Georgia Department of Human Resources
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT ADOPTION
Adoption is a social and
legal process that creates a new family, giving adopted children the same rights and benefits as those who are born into the
WHY ARE THESE CHILDREN BEING ADOPTED?
Some childrens parents voluntarily give up their
parental rights. Most children, though, have been removed from their birth homes by the courts and have had their parents
rights terminated due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Almost all of the children come from difficult situations and have
been cared for in foster homes before adoption. They are generally children with special needs.
waiting to be adopted are:
African American children over the age of 1
Three or more brothers
and sisters who need to be placed together
Children ages 8 and older
Children with physical, emotional or
Children who are not readily available for adoption include:
African American infants
under the age of 1 with no physical, mental or emotional disabilities.
White or other minority children under the
age of 8 with no physical, mental or emotional disabilities
Who handles adoptions?
Adoption of children
in state custody is handled by the DHR Office of Adoptions and county Departments of Family and Children Services (DFCS).
They may also be handled through a licensed private adoption agency.
WHO CAN ADOPT A CHILD?
couples must be at least 10 years older than the child they wish to adopt. Single parents must be 25-years-old or older and
at least 10 years older than the child they wish to adopt. A family needs to earn only enough money to cover its own living
HOW DOES ADOPTION WORK?
All prospective adoptive parents will need to have a family
assessment completed by DFCS or a licensed private adoption agency. Through DFCS the family will attend a 10-week adoption
preparation program called "Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting" (MAPP). MAPP consists of 30 hours of group
participation and in-home visits with a caseworker. Medical examinations of family members, verifications of marriage or
divorce, verifications of income, fingerprinting and criminal background checks are required.
If there are any
problems after the adoption becomes final, parents can contact their DFCS caseworker to talk about assistance. In a crisis,
the worker can help the family find resources such as counseling, respite care or financial assistance.
LONG DOES IT TAKE?
The wait for a child with special needs can be as short as 6 to 10 months. Parents can reduce
their waiting time by choosing a child or children in the "My Turn Now" book, which publishes photographs of children
waiting to be adopted. There is a long waiting list for white children under the age of 8 with no special needs. The wait
could be as long as eight to 10 years.
The child must live in the home for some time before legal proceedings
can be finalized. A Caseworker is there to help the family. The adoption usually becomes final about six to nine months after
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The Office of Adoptions or a licensed private agency under contract with the state will
not charge a family for adoption services. As part of the home study process, prospective parents and others living in the
home must get medical examinations, and they must also pay court costs to complete adoption. But families adopting older children,
siblings needing to be placed together or children with other special needs can be reimbursed for most of these expenses.
Some assistance is available to help meet the expenses of caring for children with special needs. More money may be
available to help pay for medical or psychological services. Many of the children with special needs will still be eligible
for Medicaid after adoption.