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 a state child welfare department. Independent, third-party adoptions are most often arranged through private channels, such as networking or family friends.
A person may adopt a child to whom he or she is not related so long as each biological parent meets one of the following conditions:
- The parent is deceased
- The parent consents in writing to the adoption.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 code.No matter whether the biological parent consents or has his or her rights terminated:
- The Court will require that the adoptive parent(s) obtain a favorable home study prior to the child being placed with the adoptive parents
- The Court will require that the adoptive parent(s) complete a criminal history background check to the Court’s satisfaction
- The Court will appoint a neutral agent after the adoption is filed to investigate the adoption and make a recommendation as to whether the adoption is in the child’s best interest.
Finally, as with every adoption under Georgia law, the Court must find that the adoption is in the best interest of the child.
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.