Beyond the the initial home study to post-placement reports, adoptions
can be paperwork intensive. Below are descriptions of some common
adoption-related processes and documents.
Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)
interstate compact, or agreement, that has been enacted into law
by all 50 states in the United States, and the District of Columbia,
which controls the lawful movement of children from one state
to another for the purposes of adoption. Both the originating
state, where the child is born, and the receiving state, where
the adoptive parents live and where the adoption of the child
will take place, must approve the child's movement in writing
before the child can legally leave the originating state. This
Compact regulates the interstate movement of both foster children
and adoptive children.
Within our constitutionally based legal system, in order for substantial
personal rights (like parental rights), of constitutionally protected
individuals (like birthparents), to be terminated or destroyed
in a legal proceeding (like an adoption), the affected individuals
must be given adequate notice of the legal proceeding, and a reasonable
opportunity to present evidence and witnesses in their own defense.
The law requires that the most reasonably effective means of providing
that notice under the circumstances be used to give this required
notice to the party whose rights are in jeopardy of being lost
or destroyed. Personal service is the preferred means of providing
this notice. When personal service is not possible because the
affected individual cannot be located, especially when that is
the result of this individual hiding, the law allows the required
notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation that
services the last know location of that individual. If this is
done correctly, this publication will constitute valid legal notice.
The document that is voluntarily signed by the birthparents in
an adoption that allows the adoptive parents to adopt their child.
In most states it must be signed in front of witnesses and a Notary
Public. State law varies widely concerning when the earliest point
in time is when a binding Consent may be signed by a birth parent,
with the earliest being before the child is born and the latest
being 15 days after the birth. In some states a Consent is irrevocable
when signed, meaning it cannot later be taken back or voided by
a birthparent, unless it can be shown that it was executed in
an improper form or way, or at an improper time, or that it was
obtained as the result of fraud, misrepresentation, force or duress.
Generally, a Consent to Adoption differs from a Relinquishment
that is most often used in an agency adoption, since a Consent
to Adoption passes the parental rights of the birthparents directly
to the adoptive parents that they have chosen, while the Relinquishment
passes the parental rights to the agency, which in turn passes
them on to adoptive parents, which may or may not have been selected
by the birthparents.
The document that a judge signs to finalize an adoption. It formally
creates the parent-child relationship between the adoptive parents
and the adopted child, as though the child were born as the biological
child of its new parents. It places full responsibility for the
child on its new parents and changes the name of the child to
the name selected by its new parents, and orders a new birth certificate
to be prepared and issued for the child. If the parental rights
of the biological parents of the child are being terminated by
way of their voluntary consents as part of the adoption action,
the Decree will also formally terminate those parental rights.
A written report that is prepared for the country/court in an
adoption case by an adoption social worker that makes a series
of personal visits to the home of the adoptive parents. The purpose
of these post-placement visits is to observe how well the child
and the prospective adoptive parents are bonding to each other
and how the child is fitting into the family. This report will
also contain a recommendation by the caseworker, based on the
social worker's personal observations and interactions with the
child and the members of the adoptive family, concerning whether
or not the caseworker thinks it would be in the "best interests
of the child" for the proposed adoption of this child by
these adoptive parents to take place. In almost all cases, the
country/court will follow the recommendation that the social worker
makes in the Post Placement Report, and in almost all cases, this
recommendation will be that the adoption be allowed to take place.
Seattle (206) 452-2007
King County (425) 276-5245
Toll Free (800) 643-3960
Fax (425) 276-5281
Mailing Address: PO Box 60019 | Renton, WA 98058
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