A finalization hearing legally completes the adoption process. It is when you, the adoptive parent or parents, are given permanent legal custody of the adopted child.
These hearings typically take place within 6 to 12 months after the child is placed in your home. Your social worker or attorney will notify you of the date and time. The proceeding lasts about 10 to 30 minutes and typically includes you, your adopted child, your family’s lawyer, and the social worker who placed the child. Be sure you have completed the necessary paperwork. The finalization could be delayed if you are missing any required documents.
The court will seek to establish that the child has been placed in a safe, loving home. Be prepared to provide all the identifying information included in your adoption petition, in addition to answering open-ended questions, like:
- Why do you want to adopt?
- How will you care for your new child?
- How will your family adjust to the new child?
- Is there anything the court should know before finalizing the adoption?
As soon as the judge signs the adoption order, you gain permanent, legal custody of your child. Finalization is the last formal step in the adoption process and the official beginning of your new family.
It’s time to celebrate with your new forever family.