Adoption is a legal process that creates a new, permanent parent-child relationship. If you are looking to adopt, you may be wondering “what are the requirements to adopt a child in Georgia?”. The answer is that it depends on the type of adoption you are pursuing – however generally, you must be 21 years old, and if you are married both you and your spouse must adopt the child, and you have to be able to care for the child, financially, mentally, emotionally, etc.
The rest of this article provides an overview of the adoption requirements and processes in Georgia for the different types of adoptions, explaining each step in a language that’s easy to understand.
How to Adopt a Child in Georgia
The process of adopting a child in Georgia begins with choosing the type of adoption you want to pursue: relative, private, stepparent, or foster care adoption. Each of these types has its own specific requirements and processes, which we’ll delve into later in this article.
Requirements for Adopting a Child in Georgia
Regardless of the type of adoption, potential adoptive parents must meet certain general requirements, like we stated before.
They must be at least 21 years old, or married and living with their spouse.
They must be at least 10 years older than the child they wish to adopt (unless it’s a relative or stepparent adoption).
They must also be physically and mentally capable of raising a child, and financially stable.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Adopt a Child in Georgia
In Georgia, potential adoptive parents must be at least 21 years old if they are single. If they are married, they must live with their spouse. Moreover, they must be at least 10 years older than the child they wish to adopt – except in the case of a relative or stepparent adoption, where this requirement is waived.
How Long Does it Take to Adopt a Child in Georgia
The length of the adoption process in Georgia varies depending on the type of adoption.
It also depends on if the biological parents consent to their termination of parental rights (faster) or if you must ask the court to involuntarily terminate the rights (takes a lot longer).
Generally, it can take anywhere from a few months for a relative adoption to a few years for a foster to adopt process.
Relative Adoption Process in Georgia – Overview
A relative adoption happens when a child is adopted by a member of their biological or legal (by marriage) family so long as they are in one of these categories: grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle, great aunt, great uncle, or sibling.
In Georgia, these adoptions usually take less time as they may not require home studies. However, the court will still have to approve the adoption to ensure it’s in the best interest of the child. And, if a biological parent is refusing to terminate their rights, it will of course take longer to petition the court to terminate their parental rights.
Private Adoption Process in Georgia – Overview
Private adoptions involve adopting a child through a private agency or individual. This process requires a completed home study, criminal background checks, and sometimes, a period of post-placement supervision.
Depending on the situation, it can take several months or a few years – longer for international adoptions.
However, you generally do not have to deal with petitioning the court to involuntarily terminate the biological parents’ rights, so that does make the process somewhat faster and smoother.
Stepparent Adoption Process in Georgia – Overview
In a stepparent adoption, the spouse of a child’s legal parent adopts the child. The consent of both biological parents is typically required unless one parent’s rights have been terminated. A home study may not be necessary in this type of adoption.
Foster to Adopt Georgia
Foster to adopt is a process where a child is placed into a home as a foster child with the intention that the foster parents will eventually adopt them. This process can take a few years since the primary goal of foster care is usually reunification with the biological family. It can be a rough emotional rollercoaster since it does not always result in adoption, but it can be worth it, to give a loving, stable home to a child who needs it.
Cost of Adoption in Georgia
The cost of adoption in Georgia varies depending on the type of adoption. Relative and stepparent adoptions are typically the least expensive, for several thousands of dollars, while private agency and international adoptions can cost several tens of thousands of dollars. You also may able to get adoption assistance if you adopt a child in foster care.
Remember, adopting a child is a significant decision. It’s essential to understand the law and processes involved to ensure a smooth journey – starting with what the requirements are to be able to adopt.
Consider seeking legal advice to help navigate through the complexities of adoption in Georgia.