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What steps are involved in adopting a child?

If you are thinking about adopting a child in Alabama, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the steps involved. Adopting a child is one of the most important processes you will go through in life, and knowing what to expect can take away some of the anxiety that can arise.

Before any steps can be taken toward adopting a child, you must make sure that you qualify. In addition to being ready, willing and able to care for a child, Alabama law has certain requirements that must be met before an individual or couple can be allowed to legally adopt, including:

  • You must be older than 19-years-old.
  • If you are married, you must be married for at least three years.
  • You (or your spouse) must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must have proper housing and space for a child.
  • You must be healthy enough to care for a child.
  • You must go through a thorough background check.

If you meet all of these requirements, you can go on to the procedural steps involved:

1. Fill out and submit the Application to Adopt to the county Department of Human Resources.

2. Attend Group Preparation and Selection (GPS) meetings.

3. Wait for your approval as an adoptive resource by the County Department of Human Resources.

4. Review background information and meet children in pre-placement visits.

5. After a child is placed in your home and lives with you for at least three months you can begin the legal process to adopt in the Probate Court.

6. The adoption is finalized by the court and you begin your future as a family.

As you can see, adoption is a complex legal process in Alabama that the court takes very seriously. Once you have made the decision to adopt, it would be a good idea to meet with a family law attorney who can help you get through the steps as smoothly as possible.

For more general information on Alabama’s adoption process and requirements, see the state’s Department of Human Resources checklist.