In this article, we’re taking a look at the Alabama Adoption Procedures. We also discuss how you can get started with your own adoption process.
Embarking on the adoption process is a huge life-changing moment. Both in the lives of the adoptive parents and the child or children being adopted.
In many cases, parents adopting children are doing so because they cannot have children of their own. Children in need of adoption are typically in the care system and experience some form of trauma in their lives.
It’s a scary, exciting, intense, and emotional process on both sides. This is why there are strict guidelines in place to make sure the process is as smooth and as successful as possible for all parties.
Don’t let the process put you off, however. With the help of an adoption attorney, it can be a smooth and rewarding experience. If you’re interested in adopting in the state of Alabama, below is everything you need to know about the procedures in place.
Step 1 – Meet the Alabama Adoption Requirements
There are several basic requirements adoptive parents must meet to be eligible for adopting a child in the state of Alabama. The Alabama Department of Human Resources clearly defines these.
The State Office of Adoption considers individual circumstances. Families can still request an exemption if one or more of these requirements are not met, however.
Meeting the following requirements may strengthen and speed up your application process:
- Criminal background checks will be carried out on everyone living in your home above the age of 19 years or older
- Applicants (the adoptive parents) must be at least 19 years of age
- You must meet their health requirements to demonstrate you’re in good enough health to care for children
- At least one of the parents must be a U.S. citizen if you’re married and adopting together
- If you’re married, you must have been married for at least 3 years
- You must have enough space and adequate housing for the number of children you’re applying to adopt
- You will have to submit a financial statement to prove you are financially stable enough to support a child
Step 2 – Apply for Adoption Information
When you believe you meet all of the above requirements, the next step is to request a submittal form. This is the first point of contact between you and the State, so it’s important to be sure you’re as ready as you can be.
You can fill out an Adoption Care Inquiry form here. You’ll be sent some information in the mail. Also, someone from the Adoption & Foster Care team at the Alabama Department of Human Resources will contact you.
Step 3 – Attend Trauma Informed Partnering for Permanence and Safety (TIPS)
When your application has been received and processed, you’ll be contacted to attend meetings called Trauma Informed Partnering for Permanence and Safety (TIPS).
TIPS spans a total of 10 meetings totaling 30 hours. The program explains the adoption process in more detail and warms prospective adoptive parents to the process.
It’s your chance to both learn about adoption, as well as some of the children who are available, and what to expect. It also provides an outlet to ask any questions or discuss your fears, concerns, and ideas. Furthermore, you can share whatever you’re feeling with other people on the same journey.
Obviously, if you’re ready to adopt, you know how big of an impact it’s going to have on you and your family. Adoptive parents have found TIPS meetings to be an invaluable part of the process as it prepares everyone involved.
Step 4 – Wait for Approval
Waiting is always hard. It’s especially difficult when something as important as waiting to be approved to adopt a child or children.
The approval process can vary a good deal, so it’s not possible to give you an idea of how long you’ll have to wait. All we can suggest is that you use this time to prepare yourself for the life-changing event ahead of you.
During this period, you will receive the Waiting Children Newsletter. This newsletter profiles some of the children awaiting adoption. When your application has been processed, the County Department of Human Resources will reach out to you.
Step 5 – Pre-Placement Visits and Background Information
After you’ve been approved to adopt, The State Office of Adoption will provide you with background details of children in need of placement.
You will have the opportunity to review the children’s background information. You can also ask any questions you have before meeting the children.
When you do want to move forward, they arrange pre-placement visits. Pre-placement visits will vary in length, and the number of visits will also depend on how the child behaves before, during, and after the visits.
It’s almost impossible to say how long this part of the process will take. It’s something you must discuss with your social worker, as it’s case-dependent.
Step 6 – Filing the Legal Paperwork
When your social worker and the child is happy with the pre-placement visits, they will place the child into your home. After the child or children have been living in your home full-time for at least 3 months, you can start the legal process of adopting them.
Your social worker will give you the Department’s Consent to Adopt. This is essentially stating that all parties agree that this is in the child’s best interest.
You can then begin the legal process of legally adopting the child. This is a step we advise retaining an attorney’s services experienced in handling child adoption cases in Alabama.
We’re sure you have enough on your mind at this time. The last thing you want to do is stress over the legal terms and deadlines. An adoption attorney can handle everything on your behalf and leave no room for error.
You Don’t Need To Go Through The Alabama Adoption Procedures Alone
Adopting a child is an emotionally-draining process. It would be best if you didn’t have to shoulder the burden of navigating the Alabama adoption procedures alone.
Attorney Warren Freeman is an experienced family law attorney. He has more than 20 years of experience handling adoption cases on behalf of expectant adoptive parents in the state of Alabama.
Whatever step you’re at in the process of adopting a child, call us at (256) 253-3169 or fill out a form on our contact page to find out how we can help.
We’ll get right back to you and arrange a time for a free consultation to discuss your individual circumstances.