Approximately 117,000 children are awaiting adoption in the United States alone. Some of these children are in long-term foster care, while others are in group homes. Maybe you have decided to adopt or are just curious about the process. If so, you may be wondering if a single parent can adopt a child.
Adoption is the social and legal process whereby an individual, typically a child, joins a family. When the adoption process is complete, the new family member has the same rights and status as a family biologically.
In Georgia, the adoption of children in the foster care system gives children access to a loving home and support system. At Platt Family Law Firm, facilitating adoptions is one of the most rewarding things we do. Read on to learn more about single-parent adoptions.
What is the Legal Definition of Being Single?
You may be in a relationship but not married, or single and not in a relationship. Either way, you can probably adopt a child in Georgia.
In the not-so-distant past, a single person applying for adoption would have been turned down. In fact, some states had laws preventing single people from adopting children. Today, many children throughout the world live with single men and women who have chosen to become parents. Single parents make up about 28% of all parents adopting from the foster care system.
More and more single parents are adopting children as single parent adoptions become more mainstream.
Qualifications for All Adoptive Parents in Georgia
To adopt a child in Georgia, a prospective adoptive parent must meet the following qualifications according to the Department of Children and Family Services:
- Be at least 21 years of age or married and living with their spouse.
- Be at least 10 years older than the child, except when the individual is a step-parent or relative of the child.
- Be a resident of Georgia at the time the petition for adoption is filed or be a resident of the receiving state when the child (adoptee) was either born in Georgia or is a resident of Georgia at the time of placement for adoption and was placed in another state in compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).
- Be financially, physically and mentally able to have permanent custody of the child. If the person seeking the adoption is married, the petition must be filed in the name of both spouses. If the person is/was the step-parent of the prospective adoptee, the petition can be filed by the step-parent alone. If the person is single, the petition can be filed solely in their name.
- Be able to take care of the child by entering into an unconditional commitment to meet the physical, emotional, medical, psychological and social needs of the child or children in their care.
The adoption process begins with an inquiry. You will receive an information packet about upcoming sessions, in response to an inquiry. It is then recommended that you attend an information session if you plan on adopting through a state agency. Georgia also offers an Adoption Preparation Program during which a family evaluation will be initiated. The family evaluation will include medical reports, criminal background checks, financial reviews and more.
Once the family evaluation is complete, a prospective adoptive parent is approved for adoption and awaits preplacement. Once a child is identified, the agency usually schedules pre-placement visits before the child is placed with the family. Finally, adoption is finalized in front of a judge.
Of course, a prospective adoptive parent can use a private agency or state agency for adoption, and the distinction is ordinarily a matter of preference.
Ready To Start the Process?
At the Platt Family Law Firm, our two decades of experience helping families is a valuable resource for you as you start the adoption process. Whether you need objective advice or a creative approach, we will make sure you understand the process and walk with you hand in hand each step of the way. Contact us today for a consultation.