Georgia Adoption Guide

Find tips on completing your adoption in Georgia.

Jenny Jerkins March 23, 2015

Welcome, Georgians! 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 Georgia.

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 interested in growing your family through domestic infant adoption? Click here to speak with an adoption professional about your options.

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?

In 2013 there were 2,489,709 children living in the state of Georgia.

SOURCE: Kid's Count

Adoption in Georgia at a Glance
3. Adoption in Georgia at a Glance

Kids in Foster Care Available for Adoption in 2012: 7,671
Foster adoptions completed in 2012: 895
International adoptions completed in 2012: 308
Other adoptions completed in Year 2012: 2,086

Can I Adopt in Georgia?
4. Can I Adopt in Georgia?

Adoption requirements in the state of Georgia are as follows:

- Age: You must be at least 25 if single. The are no age restrictions if married
- Marital Status: Adoptive parents in Georgia can be single, married, or divorced. If married, then you must be living with your spouse and ten years older than the child to be placed.
- Finances: You must demonstrate that you are able to financially support your own family.
- Housing: You must have adequate housing & personal space for the child or children adopted.
- Work: You can work inside or outside your home or be retired.
- Personality: 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 a resident of Georgia for at least 6 months.

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: Georgia Department of Human Services

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 in Georgia
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in Georgia

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 Georgia.

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

In Georgia, 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.

While paid adoption facilitators are banned or restricted in many states, Georgia state statutes do not strictly address their use. However, only licensed adoption agencies can advertise on behalf of the birth mother. (See Georgia Code § 19-8-24)

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

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

SOURCE: Georgia Code § 19-8-24

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 Four.

Click here to learn more about the home study process.

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

Georgia law limits advertising for adoption. Generally, only the Georgia Department of Human Services 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 Georgia, a person signing a relinquishment shall have the right to withdraw for any reason the relinquishment by written notice delivered in person or mailed within 10 days after signing. Relinquishment becomes irrevocable after 10 days.

The relinquishment document is not valid unless it states the right of withdrawal. The birthfather can sign any time before or after birth. If a birthfather signs consent before birth, this act relinquishes the birthfather's parental rights, and the courts hold no obligation to contact this father if the child's mother places the child for adoption.

SOURCE: Georgia Code § 19-8-5

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

The presumed father, regardless of paternity, has rights if he:

- Has legally adopted a child.
- Was married to the biological mother of the child at the time the child was conceived or was born unless such paternity was disproved.
- Married the legal mother of the child after the child was born and recognized the child as his own, unless such paternity has been disproved.
- Has been determined to be the father by a final paternity order.
- Has legitimated the child and who has not surrendered or had his rights to the child terminated.

Georgia maintains a putative father registry which allows fathers to make known their efforts to establish paternity. After the mother signs relinquishment, fathers registered with the putative father registry in Georgia must be contacted. After contact, these fathers have 30 days to go to court and legitimize the child.

If the father cannot be found, the mother has a right to name the father. The state makes public announcements to find the father. If after the 30 day period the father still cannot be located or refuses to go to court, the state views this act as voluntary relinquishment of parental rights.

SOURCE: Georgia Legal Aid.org

Adoption.com Georgia Wiki

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

Georgia law is not specific on which expenses hopeful adoptive parents cannot pay in regard to adoption. However, the law does state that hopeful adoptive parents and/or an adoption agency may provide pregnancy-related medical expenses for an expectant mother. Other expenses, such as living expenses, must be cleared by a court in order to avoid criminal charges. Adoption attorneys help birth mothers pass these court orders for expenses other than medical coverage.

Read more here about birth parent expenses.

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

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

Post-adoption contact agreements are enforceable in the state of Georgia. In order to be enforceable, these agreements must be in writing. The power to modify, enforce, or cancel a post-adoption contact agreement lies with the court that issued the order in the first place. However, birth or adoptive families may wave the agreement. The breaking of a post-adoption contact agreement does not nullify the adoption itself.

SOURCE: Georgia Code § 19-8-27

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

In Georgia, finalization usually takes place 45 days after birth and/or placement. The time it takes to complete an adoption depends upon the court and the knowledge of your attorney. 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 Georgia
17. Foster Adoption in Georgia

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 Georgia.

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

There are currently 7,824 children in foster care in Georgia; 250 are currently available for adoption.

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

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

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

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

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

In Georgia, a child can be placed with you for adoption by the Department of Human Services 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 Georgia.

Foster Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
21. Foster Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

Post-adoption contact agreements are not addressed by Georgia 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.

Foster Adoption: Finalization
22. Foster Adoption: Finalization

In Georgia, finalization is generally completed 45 days after placement. The time it takes to finish the adoption depends upon the court and the knowledge of your attorney. 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.

Foster Adoption: Adoption Assistance
23. Foster Adoption: Adoption Assistance

According to the Department of Human Services, Georgia offers a variety financial assistance programs for special needs children adopted from the foster care program.

Foster Adoption: A Word about the ICPC
24. Foster Adoption: A Word about the ICPC

In adopting a child from foster care, there are opportunities to adopt a child from a different state. If this is the case, you will need to comply with the requirements of The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children.

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.

 International Adoption in Georgia
25. International Adoption in Georgia

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 Georgia.

International Adoption: Photolisting
26. 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
27. 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 Georgia.

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

International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements
28. 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 Georgia
29. Stepparent Adoption in Georgia

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 Georgia.

Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights
30. 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
31. 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.

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: ws02.elevati.net