Before starting to search for a child to adopt or an agency to assist you, it is important that you understand how the adoption laws in Georgia may affect your decisions. Making informed decisions is the best way of increasing your chances of adopting a child. By way of example, we have listed below a few of the important parts of Georgia child adoption law including such topics as advertising, adoption expenses, and the critical issue of ending the biological parental rights (called a Consent, Relinquishment or Surrender).
Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements
Use of Advertisement
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-24(a)
It shall be unlawful for any person, organization, hospital, or association that has not been established as a child-placing agency by the department to advertise, whether in a periodical, by television or radio or any other public medium or private means, that the person, organization, hospital, or association will adopt children or will arrange for children to be placed for adoption.
Individuals seeking to adopt a child or to place their child for adoption may communicate by private means, which include only written letters or oral statements.
Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-24(a)(2)
It shall be unlawful for any person, organization, corporation, hospital, or association of any kind, which has not been established as a child-placing agency by the department to directly or indirectly hold out inducements, including any financial assistance except medical expenses, to parents to part with their children.
State Regulation of Adoption Expenses
Birth Parent Expenses Allowed
Citation: § 19-8-13(c)
Medical expenses related to the pregnancy
Hospital costs for the birth of the child
Expenses related to the placement and adoption
Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption
Citation: § 19-8-13(c)
Payments for services related to the adoption or the placement of the minor are permitted.
Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child
Citation: § 19-8-24
It is unlawful for any person or entity to directly or indirectly offer inducements to a parent to relinquish their child.
Accounting of Expenses Required by Court
Citation: § 19-8-13(c), (d)
Each petitioner must file a report fully accounting for all disbursements made or agreed to be made.
Each attorney must file an affidavit detailing all legal fees.
Consent to Adoption
Who Must Consent to an Adoption
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-4(a)
A child who has any living parent or guardian may be adopted through the department or any child-placing agency only if each such parent and each such guardian:
Has voluntarily and in writing surrendered all of his or her rights to the child to the department or to a child-placing agency and the department or agency thereafter consents to the adoption
Has had all of his or her rights to the child terminated by order of a court of competent jurisdiction, the child has been committed by the court to the department or to a child-placing agency for placement for adoption, and the department or agency thereafter consents to the adoption
Age When Consent of Adoptee is Considered or Required
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-4(b)
In the case of a child age 14 or older, the written consent of the child to his adoption must be given and acknowledged in the presence of the court.
When Parental Consent is not Needed
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-10
Surrender or termination of rights of a parent shall not be required as a prerequisite to the filing of a petition for adoption of a child of that parent when the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the parent:
Has abandoned the child
Cannot be found after a diligent search has been made
Is insane or otherwise incapacitated from surrendering such rights
Has failed to exercise proper parental care or control due to misconduct or inability
Surrender of rights of a parent shall not be required as a prerequisite to the filing of a petition for adoption of a child of that parent if that parent, for a period of 1 year or longer immediately prior to the filing of the petition for adoption, without justifiable cause, has significantly failed:
To communicate or to make a bona fide attempt to communicate with that child in a meaningful, supportive, parental manner
To provide for the care and support of that child as required by law or judicial decree, and the court is of the opinion that the adoption is for the best interests of that child
When Consent Can Be Executed
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-5
Consent may be executed any time after the birth of the child.
Revocation of Consent
Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-9(b)
A person signing a surrender shall have the right to withdraw the surrender by written notice delivered in person or mailed by registered mail or statutory overnight delivery within 10 days after signing. After 10 days, a surrender may not be withdrawn.
The surrender document is not valid unless it states the right of withdrawal.
Rights of Presumed (Putative) Fathers
Registry/Paternity Requirements to Receive Notice
Citation: §§ 19-11-9(d)(2); 15-11-96
The putative father may acknowledge paternity before or after the birth of the child in a signed writing, or indicate the possibility of paternity without acknowledging paternity.
The putative father must file a petition to legitimate the child within 30 days of receipt of notice of termination proceedings.
Notice of termination proceeding is given if:
The putative father’s identity is known to the petitioner or attorney.
Any of the following is true of the putative father: he is on the putative father registry, he lived with the child, he made any attempt to legitimate the child, or he provided support or medical care for the child’s mother.
SOURCE FOR POST: Adoption Services