What Does Adoption Finalization Mean?
By Janae Pabon
If you’re a birth parent a few steps into the adoption process, you may be wondering what is coming next. Working with one of our adoption agencies near you to complete the adoption plan is an extremely important part of the process. However, you have one more plan to make – the birth plan! Then, the last step after you create the birth plan and select the adoptive family is the adoption finalization.
Finalization is the last step in completing an adoption, and Adoption Choices of Missouri will make sure you understand what this looks like. You are so close to placing your baby in a happy home!
What is the Birth Plan?
Adoption finalization is the last step in the adoption process, but the birth plan comes before that. You must create a birth plan so that you’re prepared and comfortable during the birth. All adoption agencies in Missouri will require some form of an adoption plan, birth plan, and finalization.
A birth plan includes a guideline that outlines your preferences for the birth. The Adoption Choices of Missouri adoption specialist that you have been working with will help you create this birth plan in a similar process to the adoption plan. They will ask you questions to make sure you outline all the aspects you may want to determine beforehand.
In the plan, you can specify who exactly you want to be present at the birth with you. These should be the people you want by your side supporting you. You can also request to have the event photographed or recorded. Determine if you would like music playing, and note however much time you would like to spend with the baby after you give birth. All this and more can be included in your personalized birth plan.
The Last Step in the Adoption Process
You may be wondering – what exactly makes the adoption “final”? Adoption finalization means that, by law, you consent to the baby being placed under the custody of the adoptive family you have chosen.
This process occurs in court in front of a judge, where the judge confirms that the adoption was carried out per the law and you legally consent to transfer custody. The adoptive family is expected to attend the hearing as well, and with their presence, the judge will be able to sign the final adoption decree. The legal aspects of the adoption are then complete.
Adoption Laws and Relinquishment Time
Within the finalization at court, a few legalities are required. There must be a termination of parental rights for both birth parents. Also, even if the child does not need to cross a state border for the adoption, the finalization needs Interstate Convention on Child Placement (ICPC) clearance.
You are allowed to change your mind throughout your pregnancy and at any point in the adoption process. However, once you officially consent, you are not allowed to revoke the adoption. As the birth mother, when you sign the consent papers, you relinquish the parental rights you have over your baby. There are very few circumstances in which an adoption can be revoked after finalization. These circumstances are limited to if the adoption was made under fraud or coercion or if the state determines that revocation is in the best interest of the child.
It is important to note that from the moment the baby is born, you, as the birth mother, have a short period of time to sign the consent papers. This is called the relinquishment time, and for a Missouri adoption, it is 48 hours. During the 48 hours, you have the right to change your mind and revoke the adoption. However, as previously stated, once you sign your consent and your rights are relinquished, the adoption is final.
What Does Adoption Finalization Mean For You?
After these legalities, and after the judge finalizes the adoption and transfers custody, the process is complete. This means you cannot change your mind; you are legally bound to the decision.
We know this can be intimidating to hear, knowing that after this step, you will not be the legal parent of your baby. This is why Adoption Choices of Missouri wants to make sure you completely understand the steps of the adoption process and that you create a detailed adoption plan that fits your desires. This way, when you approach the adoption finalization, you will be confident in your decision and excited to transfer your baby into a new, loving home.
Your Adoption is Almost Complete!
After searching for “adoption agencies near me,” connecting with us at Adoption Choices of Missouri, and completing all the steps of adoption, you are finally here! Adoption finalization is the last process in your Missouri adoption. Post-placement will look different depending on what kind of adoption you have outlined.