Ask an Expert: What You Need to Know About Adopting in Georgia

What is the best part about adopting a child in Georgia?

There are many knowledgeable and supportive adoption providers available to adoptive families and birth parents. It is simply about finding the right fit for each adoptive parent/family and birth parent.

Also, there are numerous resources for adoptive families, birth parents, and adoptees in Georgia.

What are the requirements for parents to qualify to adopt in Georgia?

Currently, Georgia requires that adoptive parents be 25 and older. If an adoptive parent is younger than 25 but married to someone of that age, they are eligible to adopt. The adoption code will likely be revised soon, so the age of eligibility may change.

Adoptive parents must have a home study evaluation completed within the last year.

Does Georgia require that I use an adoption agency to complete an adoption?

You may use a licensed child-placing agency or an attorney. Please note that adoption facilitators are illegal in Georgia.

How can I adopt a child through foster care in Georgia?

To adopt a child through foster care, your adoption would need to go through the Division of Family and Children Services or a licensed private foster care agency.

A home study evaluation completed within the last year would be required.

Where can I find children who are available for adoption through foster care in Georgia?

You may find them by contacting the Division of Family and Children Services to view children available for adoption in foster care in Georgia.

Can I advertise my desire to adopt?

No. Only licensed child-placing agencies in Georgia are allowed to advertise (OCGA 19-8-24).

Can I hire an adoption facilitator in Georgia?

Adoption facilitators are illegal in Georgia.

What are the regulations in Georgia regarding birth mother expenses?

Currently, licensed child-placing agencies are allowed to pay reasonable living expenses, medical expenses, and legal fees on behalf of birth parents. Attorneys are only allowed to pay medical expenses and legal fees on behalf of birth parents. The current adoption code is being revised by the legislature, which may change this mandate.

What should I know about birth father rights in Georgia?

– Birth fathers must file to legitimate the child to have parental rights.

– Legal fathers (married to the legal/birth mother) automatically have parental rights to the child.

–  Birth fathers, if they did not consent to the adoption, must have their rights terminated in court.

– The Putative Father Registry exists as an avenue for birth fathers to inform whether they want to be notified of an adoption proceeding involving their biological child.

–  The birth father must be attempted to be notified of the adoption proceeding:

What do I need to know about the ICPC procedure in Georgia?

You may find ICPC information here.

You must receive approval from Georgia if birth parents or adoptive parents live in Georgia and the other party lives in another state.

Georgia has border agreements with Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

How does placement work in Georgia?

When signing Georgia Surrender documents, birth parent(s) transfer custody of the child(ren) to one of the following agents: child-placing agency representative, Department of Human Services representative, person to whom surrender is made, or petitioner’s representative.

Once custody is transferred via Surrender documents, the custodial agent receives placement of child or consents to placement via Power of Attorney to another agent (e.g., adoptive family).

Is there a period in which birth parents can revoke consent for adoption?

Birth parents have the right to revoke their consent for adoption within 10 days of signing the Surrender documents. They must provide written notice to the agent specified in the surrender. The tenth day cannot fall on Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday and would fall to the next legal business day.

What does finalization look like?

If utilizing an adoption agency, at least 2 post-placement reports are required by licensing regulations before filing the petition for adoption.

If 90 days pass between filing the petition and finalization, more post-placement reports will be required.

The petition for adoption must be filed with the clerk of the superior court having jurisdiction (custodial agent or adoptive family).

Birth parents are not required to attend court hearings once consent has been signed.

If the adoptive family lives in another state (while the birth parent(s) live in Georgia), Georgia allows the adoption to be finalized in a state where the family lives.

What is the process for completing an international adoption in Georgia after my child is home?

The child’s country of origin will complete one of the following: finalize the adoption in-country or transfer legal custody. If legal custody was transferred in the country of origin, the adoption will need to be finalized in Georgia. If adoption was granted in the country of origin, most agencies or attorneys will encourage adoptive parent(s) to also finalize in Georgia.

The State of Georgia will recognize the relationship or adoption between parent and child that was issued by a court of any other jurisdiction within or outside the United States or foreign country.

Your child will have to be granted a valid visa by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service.

U.S. Department of State – Georgia provides detailed information on how complete an international adoption here.

Are open adoption agreements legally enforceable in Georgia?

Yes. This is a newer part of the Georgia Code (OCGA 19-8-27).

To be an enforceable post-adoption contact agreement, such agreement shall be in writing and signed by all of the parties to such agreement acknowledging their consent to its terms and conditions.

Can adult adoptees access their original birth certificates in Georgia?

Not unless an adoptee petitions the court to have their adoption records opened and is granted the said petition.

The process can be started/inquired about by contacting the Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry.

Are there any other adoption laws or regulations in Georgia I should know about before I get started?

Make sure to choose an adoption provider that is legally allowed to provide adoption services!

 

 

Considering adoption? Let us help you on your journey to creating your forever family. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.