The concept of family is something that is treasured and special. Families come in all forms: biological, adoptive, or a combination of both. There is nothing in the world to describe the moment that arrives on the final court appearance day or “happy adoption day”. This day, for adoptive families, can feature so many moments of gratitude as they take a big step toward welcoming the baby to their family.
Placing a child with an adoptive family through open adoption means the adoptive family has been chosen by the baby’s birth mother or birth parents. This ability to choose helps birth moms and extended birth families feel confident knowing the baby will be going to a family that will love, protect, and cherish him or her.
Adoptive parents that walk out of the hospital with a new child to raise will be very excited about their brand new life together. This moment is the beginning of a new chapter.
However, one final detail needs to be in place before the happy adoption day: the final adoption court hearing that will officially recognize them as the adoptive parents.
How long does it take for everything to be fully complete?
Each adoption timeline is different. Every state and local court has different adoption laws in place that can adjust the timing significantly. Generally, however, most adoption finalization court hearings happen within six months. But in some cases, it can take up to a year or more for domestic adoptions to run their course from putting a baby up for adoption until the adoptive family gets the birth certificate.
There are a variety of post-placement requirements that must be met in order for things to be legally complete. As always, these vary by state. Requirements may include multiple post-placement visits as well as reports on the progress of the adopted child.
Our team at Lifetime Adoption helps adoptive parents learn about this process and secure qualified adoption attorneys and home study providers who coordinate together to see an adoption to completion.
We understand that it can be overwhelming and a bit confusing at times; that’s why we help keep the lines of communication open.
Once the judge officially finalizes the adoption, many families choose to celebrate! What that celebration looks like is up to the family. Pictures of the special day and even a party to commemorate the occasion are great ideas! The party could include a mix of family and friends, and many families choose to invite the birth mother, too.
If the birth mother has indicated that she wants to stay in touch with the adoptive family and her child, keeping in contact with her is usually more than welcome.
Don’t hesitate to ask our team at Lifetime Adoption for advice on this. Because we work closely with the birth mothers and adoptive families on an individual basis, we understand that each case is unique and that different circumstances surround each one.
Finalizing the Adoption
Many adoption finalizations take place via Zoom conferencing or by phone. In some cases, finalizations happen without the family there, as the adoption is often finalized in the state where the baby was born rather than the state where the adoptive family resides. Some states process adoptions quietly, and others find judges excited for many people in the courtroom to witness this special adoption finalization day.
Every state and every county is different regarding the finalization process and the celebratory aspects of this blessed day. In fact, some families don’t know the adoption is finalized until they get something in the mail!
In November, courts often celebrate more with open finalizations as it is National Adoption Awareness Month. On a personal level, however, some adoptive families celebrate what they call “Homecoming Day,” “Family Day,” “Gotcha Day,” “Happy Adoption Day,”or “Adoption Day.”
Lifetime Adoption: A Domestic Open Adoption Agency
Are you wondering more about what it takes to adopt a baby? We understand that you probably have many different questions that need to be answered and clarified before you step into the journey of finding the child that God has meant for you.
Everything you share with Lifetime Adoption remains confidential. We will help you create an adoption plan that is unique to your situation.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 3, 2021, and has since been updated.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.