Adoption can be beneficial for all parties involved – birth mothers can have peace of mind that their child will be cared for, and adoptive parents can work toward completing their families. While adoption cases can be highly emotional, they are inherently legal matters.
Like every state, Alabama has strict adoption laws, requirements, and procedures that must be followed for a successful adoption.
In this edition of Lifetime’s blog series on adoption law, we provide some general information about the legal process of adoption in Alabama. For more information or to discuss your specific situation, you should not hesitate to contact a dedicated adoption attorney.
Meeting Eligibility Requirements
In order to adopt a child – or have someone else adopt your child – the adoptive parent or parents must meet specific criteria under state law. This includes:
- Being a U.S. citizen
- Being at least 19 years of age
- For married couples, being in a marriage for three years or longer, and one spouse must be a citizen
- Being in reasonably good health
- Having the ability to meet the child’s needs
- Being able to pass a criminal background check (including all adult members of the household)
In addition to the above basic requirements, an adoptive parent or parents must also be able to demonstrate that their home is suitable for an adopted child. The home study process is incredibly thorough to protect the interests of the child, and it can be very helpful to have guidance from an adoption lawyer during this process.
Home studies involve much more than state officials looking around your house. This process can include inquiries into:
- Your suitability as adoptive parents
- Your home’s suitability for a child
- The reason why the birth mother or parents are placing their child for adoption
- Any legal cases regarding current children or the adopted child
- The medical history of the birth parents and child
- The income of the adoptive parents and their ability to cover adoption and child-raising expenses
- Any other issues found to be relevant to the adoption in question
Too many people make mistakes during the pre-adoption process that can delay or jeopardize their approval as an adoption resource. It is critical that you let an adoption attorney guide you through this process.
Getting a Final Adoption
Once a birth mother and approved adoptive parents agree to proceed with an adoption, the child generally lives with the adoptive parents for 60 days before the court will issue the adoption order. The adoption can then be challenged for one year before it is completely final.
Seeking the Right Legal Help
During this process, there can be stress for all parties involved. Taking the stress of the legal requirements and process off your shoulders helps you to focus on what’s most important – the child involved.
The adoption attorneys at the law firm of Cloud, Ryan & Rouse, LLC in Alabama help both birth mothers and adoptive parents every step of the way throughout an adoption and are here to support you. They can communicate directly with clients in both English and Spanish, and are ready to help you today.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”