Guide to Independent, Third-Party Adoptions in Georgia
Also known as private adoptions, independent, third party adoptions involve an adoptive parent or parents who are not related to the child and do not involve a licensed adoption agency or the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services. Independent, third-party adoptions are most often arranged through private channels, such as networking or family friends.
In Georgia, a person may adopt a child to whom he or she is not related so long as each biological parent is either deceased or has surrendered their rights to the child. If the child has a living parent who will not consent to the adoption, that biological parent’s rights may still be terminated if the parent has failed to exercise proper parental care and control of the child such that the child would be considered dependent under Georgia’s juvenile laws.
For independent, third-party adoptions, Georgia adoption law also requires that the adoptive parents obtain a favorable home study prior to the child being placed with the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents are also required to complete a criminal history background check to the Court’s satisfaction. After the petition for adoption is filed, the Court will appoint a neutral agent to investigate the adoption and make a recommendation as to whether the adoption is in the child’s best interest.
Independent, third-party adoptions may involve children and adoptive parents who are residents of different states. Before a child can leave his or her state of birth, the adoptive parents must obtain formal permission from both the sending and receiving state. This process involves complicated state and federal laws that carry serious legal consequences for violations, so it is crucial to retain a Georgia adoption attorney with experience in interstate adoption.
There is a myriad of considerations involved with independent, third-party adoptions, and it is crucial to seek and obtain expert advice at every step of the process. Adoption in Georgia is a highly technical area, and the stakes are too high to get it wrong. Thomas Tebeau III is an experienced Georgia adoption lawyer who can expertly navigate the procedural and legal obstacles presented by an independent, third-party adoption. Call or e-mail us anytime with questions or concerns about Georgia adoption law.
* Thomas Tebeau III practices adoption law across the State of Georgia. He has finalized hundreds of adoptions of all types. Tom is a Fellow with the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers, and presents on adoption related topics at seminars and conferences throughout the State.