Once a child has been placed with you and you pass the mandatory waiting period, you can file a petition for adoption. This must be done through your adoption worker. They will have several of the documents that you need, as well as the authority to approve your petiton before it’s submitted. If you are adopting from another state and going through the ICPC process, the petition will be filed in the sending state.
Putting the Petition Together
The original and a copy of the Order Terminating Parental Rights (in the case of the adoption of a child) must either accompany the petition or be filed prior to the adoption hearing. Additional documents you will need include the following:
- The child’s birth certificate, or at least birth date and place of birth.
- A written statement confirming your desire and suitability to adopt, and your ability to provide for the child financially.
- A written declaration that the adoption is in the child’s best interest.
- Your name, age, and address.
- The date on which you received custody of the child and who awarded your custody.
- A statement of the legal reason why the birth parents’ rights are being (or have been) terminated.
- A disclosure of any relationship that you share with the child.
When you file the petition, it will ask if the child’s name will be changed and, if so, what the new name will be.
Changing a Child’s Name
Whether or not you change your child’s name is a very personal decision, and there are various opinions on all sides of the issue. What do other people do? Well, there are several different options.
They could change the child’s…
- Last name only.
- Last name and middle name.
- Full name.
- First name, change the child’s middle name to their birth name, and change the child’s last name.
Each family differs in how they feel about this subject, and each family should consider the child’s feelings as well. This can become more important the older the child gets. Since it’s a very personal issue, he or she may have a very strong opinion on the matter.
Some children may really want to change their name to something from their adoptive family. Other children may not care. They may feel that their name is a gift from their birth family and won’t want it changed.
There are also children who choose to add a name from their adoptive family. Adding a family name to the family name they already have can create a sense of blending the two families together.
There will never be one universal answer for everyone. So, do what will be best for your family while still honoring your child’s feelings.
Our son was born as a “Jr.” with his birth father’s name. My husband is a “III” in his family. Our son wanted to change his name to match my husband’s because he wanted to be the “IV”. He felt it gave him a sense of belonging.
We spent a couple of months discussing the issue on and off. He already attended school where the kids knew him by his birth name, and he had biological siblings who knew him by his birth name as well. Nevertheless, he was quite set on having his name be “the same as Daddy’s.” So, he eventually decided to take my husband’s first and middle name as his middle name. This was comfortable for him.
You can wait longer than the mandatory minimum waiting period. If you are still not sure whether completing the adoption is the best thing for your family, wait! It is in the best interest of everyone for you to be certain that it is the best thing for all of you.