Adoption Frequently Asked Questions
What is Adoption?
Adoption is defined as the act by which an adult formally becomes the guardian of a child and incurs the rights and responsibilities of a parent. The legal relationship results in the adoptee becoming the adoptive parent’s legal heir and terminates any legal rights that existed with the birth parents; the same as if the child had been born to the adoptive parents.
What are the different types of adoption?
- Open Adoption – Allows birth parents to know and have contact with the adoptive parents and the child.
- Semi-Open Adoption – Birth parents and adoptive parents will share non-identifying information and the communication between birth parents and adoptive parents will typically be handled by CCETN. Semi-open adoptions will have an individual communication plan developed based on birth parent and adoptive parents’ needs.
- Closed Adoption – Birth parents have no direct contact with the adoptive family and the adoptive family are provided little or no information regarding the biological parents.
Do adoptive parents need a home study?
All prospective adoptive parents must have an approved home study completed and reviewed annually until the placement of the child. Upon placement, quarterly post placement assessments will be completed as part of the home study process until adoption has been completed.
When must parental rights be surrendered or terminated?
Parental rights must be surrendered or terminated by all legal parents prior to an adoption petition being filed. Voluntary terminations of parental rights can be revoked within 3 days of the hearing. Persons with legal rights include: birth mother, man who has been declared as the father, putative father, legal husband of birth mother. Volunteer termination of parental rights can occur in one of the following ways:
- Waiver of Interest by biological father prior to the birth of the child.
- Legal fathers who are not biological can complete a Denial of Paternity.
- A birth mother or father can complete a Surrender of Parental Rights before a judge or chancellor.
CCETN only works with birth/legal mothers who are interested in voluntarily terminating their rights for the purpose of adoption. Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights eligibility will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by an adoption attorney prior to a match being made with a pre-adoptive family. Involuntary Terminations of Parental Rights are lawsuits filed by the prospective adoptive parents and must provide at least one of the state mandated grounds in order for termination to occur. A birth/legal father can appeal up to 2 times on an Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights.
Where are adoptions filed?
Adoptions are filed with the Chancery or Circuit Court in the county that you reside. Adoptive parents are responsible for attorney fees and all court costs associated with their adoption. Tennessee state law requires that the birth mother or legal birth father wait at least 48 hours after the child is born or after the mother leaves the hospital before consenting to adoption. Consent may be revoked within the first 4 days of execution. Consent must occur in the presence of a judge under oath.
What expenses are birth/legal mothers eligible for?
Birth/legal mothers are eligible for the following expenses paid by the pre-adoptive parent(s):
- Medical expenses not covered by insurance for the mother and baby.
- During the pregnancy and for 45 days after surrender, the birth mother may receive payment for the following reasonable and actual expenses: housing, utilities, transportation, maternity clothes, and food.
- If the birth/legal mother requests counseling, the pre-adoptive parents are required to pay for counseling for up to two years. Counseling may occur during or after the birth of the child.
- If the birth/legal mother requests their own attorney, the pre-adoptive parents are required to pay for her to have an attorney.
How is A Loving Option Adoption's services different than an adoption facilitator or adoption consulting program?
- Adoption Facilitators – Facilitators are prohibited within the State of Tennessee. Adoption facilitators that operate in other states are agencies or individuals that provide matching services but are not licensed child placement agencies.
- Adoption Consulting Services – Adoption consultants charge fees to provide adoptive parents with informatin about the adoption process, marketing assistance, matching with agencies and attorney, etc. however, do not match with prospective birth parents.
- A Loving Option Adoption is a licensed child placement program that offers information, assistance with creating a profile, matching with attorneys, matching with prospective birth parents, placement services, and post-placement services through the formal resolution of adoption.