Adoption Attorney - An adoption attorney is classified as one of many possible adoption professionals that you can work with through adoption finalization. An adoption attorney must be licensed to practice law in whichever state you're in or the state where the adoptable child is living. When searching for the right adoption attorney for your specific situation, find one that has the necessary experience and knowledge to understand adoption-related jargon, processes, and paperwork.
Adoption Certification - Many states require adoptive parents to become certified. This basically means that the adoptive parents must go though a homestudy, which includes a financial and criminal record analysis. This adoption certification was put into place to protect the birth family and the child from being placed with an unworthy family.
Black Market Adoption - There are adoption laws in place to protect all sides of the adoption triad. However, some people prefer to dabble in black market adoption, meaning the adoption laws are not followed. This could mean the child was taken from his/her family without permission or the adoptive parents never completed their certification and homestudy before being given a child.
Decree of Adoption - When an adoption is finalized, the judge issues a decree of adoption. It essentially forms the legal bonds between parents and child. Once a decree of adoption is given, the adoptive parents are then in charge and completely responsible for the child's wellbeing, health, and development. After the official decree, a new birth certificate can be released, replacing the birth parents' names with the names of the adoptive parents.
Homestudy - A homestudy is a part of the adoption certification that prospective adoptive parents must complete. A homestudy is basically a report of your finances, your home, your past, and your aptitude to caring for a child. A legal adoption cannot be finalized without the adoptive parents first completing the homestudy. It simply is just a part of the placement process.
United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) - When adopting internationally, adoptive parents will have to work with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service, also called the USCIS. This government agency is in charge of providing passports and citizenship to adopted children who were brought from other countries. Before traveling internationally to pick up an adopted child, parents must first get approval from USCIS.
Independent Adoptions - An independent adoption is when an adoption is arranged without the help of a licensed adoption agency. This could be completed through an adoption lawyer, for instance. However, not all states allow independent adoptions. Prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to research state laws before beginning the adoption process.
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) - When a child is to be adopted and moved to a different state, both states-the sending state and the receiving state-must grant permission and approval before the child can be moved. This is ultimately to protect the child and to keep track, just in case something happens. This also applies to foster children, not just ones that are awaiting placement finalization.
Irrevocable Consent - When a parent decides to place a child with an adoptive family, s/he must give irrevocable consent. This means that s/he revokes all parental rights to that child. The only way it can be reversed is through the courts and if the courts find that it was given as a result of deceit, coercion, or misrepresentation. Birth parents must give their irrevocable consent before an adoption can be finalized, unless the courts take away the parents' rights for other reasons.
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.