Adoption is the process of transferring legal parental rights over a child to an individual or couple that is not biologically related to that child. This is a long process that, sometimes months after placement, is not formally recognized by the government until the final adoption hearing, during which a judge will sign a certificate of adoption, certifying the adoptive parents' rights to legally raise the child as a member of their family.
At the end of the adoption process, after a child has been placed and maybe even after the child's birth parents' rights have been terminated, there may be a supervisory period during which a case worker will observe the adoptive family and eventually petition to have the adoption finalized in the courts. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the state in which the adoption occurs. For this final hearing, a judge will either finalize or dissolve a placement. If the adoption is finalized, then the judge will issue an adoption decree to the adoptee's new parents.
An adoption decree may also be referred to as an adoption certificate. It is considered proof that a adopted child's birth parents' rights have been terminated and assumed by an adoptee's adoptive parents. This decree also works as a temporary birth certificate, naming the adoptive parents as an adoptee's new legal parents. After the adoption decree is given to the adoptive parents, they can use it to have a new birth certificate made.
A birth certificate will often be the most important document an adoptee can have as proof of being legally bound to his or her adoptive parents. This document will be instrumental identifying tool as well, helping him or her apply for jobs, a passport, insurance and higher education opportunities.
An adoptee's original birth certificate, that is the birth certificate with his or her biological parents' names on it, will be filed in a sealed adoption record kept with the state. An adoptee may request to access his or her birth certificate after turning 18 years old, however, depending on the state in which the adoption was finalized, the process to do so will differ and consent from the birth parents may be required.
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Non-recurring Adoption-related Expenses
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