Thinking of adopting a child in Alabama? Here’s a helpful checklist that explains how the process works.
Individuals and couples turn to adoption for many different reasons. However, before you can adopt a child in Alabama, you need to be sure that you meet the state’s basic requirements prior to you filling out an application. Some of these basic requirements include:
- You are over the age of 19.
- If you are married, you must be married for at least three years.
- Either you or your spouse must be a U.S. citizen.
- You must have adequate housing & personal space for the child or children you intend on adopting.
- You must be healthy enough so that you are able to meet a child’s needs.
- You must be willing to undergo a thorough background check, which includes looking at your criminal history, if applicable.
Once you’ve established that you meet the initial requirements the state has set to adopt a child, you can complete the online inquiry form or call 866-4AL-KIDS. After that is completed, you can request to receive an Application to Adopt. Once the form is completed, you will need to return it to the county Department of Human Resources. Prior to filling out the Application to Adopt, you should consider consulting with an Alabama family law attorney who can help you file out the application. An Alabama family law lawyer will not only ensure that you have filled out the application correctly, but they can also discuss with you the process that is about to ensue and how your circumstances might affect the overall outcome.
What happens once an Application to Adopt is submitted to the Department of Human Resources?
After your application has been received, you will likely be contacted regarding attending Trauma Informed Partnering for Permanence and Safety (TIPS) meetings. “TIPS is a program designed specifically to educate potential adoptive and foster parent families on a variety of pertinent topics on their upcoming adoption experience.” Some of the topics that are covered during these meetings include, but are not limited to:
- Discussing the children who are available for adoption.
- The impact the adoption could have on your family.
- Behavior management techniques
- Separation and loss issues
The program is comprised of 10 meetings which totals out to 30 classroom hours. Aside from this, you can expect that a social worker will schedule a time where they can interview you and other family members that are living in your home.
Some of the main goals these TIPS meetings aim to achieve include:
- Determine if adoption is right for you.
- Help you decide what type of child will fit best in your family.
- Help you assess your family’s strengths and needs.
If you are approved to adopt a child in Alabama, the time between you receiving correspondence acknowledging your approval and having a child placed in your home can vary as it depends on the children who are available as well as the characteristics you are looking for in them. However, when the time comes for you to begin choosing a child, you will be given the opportunity to review background information on them. During this time, you will be able to ask questions and bring up any concerns you might have so that they can be addressed.
In the event you decide you are a suitable parent to a child, you will meet them in pre-placement visits. If you decide after these visits that you can provide a home for that child, then you will move onto the next step which is signing a placement agreement. After this is signed and the child lives with you for at least three months, the next step is “the sanction by the court system that the child is legally your own.”
Once you get to this point, a social worker will provide you with the Department’s Consent to Adopt so that you can start the legal process in the Probate Court. It is especially important that during this time, you have an Alabama family law attorney representing you so that the process runs as smoothly as possible.
Ready to adopt in Alabama or learn more about the process?
Adopting a child is a big step, therefore, it is important that all the information you receive is precise and accurate. The lawyers at Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C., want to help you understand what it is the state is looking for that will allow you to adopt a child. The adoption process is a lengthy one, but this team of family law attorneys is prepared to help you each step of the way so that you are able to provide a home to a child who is looking for a better life for themselves.
If you’re looking to make the adoption process more rewarding and less complicated, contact Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C. today.
Disclaimer: No representation is made that quality of legal services provided is greater than the quality of legal services provided by other attorneys.
Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C. can be reached at:
2603 Moody Parkway, Suite 200
Moody, Alabama 35004
Phone: (205) 640-2000
7900 Parkway Drive
Leeds, AL 35094
Phone: (205) 699-5500
6441 U.S. Highway 11
Springville, Alabama 35146
Phone: (205) 467-2225