Adoption is a wonderful way for families to expand, but the process can be stressful. The legal side of adoption is often complicated, and families who have never adopted before may not understand how the process works. If you’re considering adoption in Indiana, it can be helpful to learn more about how it works, so you’re better prepared for what can be a lengthy process from the time you decide to adopt a child to when the adoption is final.
How adoption works
If you’re looking into adoption, it’s important to know that it can take time. Families can benefit from preparing themselves for the common concerns that come up when adopting a child. Between all the legal documents that one must sign and all the steps it takes to get to a finalized adoption, prospective adoptive parents often feel overwhelmed. Knowing how the process is supposed to go, and preparing for what can go wrong, can help families be ready for what is to come.
Before you can adopt a child, the biological parents must have their rights terminated. This may be voluntary or involuntary, depending on the specific circumstances. When consent to their termination of rights is voluntary, the biological parents have 30 days to change their minds. If a child is born in wedlock, or the couple has established paternity, the father must also consent to the child’s adoption.
What about open adoption?
Open adoptions are common because they usually allow the birth parents to maintain a relationship with that child. However, the extent of that relationship varies, depending on the adoption plan. Adoptive parents and biological parents can create a post-adoption plan that outlines how and when communication will happen between the child and biological parents.
It’s important for adoptive parents to understand that failure to follow the agreement doesn’t make the adoption invalid. But if you don’t follow the agreement, the biological parents may petition the court, and the court could rule in their favor if they believe it’s in the best interests of the child to maintain the agreement. When a child is under 2 years old, court approval is not necessary for the post-adoption agreement. In this case, the agreement should not include visitation, and it will not be enforceable by the court.
Seek legal advice if you have questions about adoption
Many families go into the adoption process without knowing how emotionally taxing it can be. If you wish to expand your family through adoption in Indiana, it’s important for you to work with an attorney who understands the laws. Going through the process the legal way, and ensuring you meet all the requirements for a legal adoption, will protect your family from issues in the future.