Adoption in Alabama
Adoption in Alabama
Are you an Alabama resident looking to adopt or place your child for adoption? Are you unsure of where to begin? We’ve got you covered. The following information will help you navigate the process in Alabama and answer some frequently asked questions about adoption, as well as provide some resources to help guide you along the way.
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What you need to know about placing your child for Adoption in Alabama
Making the decision to place your child for adoption can be one of the toughest, but selfless choices you make, but being well-informed about the process may help ease some of your stress. The following information will provide some important factors to think about when considering placing your child for adoption in Alabama.
Who must consent to an Alabama adoption and how does it work?
Consent to adoption in Alabama is required by the following:
- The Birth Mom
- The Presumed Father, regardless of paternity, if:
- He and the child’s mother attempted to marry each other before the child was born
- He and the child’s mother are or have been married to each other and the child was born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage was terminated
- The agency or relative having custody of the child
- The Putative Father, if made known by the Birth Mom, provided he complies and responds to the notice within 30 days.
- The child if they are 14 years or older
Prior to a minor Birth Parent giving consent, a guardian ad litem must be appointed to represent the minor’s interests. If the Birth Father is a minor and the court finds he has given consent by his actions, it is not necessary to appoint a guardian ad litem.
When is Consent Not Necessary for adoption in Alabama?
Consent is not required for an adoption in Alabama from the following:
- A deceased parent
- A parent whose parental rights have been terminated
- The alleged Birth Father is he signs a written statement denying his paternity
- The Birth Father is the Birth Mother indicated he is unknown
- A parent who has relinquished their child to an adoption agency of the Department of Human Resources
- A parent who is declared mentally incapable of giving adoption consent and is likely to remain incapable for a long period of time
Consent is implied by the child’s Birth Parent or guardian in Alabama from the following actions:
- Abandonment of a child
- Failing to respond to an adoption notice within 30 days of receiving the notice
- Intentionally leaving the child with or without support or communication for 6 months
- Leaving a child without provisions of their identification for 30 days
Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption?
In Alabama, consent or relinquishment of a child cannot be revoked, unless:
- The court finds the revocation to be in the child’s best interest within 14 days of the child’s birth or 14 days of the relinquishment, whichever comes latest
- The consent and relinquishment of the child is found to be obtained by fraud, mistake, or undue influence from the Adoptive Parents
- After 1 year of the final adoption decree, consent cannot be challenged in court for any reasons, except for cases where the child was kidnapped.
After 1 year of the adoption finalization, consent may not be challenged for any reason. Consent implied by abandonment of a child may not be revoked at any time in Alabama.
Birth Father Rights in Alabama?
In Alabama, a Presumed Father has the right to be notified of any adoption proceeding regarding their child if he is registered with the Putative Father Registry. In order to do so, he must register prior to the child’s birth of within the first 30 days of the child’s life.
A Birth Father may revoke his claim to paternity at any time, but irrevocable consent to adoption will be implied if he fails to acknowledge his paternity in the first 30 days.
A man is considered the Presumed Birth Father in Alabama if:
- He and the Birth Mother are married at the time the child is born
- He and the Birth Mother were married and the child is born within 300 days of the marriage ending
- He supports the child as his own, both emotionally and financially, while the child is still a minor
- After the child is born, he and the Birth Mother get married and
- He acknowledges his paternity in writing; or
- With his consent, he is acknowledged the child’s father on the birth certificate; or
- He is obligated to support the child by court order
Adopting a child in Alabama
Adoption is no easy decision, but it is a life-changing one, so it is important that you understand the process before you begin your journey. Continue reading from more information about the adoption process in Alabama or scroll to the end of the article for a list of adoption agencies to help get you started.
What are the Laws and Requirements for Adopting a Child in Alabama?
In Alabama, you may adopt regardless of your marital status; however, if married, both the husband and wife must be at least 19 years old and married for 3 years. You must be a U.S. citizen to adopt a child and can come from any religious faith of background.
If you meet these requirements, you must then pass the home study process, pass criminal background checks, prove financial stability, provide medical reports that prove you are in good health, and be willing to provide for any special needs to the child you wish to adopt.
How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Child in Alabama?
Alabama adoption expenses may vary depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. International adoption will be different from a domestic adoption, and adoption from a private agency will be different from a government agency. Regardless of the type of adoption you decide to pursue, here are a few expenses you may need to consider when becoming an Adoptive Parent:
- Medical expenses for the Birth Mother and child
- Rent for the Birth Mother
- Legal and agency fees
- Counseling services
- Travel expenses related to the adoption
All payments from Prospective Adoptive Parents to the Birth Mother should be related to the adoption and approved by court.
How can I Become a Foster Parent in Alabama?
