human Resources

Developing a Support System
5. Developing a Support System

It’s essential to have a good network of family, friends, and neighbors to support you through your adoption process.

It’s also important to connect with other adoptive parents. You can begin making these connections in our adoption forums.

You may also want to consider joining a support group for adoptive parents.

Domestic Infant Adoption
6. Domestic Infant Adoption

Before you get started, click here to learn more about the overall process of adopting an infant in the United States. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back to get the details about adoption in Alabama.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help
7. Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help

In Alabama it is legal to complete your adoption through an adoption attorney or through an adoption agency.

Some people pursuing a private adoption find it beneficial to work with a professional adoption facilitator, an individual or organization that matches birth parents with adoptive parents in exchange for a fee.

In Alabama, it is "unlawful for any person or persons, organizations, corporation, partnership, hospital, association, or any agency to advertise verbally, through print, electronic media, or otherwise that they will" help adopt or adopt a child personally unless that person or agency is authorized by the Department of Human Resources. (ALA CODE § 26-10A-36)

You can browse and read reviews about adoption service providers in Alabama here.

For more information about picking an adoption agency, learn about the top fifteen things to look for in an adoption agency.

SOURCE: ALA CODE § 26-10A-36

Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study
9. Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study

Regardless of whether you complete your adoption privately (through an attorney) or through an agency, you will need to complete an adoption home study.

Your home study social worker will help educate you about adoption and ensure that you (and your adoptive partner, if applicable) meet the requirements outlined on Slide Three.

Click here to learn more about the home study process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word
10. Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word

Alabama law limits advertising for adoption. Generally, only the Alabama Department of Health and Welfare or a licensed adoption agency can advertise. Thus, any advertising efforts must be coordinated with an agency.

One of the most important things you can do while waiting for an adoption match is to let everyone know about your hope to adopt. Many adoption connections are made through word-of-mouth referrals.

Creating a listing on Adoption.com Parent Profiles is an excellent way to connect with potential birth parents across the country. You’ll also want to coordinate with an agency about this.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment
11. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

In Alabama, relinquishment of a child for and consent to adoption must be done before a judge. At that time, recognized birth parents will swear that they are freely relinquishing their parental rights. Relinquishment may be withdrawn within 5 days after birth or within 5 days after signing of the consent or relinquishment, whichever comes last.

Consent or relinquishment can be withdrawn if the court finds that the withdrawal is reasonable under the circumstances and consistent with the best interest of the child within 14 days after the birth of the child.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights
12. Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights

The presumed father(man who is recognized as father until accepted or rejected as such in court), regardless of paternity, has rights if the following acts have been taken to establish paternity:

- He and the child’s mother are or have been married to each other and the child was born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage was terminated.
- Before the child’s birth, he and the child’s mother attempted to marry each other.
- After the child’s birth, he and the child’s mother married or attempted to marry each other, and with his knowledge or consent he was named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate, he is obligated to support the child, or he received the child into his home and openly held out the child as his own child.

Alternative Methods
- unrebutted presumption of a man's paternity under the before mentioned laws
-man declared father by court
-man's consent to assisted reproduction

Alabama maintains a putative father registry which allows fathers to make known their efforts to establish paternity.

SOURCE:Section 26-17-204
ALA CODE § 26-11-2

Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws about Birth Parent Expenses
13. Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws about Birth Parent Expenses

Hopeful adoptive parents and/or an adoption agency may provide pregnancy-related legal, medical, and living expenses for an expectant mother as long as these expenses are approved by the court.

Read more here about birth parent expenses.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
14. Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

Post-adoption contact agreements are not addressed by Alabama Law. Therefore, it should be assumed that they are not legally enforceable.

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that can be entered into by adoptive and birth families. The agreement outlines details about how much contact the birth and adoptive families will have after the adoption is finalized.

In instances in which the child’s biological parents’ rights have been involuntarily terminated, the well-being of the child needs to be first and foremost in everyone’s minds if a post-adoption contact agreement is created. Caseworkers and therapists should be consulted in making decisions about contact after adoption.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization
15. Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization

In Alabama, finalization usually takes place within 90 days. However, there is no set time limit within Alabama law. Courts generally want assurance that the child has bonded with and is attached to the parents. In order to finalize, you will need to file a petition to adopt and make suitable filings with the court. An attorney can assist you with this process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: A Word About the ICPC
16. Domestic Infant Adoption: A Word About the ICPC

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

It is not generally recommended that adoptive families contact the ICPC office directly, as it tends to delay or disrupt the process. Your attorney or agency will manage the ICPC process for you.

