How to Finalize Your Adoption in Arizona
Every adoptive family dreams of the day their son or daughter will officially be a member of their family. Because of this, it’s important to fully understand how adoption is finalized in Arizona.
Your adoption finalization is exactly that — the final step of the adoption process. It’s also what many adoptive families consider the most exciting step of the adoption. No matter where you are at in your adoption journey, it’s always wise to become educated on the process. This way, when the time comes, you will be well prepared and able to focus on the excitement of your child being a legally recognized member of your family.
This guide will walk you through every step of the adoption finalization.
You can find peace of mind knowing that both your adoption professional and adoption attorney will be with you every step of the way to help make sure the process runs as smooth and stress-free as possible. If you have any questions about how adoption is finalized in Arizona, fill out this online form to talk with a licensed professional and to get answers to all of your adoption-related questions.
Until then, continue reading this guide on finalization and Arizona post-adoption services.
The Finalization Process
Many adoptive families have the misconception that the moment placement occurs, their adoption process is complete. This is not the case.
Although this is a giant step towards reaching your dreams of becoming a parent, several steps need to occur before your child is legally part of your family.
Before beginning your finalization process, and shortly after placement, the birth mother of your baby must consent to the relinquishment of her parental rights:
- Arizona law states that she must wait 72 hours before doing so.
- All consent documentation must be witnessed by at least two credible witnesses over the age of 18.
- Arizona does not currently have any revocation period in place unless fraud, duress, or undue persuasion can be proven.
Both the prospective birth mother and your adoption attorney will verify that these forms meet the requirements and are eligible to use for the Arizona court documents for adoption.
Navigating ICPC and ICWA in Arizona Adoption Finalization
Depending on where you adopted your child and if you adopt a child with Native American heritage, you may need to receive ICPC and ICWA clearances.
If you traveled out of your state of residency for your adoption, you will be required to complete an approved, Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
Here is what you can expect during the ICPC process:
- Step 1: The adoptive family travels to the prospective birth mother’s state, either while she is in labor or after the baby is born.
- Step 2: After the required waiting period, the birth parents give their consent for the adoption.
- Step 3: The baby is discharged into the adoptive parents’ custody.
- Step 4: American Adoptions or the attorney will gather the appropriate paperwork and submit it to the sending state (the birth mother’s state) ICPC office. These Arizona court documents for adoption often include the home study, the child’s health information, proof that the birth parents have consented, and more.
- Step 5: The sending state will review the paperwork. They may request additional information or approve the documentation.
- Step 6: The ICPC paperwork is then sent to the adoptive parent’s state of residence (the receiving state).
- Step 7: The ICPC office there reviews the paperwork, asking for any additional information necessary.
- Step 8: The receiving state notifies the sending state of its approval.
- Step 9: The sending state contacts American Adoptions or the attorney who submitted the paperwork.
- Step 10: The adoptive parents are then notified that the ICPC process is complete and they can return home with their baby.
If you adopt a child with Native American Heritage, depending on your specific situation, you will most likely need to follow the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Your adoption specialist and attorney will be directly involved in these legal aspects and let you know if these regulations apply to your adoption. They will be there every step of the way to help guide you through the process of receiving any necessary clearances.
Once you have returned home with your baby, you can begin to get used to your new life as a parent. During this time, your home study provider will complete post-placement visits to see how everyone is adapting to your new family situation. They will document their findings and answer any questions you may have, much like the adoption home study process.
All the while, you, your adoption specialist, and your attorney will be preparing for the most important step in your finalization — your Arizona adoption hearing.
The Arizona Adoption Hearing [What to Expect]
Approximately six months after the placement of your baby, you will have a finalization hearing scheduled at your nearest local adoption courts in Arizona. This hearing may seem like something to stress over, seeing how it determines legally becoming a parent. But, rest easy, as your adoption attorney and specialist will have you prepared for this moment.
At the hearing, your judge will review your Arizona adoption files before your scheduled court appearance. You, your spouse (if you have one), your attorney, and potentially even your social worker, will be sworn in before the judge.
At this point, the judge will ask you questions about the intentions of your adoption and discuss how you and your child are adapting to parenthood. Once the judge has heard all of the information they need to make their decision, they will issue the final adoption decree Arizona considers to legally make your child yours, you will receive your Arizona certificate of adoption, and it is time to celebrate.
Your child is an official member of your family, and your adoption process is officially complete. Before this point, your attorney will instruct you on how to obtain a new social security card and birth certificate which possesses your child’s new last name.
Finalization and Post-Finalization Support
At American adoptions, we understand the adoption, and finalization process can seem like a lot to handle. We can make your process much easier and less stressful.
With over 30 years of experience as one of the nation’s largest domestic adoption agencies, we are well versed in the Adoption process, finalization process, as well as Arizona post-adoption services, and are here to help make them all as stress-free as possible for you.
As a full-service adoption agency, we are with you every step of the way, from providing guidance when you are just considering adoption and exploring your options, to us helping make sure you are adjusting to parenthood as best as possible — and everything in between.
We want to ensure you are comfortable during this life-changing process.
Anytime you have questions about adoption finalization, post-adoption services, or anything involving the adoption process, click here to get more information. An adoption professional will be in contact shortly following and provide the answers you need.
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