In a Parental Placement Adoption, sometimes called a Private Adoption, there may be a lot of planning before the birth of the child. It may also be necessary to meet the requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. The actual legal process, however, does not begin until after the birth of the child.
While either parent or both parents may appear at the Consent Hearing, it is usually the birth mother, so I will refer to her for the remainder of this article.
The law states that the child must be at least 3 days old before the birth mother may legally give her consent to the adoption. The consent must be given in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court and must be approved by the Judge. There is an attorney who is appointed as Guardian Ad Litem for the child, in order to give an independent opinion to the Court that the adoption is in the child’s best interests. Also, a Home Study Investigtion Report will have been conducted by a licensed child placing agency, and must meet certain very specific statutory requirements. If the Judge finds the Report to be in Order and the GAL recommends the placement, the Judge will enter an Order accepting the consent of the birth mother, and the out of court consent of the birth father, and will enter an Order granting legal custody of the child to the prospective adoptive parents.
Everyone wants the Consent Hearing to be held as soon as possible, but the docket of the court and the necessity of completing the Report may delay the actual court date.
The birth mother has 7 days from the date she signed her consent to revoke that consent, and the birth father has 7 days from the date he signed his consent to revoke it.
After the Consent Hearing has taken place, the prospective adoptive parents will sign and file their Petition for Adoption in the Circuit Court, which is a higher level trial court. That Court will then enter an Interlocutory Order of Adoption, which means an adoption subject to a six month probationary period. During that period, the same social worker who wrote the report will visit the home three times in order to ensure that all is going well. The first and last visits must be at least 90 days apart. After the six months has run, the social worker will file a report of visitation and the Court will enter the Final Order of Adoption.
A new birth certificate is issued thereafter showing the adoptive parents as the parents of the child and giving whatever new name for the child that was chosen by the adoptive parents.