We know the road to adoption is paved with a myriad of questions. We always welcome new questions, but there are some common ones that we can invite you to read below. 

Click a Question below to reveal the respective answer. 


How long does adoption take ?

This generally depends on whether the rights of the child’s parent or parents have been terminated prior to seeking finalization of the adoption. If so, adoptions can be filed and finalized in a Georgia court within a relatively short period. Adoptions involving the termination of parental rights generally take longer to reach finalization, especially if the case is contested.

Can I adopt if I have a criminal record ?

Georgia law does not prohibit a person with a criminal record from adopting. All prospective adoptive parents must undergo a criminal history background check as part of the adoption process. If a person does have a criminal history, then it is up to the court to decide whether to allow the adoption based on the circumstances of each case, the nature and timing of the charges, and the best interest of the child.

What is a home study ?

An evaluation of an adoptive parent’s home environment for the purpose of determining the suitability of such environment as a prospective adoptive home for a child. These evaluations consider a parent’s physical health, emotional maturity, financial circumstances, family, and social background. These studies must be performed by a person who is licensed and must meet certain specific requirements for home studies. It is best to consult your attorney or adoption agency to make sure you obtain a home study that will be accepted by the court.

Does my child’s other parent have to consent for my spouse to adopt ?

Not necessarily. A stepparent adoption is uncontested if the child’s other parent surrenders his or her rights so that the stepparent may adopt the child. If the parents does not surrender, however, there are still situations where the court will terminate the rights of the other parent and allow the stepparent to adopt.

Can I adopt even if the child’s biological parents do not consent ?

In certain situations, yes. There are circumstances where the surrender of rights from a parent or parents is not required.

What is an uncontested adoption ?

An uncontested adoption is generally regarded as an adoption that is ready for finalization without any party objecting to the adoption, where the parents have surrendered their rights or had them terminated by a court, and all other requirements for a final hearing have been met.

Do I have to get a criminal history background check ?

Yes, Georgia adoption law requires prospective adoptive parents to undergo a criminal history background check.

Can I pay a birthmother’s expenses while she is pregnant ?

Georgia allows prospective adoptive parents to pay certain expenses for a birth mother. Georgia law carefully regulates this practice to protect the integrity of the process and to ensure that the birth parent or parents have not been improperly induced to place the child for adoption. Criminal penalties apply to violations, so this an area that should not be undertaken without first consulting an experienced adoption attorney or licensed adoption agency. After September 1, 2018, these expenses can be reimbursed through the adoption attorney or through a licensed adoption agency.

Can a person from another state file an adoption in Georgia ?

Yes. Georgia adoption law changed on September 1, 2018, allowing adoptive parents from out of state to file and finalize the adoption of a Georgia child in Georgia.

How long does a biological parent have to change his or her mind after signing a surrender of rights ?

Georgia law provides that a parent who signs a surrender of rights for purposes of adoption has four days to revoke the surrender. The first day begins on the day following the execution of the surrender, and the fourth day may not fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, in which case the period extends until the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

Can a single person adopt ?

A single person may adopt in Georgia if that person is over the age of 25 and at least ten years older than the child, or is a sibling of the child and is over the age of 21.

Can a same sex couple adopt in Georgia ?

Yes, so long as they are legally married.

How old does a person have to be to adopt in Georgia ?

Married couples must be over the age of 21 and at least ten years older than the child. A single person must be over the age of 25 and at least ten years older than the child or at least 21 if the child is a sibling of the adoptive parent.

What is an adult adoption ?

An adult adoption involves the adoption of a person over the age of 18. An adult seeking to be adopted does not need the consent of his or her parent in order to be adopted by another adult.

What if the child’s father is unknown ?

Georgia law allows for the adoption of a child whose biological father is unknown. There are specific steps that need to be taken in these case before the court will grant the adoption.

What is the difference between a biological and a legal parent ?

A biological parent is just that, the biological mother or father of the child. A woman who gives birth to her biological child is that child’s legal parent. However, a biological father does not become the child’s legal parent unless he is married to the child’s mother at the time of birth, marries the mother after the birth and recognizes the child as his own, or legitimates the child by filing a legitimation petition that is granted by a Georgia court. A man may also be a legal father even if he is not the biological father so long as he was married to the child’s mother at the time the child was born. These distinctions are critical when a court is determining the rights of the parents.

How much does adoption cost ?

There is no simple answer to this question. Costs for adoptions vary depending on many different factors, including the type of adoption, complexity of the case, whether the parent’s rights have been terminated, whether the adoption is contested, and whether an adoption agency is involved, just to name a few. In addition to attorney’s fees, adoptive parents may also incur costs for background checks, home studies, court fees, and other related expenses. It is important to consult an experienced adoption attorney who can give you a solid overview of the costs you may expect to encounter with your particular adoption.

What are the different types of adoption in Georgia ?

Independent, Third-Party Adoptions involve adoptive parents who are not related to the child as a sibling, grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle, great aunt, or great uncle
Relative Adoptions involve adoptive parents who are related to the child as a sibling, grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle, great aunt, or great uncle
Agency Adoptions involve an adoption through either a licensed, private child placing agency or a state agency like the Department of Family and Children Services
Stepparent Adoptions involve the adoption of a child by his or her stepparent
Domestication of Foreign Adoptions involve a child who is being adopted from another country
Adult Adoptions involve the adoption of a person who is over the age of 18

If I adopt a child from another country, do I have to do anything once we return home ?

It depends on whether the adoptive parents obtained a full and final decree of adoption from the child’s home country. If so, the adoptive parents may not have to take any further legal action in Georgia but may want to domesticate the foreign decree in order to obtain an English language birth certificate and other protections. If the adoptive parents did not obtain a full and final decree of adoption from the child’s home country, such as a guardianship or other legal custodial award short of adoption, then it is critical to take further legal action in Georgia.