Many families may be started or grow because of adoption and the adoption process. For that reason, potential adoptive parents considering adoption should be familiar with the adoption process and how family law legal tools and resources can help them as they begin their family or as their family expands through the adoption process.
The steps of the adoption process
There are several steps in the process of adopting a child in Mississippi including:
- Petition for adoption – the potential adoptive parents file a petition for adoption where they live or where the child was born, currently lives or was abandoned. This can include where the child currently lives if they live in a foster home or other institutional setting.
- Doctor’s certificate – a certificate from a doctor will be provided documenting the child’s physical and mental health. If the child has a physical or mental health condition, the potential adoptive parents must sign an affidavit acknowledging their awareness of the condition.
- Consent – adoption requires written consent of the biological parents to the adoption. Two relatives may be able to provide consent if the child’s parents are deceased. Others, including the child’s guardian or social worker in certain situations, may be able to provide consent if the child’s parents are unknown.It is wise to obtain consent of both biological parents whenever possible and it is also necessary to abide by the 3-day waiting period after the birth of the child for consent forms to be signed.
- Court order – once the potential adoptive parents have obtained necessary consent and made the property filing, the family law court may grant them temporary custody of the child for up to six months or may enter the final adoption judgment right away. The adoption may also be ruled against by the family law court.
Once the adoption is complete, an updated birth certificate is issued and after the age of 21, the adopted child may be able to obtain the identity of their biological birth parents unless the biological parents prohibited release of the records. Hereditary disease information may be available to the child or adoptive parents once the child reaches 18 years old. All adoption-related documents are confidential and cannot be released without consent. The adoption process is an important process with many emotional aspects to it but it is also important that the legal requirements that are also part of the process are addressed for a successful adoption.