Adoption Law References
Adoption is the most permanent of the legal relationship options, and creates forever grandfamilies both inside and outside the foster care system. If you will be adopting a child born in a different state, you may need to know about both states’ laws.
The first legal step in adoption is the termination of the parental rights of a child’s birthparents. The final step is the finalization of adoption in court, making you your child’s permanent, legal parents. Along the way, there are many points where adoption laws will have an effect on your child’s adoption.
Termination of Parental Rights
This is a legal process involving a court hearing during which a judge issues a decree that permanently ends all legal parental rights of a birth parent to a child. This must occur before a child is considered to be legally free for adoption. Termination of parental rights can be voluntary or involuntary, that is, with or without the birthparents’ agreement. In some states, there is a period during which the birthparent may appeal, if rights have been terminated without his or her consent. The length of that period varies from state to state.
The National Center for Adoption Law & Policy
The US. National Center for Adoption Law & Policy seeks to improve the law, policies, and practices associated with child protection and adoption systems.
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, youth, and families by connecting child welfare, adoption, and related professionals as well as the public to information, resources, and tools covering topics on child welfare, child abuse and neglect, out-of-home care, adoption, and more.
A service of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we provide access to print and electronic publications, websites, databases, and online learning tools for improving child welfare practice, including resources that can be shared with families.
- Ask AF: Letting a Preteen Take the Lead in a Birth Parent Relationshipby Katie Naftzger, LICSW on February 21, 2020 at 5:44 pm
"At what age should we start letting our daughter take the lead in birth parent contact? I know that my daughter will be able to call her birth mom freely when she gets her own cellphone, so how do we step back responsibly?"
- How to Be an Anti-Racist Adoptive Parentby Beth Hall on August 7, 2020 at 7:00 am
For years, many white adoptive parents of children of color have sought to claim the relatively passive “not-racist” identity, but now is the time to push beyond self-examination into action and become an anti-racist family. Learn how to interrogate your own white privilege; talk with your child about systemic racism, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others, and the resulting Black Lives Matter protests; and commit to working toward justice.
- Mothering Children of Color Who Are Becoming Adultsby Jessica O'Dwyer on June 12, 2020 at 1:43 pm
As my children move into the world without me, I can’t protect them the way I could when they were little. I can’t assume that their lives and actions will be cloaked with the same privilege I was born with.
- Thank You, Bàbaby Jeff Seitzer on September 22, 2020 at 10:00 am
Six months after she came home to us, our daughter stopped speaking. As I searched for clues as to her sudden silence, I became profoundly grateful to her Chinese foster father, a man I had never met, for teaching me a valuable lesson about selfless love.
- The Grammar of Untold Stories: An Interview with Lois Melinaby Lois Melina on March 17, 2021 at 7:05 pm
Lois Melina has been a voice of wisdom and authority in the world of adoption for decades. We connected with Melina upon the publication of her latest book, The Grammar of Untold Stories,a collection of personal essays, to discuss immigration and international adoption, transracial adoption and the Black Lives Matter movement, and the many ways adoption and infertility continue to surface in her writing.
- “Breathing”by Jennifer Zeuli on January 15, 2021 at 1:28 am
As I prepared to adopt my second child, I welcomed the home study worker into a perfectly clean and ordered home. The scene that greeted her at her post-placement visit was, well, different—but much more real.
- “From Grief to Joy”by Vicki Breitbart on November 30, 2021 at 2:57 am
When you lose a parent or grandparent, you mourn the past. When you lose a child, as I lost my 24-year-old daughter, you grieve for the future that will not be. By adopting after this unimaginable tragedy, I wasn’t aiming to bury my grief or to start over, but to start a new beginning.
- “From Waiting Mom to Flexible Working Mom”by Corey Schaut on February 21, 2020 at 5:44 pm
Adoption allowed me to fulfill my dream of finally becoming a mother, and my flexible work schedule allows me to be the mom I’ve always wanted to be. Here’s how you can make it work, too.
- “It Takes No Special Power to Love a Child”by May M. Tchao on July 30, 2021 at 5:05 pm
As she anticipates the release of her documentary Hayden & Her Family, the filmmaker reconnects with the mother of 12 she profiled to discuss special needs adoption, parenting outside “normal” boundaries, and how loving a child changes you.
- “On Parenting from Afar”by Shelly Roy, LCSW on February 21, 2020 at 5:43 pm
Once, I grieved the loss of a biological child. Nineteen years later, as I watch my son leap and soar (literally) into adulthood, I am at peace with my role of nurturing the many gifts built into his nature.