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Mr. Hammond served
in Afghanistan and Iraq,
where he received 9 medals including a Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He has been practicing law since 1996 with an exclusive focus on military law, criminal law, and family law.

What to know about adopting a child in Georgia

Prospective parents may find it helpful to understand how the process works when seeking to adopt a child.

To make their families whole, some people choose to adopt. Bringing a child into a family through adoption generally requires a thorough process. Although not born into the family they get placed with, adoption grants children the same status and rights as if they had.

Understanding how the adoption process works may help people prepare for bringing a child into their families.

Qualifications

To adopt a child in Georgia, prospective parents must meet certain qualifications. According to the Georgia Department of Human Services, these requirements include the following:

  • A resident of Georgia
  • At least 10 years older than the child, with few exceptions
  • At least 21-years-old or married and living with a spouse

Additionally, people seeking to adopt must have financial, physical and mental fitness to have custody of the child, as well as a willingness and ability to care for the child.

Inquiry, information and training

Prospective parents initiate the adoption process by contacting the Division of Family and Children Services to receive an information packet. Families wanting to adopt then attend an information session and will have their homes visited by a resource development worker.

After the information session and pretraining home visit, if a family decides that adoption is the right choice for them, they must participate in a training program. People may take part in the program offered by their local county’s department of family and children services, or they may participate in a comparable program through a private adoption agency. Such training includes 23 hours of classroom time to expose would-be parents to the competencies and basic skills they will need to care for their adoptive children.

Family evaluation

Upon completion of an adoption preparation program, DCFS will conduct family and home evaluations. During these visits, an agency representative assesses several areas, including home safety and family preparedness, to ensure prospective parents will have the ability to provide stable, safe and loving homes for the children they adopt.

Placement

When a prospective family and DCFS identify a child for placement, they will schedule preplacement visits. If all goes well during these visits and the family and the child are a match, parents sign a placement agreement, which places the child with the family. At that point, people seeking to adopt file adoption petitions with the county superior court. During the adoption hearing, the judge will finalize the adoption procedure.

Adoption allows people who cannot have kids of their own or who otherwise wish to grow their families to bring children in need of rearing and care into their families and homes. Those seeking to adopt may consider the various options available to them to help make their families whole.