The length of the adoption process varies according to the circumstances of the child, but can take as few as six to ten months. By providing extensive training and support, the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) ensures that you and your family are ready when the time to adopt arrives. The steps in the process are outlined below.
Step 1: Inquiry
You can begin the adoption process by making initial contact with DHS by phone. After answering some basic questions, you will be scheduled for an individual or group inquiry interview with an adoption case manager. Call 1-877-210-KIDS or click here to complete this step.
Step 2: The Orientation
Step two involves attending a meeting to learn fundamental information about the adoption process and the requirements for adopting through DHS.
You will also get a chance to see pictures of the children currently available in
Step 3: (I)Initial Interest, (M) Mutual selection, (P) Pre-service training,(A) Assessment, (C) Continuing develoment, (T) Teamwork (IMPACT)
When you are ready to move forward with the adoption process, this step requires you to attend the adoption preparation program offered through your County Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS). You may also attend a comparable adoption preparation program offered through a private licensed adoption agency under contract with DHS. The DFCS adoption preparation program, called IMPACT, consists of 20 classroom hours of training.
Participants include those interested in adoption through the DHS, as well as those interested in foster parenting. The classes offer an opportunity for you to learn about a variety of topics related to the adoption experience, including:
- Information about the children
- The possible impact of adoption on your family
- Behavior management techniques
- The agency’s role and more
During this time, a case manager will meet individually with your family to complete the assessment process and to create your Family Evaluation. This evaluation includes visits to your home, gathering of information (such as medical reports, criminal records check, financial statement, etc.), and discussions about your views on adopting.
Step 4: Family Evaluation
You may proceed to step four upon completion of an adoption preparation program and the assessment process. Upon reaching this step, your Family Evaluation will be forwarded to the Adoption Exchange. Your family will then be considered a resource for a waiting child.
Step 5: Pre-Placement
The time between qualifying for a child and placement of a child in your home varies from family to family, although identifying a child may shorten your waiting period. During the interim, you can periodically review the Photolisting and you will also have the opportunity to attend adoption galas and matching meetings. Information about support groups in your area is available through your case manager.
Step 6: Placement
During this step, you may identify a child, or a
If you and the case manager decide to move forward, a meeting will be held to share additional information, answer questions and schedule pre-placement visits.
After a series of visits, you will sign a placement agreement and the child will join your family. The agency will help you apply for Adoption Assistance at this time if the child is in the category of Special Needs, as defined for the purpose of adoption. During the time before the adoption is finalized, your case manager will visit with you and the child to offer support as you begin your new life together.
Step 7: Finalization
While your child may live with you and become part of your family, you must make the child legally your own through the court system. Upon receiving a release from DHS, your attorney will file the adoption petition.
A hearing will be held by the Superior Court Judge in your county to finalize the adoption. The cost should be nominal and may be reimbursable for children with Special Needs. When you become the legal parent, visits are no longer required, but the agency is always a resource for you.