WHAT IS AN ADOPTION?
the legal procedure through which a minor is recognized by law as being
the son or daughter of the adopting adult(s) and as having all of the
rights and duties of such relationship including the right of
inheritance. The adoptee takes the name designated by the petitioner.
WHO MAY ADOPT?
who is 19 or older. The Adoption Code specifically prohibits
discrimination in granting adoptions on the basis of marital status or
WHO CAN BE ADOPTED?
defined as being a person under the age of nineteen.
WHAT STEPS ARE USUALLY INVOLVED IN AN ADOPTION?
All necessary consents and/or relinquishments concerning the adoption
Guardian ad litem is appointed when either natural parent of the adoptee
is a minor or in case of a contested hearing.
Petition court for authority to pay fees or expenses.
Placement of child with petitioners.
File petition for adoption 30 days after placement.
Serve notice or obtain waiver of notice on or from all parties entitled
to notice of the adoption.
Post placement investigation.
Affidavits of non-payment.
Accounting of disbursements.
WHAT IS A PRE-PLACEMENT INVESTIGATION?
It is an investigation conducted for the purpose of determining the
suitability of each petitioner and the home in which the adoptee will be
placed. The investigation will include a criminal background search and
will focus on any other circumstances relevant to the placement of the
IS IT ALWAYS NECESSARY TO HAVE A PRE-PLACEMENT INVESTIGATION?
the persons seeking to adopt is a close relative of the adoptee as
listed in 26-10A-27; 26-10A-28 of the Code of Alabama.
WHOSE CONSENT TO THE ADOPTION IS REQUIRED?
The adoptee, if 14 years or older unless mentally incapable of giving
The adoptee's mother.
The adoptee's presumed father if he meets the requirements set out in
26-10A-7(c) of the Code of Alabama.
The agency to whom the adoptee has been relinquished or which holds
permanent custody except that a court may grant an adoption without the
agency's consent when it would be in the child's best interest and the
agency's withholding of consent is unreasonable.
The putative father if known; provided that he responds within 30 days
after receiving notice of the adoption.
CAN A MINOR CONSENT TO THE ADOPTION OF HIS OR HER CHILD?
however prior to such consent the court must appoint the minor parent a
guardian ad litem to represent the minor's interests. A minor who is 14
years of age or older can nominate a guardian ad litem to protect his or
CAN A PERSON REVOKE A CONSENT TO ADOPTION EXECUTED BY HIM OR HER
DUE TO THE FACT THAT AT THE TIME CONSENT WAS GIVEN THAT PERSON WAS A
No, a consent or relinquishment executed by a parent who is a minor
shall not be subject to revocation by reason of such minority.
WHEN, WHERE AND IN WHAT FORM MUST A CONSENT OR RELINQUISHMENT FOR
ADOPTION BE GIVEN?
or relinquishment for adoption may be given at any time. The prebirth
consent of the mother must be signed or confirmed before a probate
judge. All other prebirth or post-birth consent or relinquishments must
be signed or confirmed before the Probate Judge or clerk of the Probate
Court, or someone appointed by that court to do such, a person appointed
by the agency conducting the investigation or a notary public. The
consent or relinquishment must be in substantially the same form as
provided in the adoption code and must be in writing and signed by the
person consenting or relinquishing.
WHEN MAY A CONSENT OR RELINQUISHMENT BE WITHDRAWN?
or relinquishment may be withdrawn for any reason five days after the
birth of the adoptee or five days after the signing of the consent or
relinquishment whichever occurs later. The time to withdraw the consent
or relinquishment can be expanded to 14 days if the court finds that
such a delay is reasonable under the circumstances and is in the best
interest of the child.
WHERE IS A PETITION FOR ADOPTION FILED?
for adoption may be filed in the probate court of any of the following
counties: where the minor resides; where the petitioner resides or is in
military service, or where the office of the agency or institution
having guardianship or custody of the minor is located.
WHEN IS A PETITION FOR ADOPTION FILED?
adoption petition must be filed within 30 days after the minor is placed
with the prospective adoption parent(s) for adoption. If the person
seeking the adoption is a stepparent or relative of the adoptee then the
adoptee must reside with the petitioner for al year before such petition
is filed. If the child has not lived with the stepparent of relative for
a year, the adoption will proceed in the same manner as all other
adoptions unless the court waives the residence requirement.
CAN I PAY THE PARENT OF A MINOR OR UNBORN CHILD FOR THE CHILD?
No! An offer to make such payment is a Class A misdemeanor, to receive
payment for a person's consent to adoption is a class C felony.
WHAT EXPENSES CAN I PAY?
A person seeking to adopt a child may pay maternity connected medical or
hospital and necessary living expenses of the mother preceding birth and
during pregnancy and during pregnancy related incapacity as long as such
payments are made as an act of charity and such payment is not
contingent upon placement of the child for adoption. All fees and
expenses, including legal, medical, investigative, or other legitimate
professional fees may only be paid with court approval.
HOW CONFIDENTIAL IS AN ADOPTION?
The adoption code was designed to keep an adoption as confidential as
Before a final adoption
decree is rendered the only people with access to the adoption records
are: the petitioner, the petitioner's attorney; the preplacement
investigator, and any attorney appointed or retained by the minor being
adopted. No other person has access to the adoption records unless they
obtain a court order after showing good cause to allow then to inspect
All adoption hearings are confidential and held in closed court open
only to the interested parties and their counsel, except with leave of
After the final decree of adoption is entered all documents pertaining
to the adoption are sealed and identifying information cannot be
obtained by anyone except the adoptee under limited circumstances. (see
The natural parent(s) may consent in writing under oath to disclosure of
identifying information to the adoptee when such adoptee reaches the age
of 19. The adoptee upon reaching the age of 19 may petition the court
for disclosure of identifying information. Such information will not be
released to the adoptee without the natural parent consent unless the
court determines it is best after weighting the interests of the parties
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ADOPTION BY A STEPPARENT OR A
CLOSE FAMILY MEMBER AND OTHER ADOPTIONS?
usually a lot less formality and requirements when the adoptee is being
adopted by a stepparent or close family member.
Unlike all other adoptions, usually no preplacement or postplacement
investigation nor accounting of the cost relating to the adoption are
In order to be
exempt from these requirements, the adoptee must have lived with the
petitioner for at least one year.
CAN GRANDPARENTS OBTAIN VISITATION RIGHTS TO SEE THE ADOPTEE
AFTER THE ADOPTION?
Ordinarily the grandparents have no visitation rights with their
grandchildren when the natural parents' rights have been terminated by
adoption. However, at the court's discretion the court may allow such
visitation rights if the child is adopted by a close relative or a
stepparent provided it is in the child's best interests.