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Adoption law is complex, and it is best to find a lawyer who can help you.

Who may adopt in Georgia? Georgia law provides that any adult single person 25 years old or older or an adult married couple may adopt a child.

Who may be adopted? A child may be adopted if (a) the living parents or guardians voluntarily and in writing surrender all rights to the child to a licensed adoption agency or directly to the prospective adoptive parents; (b) the child has been abandoned or has no living parents; or (c) the rights of the biological parents are involuntarily terminated through a court proceeding. In addition, the court must find that the adoption is in the child’s best interest.

Is it necessary for the adoptive parents to go to court? Yes. In Georgia, the adoptive parents will file a Petition for Adoption in their county of residence. The petition will culminate in a court appearance by the attorney and the adoptive parents along with the child. The birth parents do not need to appear in court.

Can biological parents change their mind, or revoke their surrender, after signing the legal documents? In Georgia, biological parents proceeding in an independent adoption can sign surrender documents any time after a child is born. In an agency adoption, the biological mother and legal father of the child are not permitted to sign the surrender until 24 hours have passed from the birth of the baby. A biological father can sign a pre-birth surrender document in all types of adoption. In all adoptions, Georgia law gives the biological parents a ten-day revocation period in which they can change their mind. The last day upon which a revocation can occur must be a business day.

What are the types of adoptions?

There are six types of adoption in Georgia:

  • Public or private agency adoptions.
  • Adoptions by third parties
  • Stepparent Adoptions
  • Adoptions by relatives
  • Adoptions by foreign decree
  • Adult adoptions.

Where do you file a petition for adoption? If you are adopting a child, file a Petition for Adoption in the Superior Court for the county where you live. You can also file the petition in the county where the child is living or where the agency is located, if you have a good reason.

What happens to the adoption records? In Georgia, after an adoption is finalized, the adoption record is sealed. The original birth certificate is also sealed. The only way the record can be accessed is by court order or by following the procedures of the Georgia adoption reunion registry.