Adoption is a huge decision that impacts everyone in the family. There are many steps to adopting a child in Georgia. Learning about what is going to happen can sometimes diminish stress as you work through everything.
The adoption process isn't going to be speedy. Each step you must take will require time. For example, Georgia law requires that potential adoptive parents attend an information session prior to beginning the pre-service training. From there, other things must also be done before an adoption is finalized.
What is the pre-service training?
Pre-service training is offered by the Department of Family and Children Services. Some private adoption agencies will offer a program through a contract with DFCS. At a minimum, the program requires you to have 23 hours of training in a classroom. You must have already gone through the two-hour information session and have an in-home initial visit before you can begin the pre-service training.
What is the home study or family evaluation?
While some people know it as a home study, this process is known as a family evaluation. This process is started during the pre-service training. You will need to gather some basic information, such as financial statements and medical reports to hand over for review. Georgia doesn't require potential adoptive parents to own a home or have an opposite-sex marriage. Many people don't realize this and think they won't ever be able to adopt.
You will also need a criminal background check, fingerprinting and home visits. You also need to discuss your views on adoption. The average home study takes around three to six months, but can take longer depending on the circumstances of the case. All of this is done to ensure the safety of the child who is going to be placed with the adoptive parents, so this timeframe is well worth the wait.
What happens next?
Once you have completed the information session, pre-service training and home study, you can have a child placed with you for adoption. You will sign a placement agreement once you find the child who will fit into your family. The final step in the adoption process is heading to the county Superior Court Judge to finalize the adoption, which means the child is forever yours.
There might be other components to the adoption. These are personal journeys that vary individually. You should take steps to protect your interests and learn about any available resources.