Read more about the ICPC here.

Foster Adoption in Alabama
17. Foster Adoption in Alabama

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of adopting children through foster care. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about foster adoption in Alabama.

Foster Adoption: Children Available for Foster Adoption in Alabama
18. Foster Adoption: Children Available for Foster Adoption in Alabama

Adoption.com currently has several children from the state of Alabama listed in its photolisting.

Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help
19. Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help

In the state of Alabama, you can complete a foster adoption either through a private agency that is licensed to provide foster care services or directly through the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

To find adoption agencies in Alabama and to read reviews, check out Adoption.com’s Alabama Reviews page.

You will still need to complete a home study as part of this process. If you are adopting through the Department of Human Resources, the state will cover the cost of the home study.

Foster Adoption: Becoming Part of the Foster Care System
20. Foster Adoption: Becoming Part of the Foster Care System

In Alabama, a child can be placed with you for adoption by the Department of Human Resources before his/her biological parent’s rights have been terminated. This is called a legal risk placement, meaning that it is possible that the child may return to live with his/her birth family. However, these placements are not made unless the agency responsible for the child is actively pursuing the termination of his/her birth parents’ rights.

During a placement like this, you will be considered a foster parent and will need to meet all the requirements for foster parents in the state of Alabama.

Foster Adoption: Adoption Assistance
21. Foster Adoption: Adoption Assistance

Alabama offers financial assistance programs for most children adopted from the foster care program. According to the Department of Human Resources, this assistance can include home study costs and all associated training. Children with special needs may also qualify for financial assistance, called adoption subsidy, and Medicaid.

International Adoption in Alabama
22. International Adoption in Alabama

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of international adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about international adoption in Alabama.

International Adoption: Photolisting
23. International Adoption: Photolisting

There are millions of beautiful children across the world who are hoping to find a forever family.

Click here to meet some of them through our photolisting.

International Adoption: Get Professional Help
24. International Adoption: Get Professional Help

With international adoptions, your only choice is to complete your adoption through an agency. Because of the Universal Accreditation Act, all adoption agencies completing international adoptions are required to be credentialed according to federal standards. Make sure to check with any agency before working with them to ensure they have this accreditation in place!

In selecting an international adoption agency, there are Four Essential Criteria you should probably consider. Click here to browse through reviews of adoption agencies in Alabama.

In order to be approved to adopt internationally, you will need to complete an international adoption-specific home study.

International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements
25. International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements

You will need to request a U.S. birth certificate for your child.

Consult your adoption attorney or adoption agency about other post-adoption requirements specific to international adoption.

Stepparent Adoption in Alabama
26. Stepparent Adoption in Alabama

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of stepparent adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about stepparent adoption in Alabama.

Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights
27. Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the corresponding biological parent’s rights will first need to be terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

You will need to consult with an adoption attorney about your desire to adopt. Your attorney can help you decide if it’s likely that the biological parent would be willing to relinquish rights OR if it would be feasible to pursue involuntary termination of his/her parental rights.

Stepparent Adoption: Petitioning to Adopt
28. Stepparent Adoption: Petitioning to Adopt

Once parental rights have been terminated, you can file a petition to adopt with the courts. You and your spouse will both testify in court regarding the stability of your marital relationship, the bond you’ve developed with your stepchild, and your desire to become the legal parent of your stepchild. After 1 year for related adoptions the adoption becomes final.

You will generally not be required to complete a background check or home study as part of the stepparent adoption process.

author image

Jenny Jerkins

Jenny Jerkins is a Staff Storyteller for Adoption.com and resides in Augusta, GA. She is a wife and former engineer-turned-stay-at-home mom of an energetic, smart, and hilarious little boy. Grateful for infertility, she became a mom through adoption, which has opened her heart in ways she never knew were possible and also brought them the blessing of open adoption. She is an active member of several adoption communities and loves uniting and educating others. You can read all about her adoption story over at Our Not So Engineered Life where she has her own blog about infertility, adoption, motherhood, and life.


Want to contact an adoption professional?

Love this? Want more?

Claim Your FREE Adoption Summit Ticket!


The #1 adoption website is hosting the largest, FREE virtual adoption summit. Come listen to 50+ adoption experts share their knowledge and insights.

Members of the adoption community are invited to watch the virtual summit for FREE on September 23-27, 2019, or for a small fee, you can purchase an All-Access Pass to get access to the summit videos for 12 months along with a variety of other benefits.

Get Your Free Ticket


Host: ws1.elevati.net