To become a foster parent in Alabama, a person must:
- Be at least 19 years old
- If married, be married for at least one year
- Have financial stability to care for the child
- Pass a criminal background check and child abuse registry check (applicable to all household members 19 years and older)
- Be physically and emotionally able to care for the child
- Complete foster parent training
- Complete a home safety inspection
- Complete a home study
- Be First Aid and CPR certified for infants, children, and adults
- Provide references
Can you finalize an international adoption in Alabama?
In order to adopt a child internationally, the child must be from a country that is a part of the Hague Convention, which is an international agreement that establishes standard adoption practices for intercountry adoptions.
- Be a U.S. Citizen
- If married, your spouse must also be a U.S. Citizen or have legal status and together you must file for adoption
- Pass criminal background checks, the home study process and fingerprinting
- If unmarried, be at least 25 years old
Who can Legally Facilitate an Alabama Adoption?
There are many agencies, attorneys, and facilitators offering adoption services in Alabama, so it is important to understand the differences between them.
Agencies are regulated businesses and attorneys are experts in adoption law, both licensed and trained in adoption processes.
Adoption Facilitators are individuals who are usually unlicensed and unregulated that match Prospective Adoptive Parents with expectant Birth Mothers.
In Alabama, it is illegal for any adoption agency or person to provide advertising claiming they will adopt or assist in the adoption process. It is also illegal to use any unlicensed person or agency, such as a facilitator, to assist with any adoption proceedings.
A facilitator will help advertise and match his or her client with an expectant Birth Mom, but once they have made a match, the facilitator will then refer their clients to a licensed adoption professional to complete the process.
Home Study and Post Placement Requirements in Alabama
What is a Home Study and What Happens During the Process?
Before adopting a child, a Prospective Adoptive Parent and his or her family must undergo a home study to assess their ability to care for a child and provide a safe, stable home environment. This process will also help determine what kind of adoption is appropriate for the family and what child will fit best within their lifestyle.
In Alabama, the home study process will include and require the following:
- Interviews with the applicants
- At least one in-home visit
- Criminal background checks
- Investigation of financial status and ability to care for the child
- Interviews with at least 2 references
- Information regarding the reason for adoption
- Information about the applicant’s family background
- Completion of adoption training courses
- An evaluation to determine what type of child is the best fit for the applicants
- Any other information found to be relevant
While this process is to ensure that adoption is in the best interest of both the child and family, it is also a time for the family to ask questions, make any necessary adjustments, and prepare for a new member to the family.
Who Oversees a Home Dtudy in Alabama and Who is Included in it?
For an Alabama adoption, the home study process will be an investigation of the Prospective Adoptive Parents. Any of the following may conduct and facilitate the home study process:
- The Department of Human Resources
- A licensed child placing agency
- A licensed social worker
Why would my home study not be approved?
In Alabama, if any adult living in the home is found of the following, it may be grounds for disapproval of your home study and eligibility to adopt:
- A sex crime
- Drug or alcohol related offenses
- Any crime against a child
- Serious intentional or negligent physical injury, danger, or death of any person
- Intrusion of property or use of a weapon to secure property
An exception may be made for past convictions if the adult can provide proof of rehabilitation; however, no expectation will be made for someone convicted of a sex crime or crime against a child.
What are the home study requirements for adopting a child from another state?
If you are a resident of Alabama, but are presented with the opportunity to adopt a child who was born in another state, you must comply with the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, which is a contract among the states to ensure safe adoptions across state lines.
Is a Home Study Different for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions?
In Alabama, a home study is not required for stepparent of relative adoptions unless specified by court order.
What are the Requirements for a Foster to Adopt Placement in Alabama?
“Foster to Adopt” is when a foster parent or family decides to adopt a foster child that is currently in their care.
The goal of foster care is to eventually reunite the child with his or her family, but in the case that reunification is not an option, the foster parents may be eligible to adopt the child. In Alabama, the following will be assessed when adoption is being considered:
- The child’s attachment to his or her foster parents
- The amount of time the child has been in the foster home
- The Birth Parents level of involvement in the child’s life
- The foster parent’s health and income
- The age of the child in relation to his or her foster parents
- The overall appropriateness of the foster home placement
What is a Post-Placement Requirement and What Happens During the Process?
A post placement assessment is an evaluation of the child’s integration into the adoptive family’s home that takes place before the adoption can be finalized. It is meant to ensure that the child and family were a good fit for adoption.
In Alabama, the assessment will begin when the child goes home with the Adoptive family and must be completed within 30 days of the placement.
Alabama Adoption Agencies and Professionals
Going through the adoption process can feel overwhelming at times, but the adoption professionals in Alabama are eager to help you throughout your journey. Whether you are looking to adopt a child or deciding to place your child for adoption, the following agencies are ready to offer you support, advice, and answers to your questions as you pursue the adoption process:
Is your adoption journey bringing you to the football-loving state of Alabama? Here’s a list of some of the states’ most exciting spots to visit while you await the process:
Alligator Alley in Summerdale
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham
Battleship USS Alabama in Mobile
Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham
McWane Science Center in Birmingham