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Adoption and the necessary steps

Georgia residents who are thinking about adopting must be at least 25 years of age if they are single and need to be at least 10 years older than the children in question. Married people must be living with their spouses and must be 10 years older than the child, or children, to be adopted. Both married and single people must have resided in the state for six months before filing the paperwork to begin the adoption process.

Those interested in adopting in Georgia must start the process by contacting the Department of Family & Child Services then attending an information session. From there, interested parties must attend training offered by either their counties' DCFS or a licensed adoption agency that is contracted by DCFS. Part of the training includes a home assessment and leads to an evaluation of the family seeking to adopt. If approved after those steps, people are considered to be in pre-placement and are waiting to have children assigned to them. They also have the option to identify children who they would like to adopt. Lastly, an adoption petition must be filed after a release is sent to a parent-to-be by DCFS. A successful hearing with a superior court judge finalizes the process.

Parents or individuals who want to adopt must be willing to take on the responsibilities of a child who might not have had a stable home. There are some children who have mental or physical concerns that must be dealt with while in the care of the adopted parent or parents. All of the needs of the child from clothing to education must be met.

Those who plan on adopting children may wish to speak with family law attorneys. The process can be complicated, and guidance from legal counsel could mitigate potential issues that could prolong it.

Source: Georgia Department of Human Services, "The Adoption Process", September 15, 2014

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