Adopting a child can be the most rewarding and beautiful gift you give your family and the child you adopt. This is a very big decision, and here are a few of the procedures you should be prepared for in going through the legal adoption process in Ohio.
- Choose an Attorney to Assist through the Process: Learn about adoption law and engage with an attorney who specializes in adoption. You want someone on your side who understands the ins-and-outs of the adoption process, is familiar with timelines associated with various adoption processes, and who can help you avoid pitfalls as you go through the adoption process.
- Choose an Agency: In Ohio, every county has a Department of Child and Family Services that provides adoption and foster care services. There are also private adoption agencies to choose from. Be sure whoever you deal with is licensed by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services. Public agencies provide no-cost adoption services to qualified applicants who want to adopt children in the foster care system. When working with private agencies, which may be either nonprofit or for profit, adoptive parents pay the adoption fee, unless the agency is contracting with the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services to provide no-cost adoptions to families adopting children in the foster care system.
- Make the Application: The application will ask about your family background and a description of the child you would like to adopt.
- Attend Pre-Service Training: This is adoption education training which must be completed before a home study is approved. This helps prepare potential adoptive parents for the process and the various stages of the adoption process, as well as some of the challenges of adoption. If an assessor determines that you’ve already received the training or that you already have the skills to care for a child, this requirement may be waived.
- Complete the Home Study: This process helps to determine if you’re suitable to adopt. This will generally include personal interviews, home visits, health records, financial records, character references, adoption education, and criminal background checks.
- Work with Your Case Worker to Find the Right Child: The case worker assigned to your case will look at the characteristics of the child you’d be best suited to parent, based on your home study.
- Visit your Child: Once a child has been identified, the caseworker will arrange a time to meet and advise on who should be there and some suggested activities. Subsequent visits may also be arranged.
- Bring your Child Home: After the pre-placement visits, it is time to bring your child into your home. The caseworker will visit periodically to be sure things are going well.
- Legalize the Adoption in Court: This occurs by first filing the petition for adoption, attending the hearing on the adoption, receiving the decree of adoption, and having the birth certificate sealed and reissued.
Ohio Adoption Attorney
Our family attorneys understand the challenges involved in adoption and place a priority on getting you through the legal complexities and into the joys and fulfillment of parenthood by adoption. Our experienced attorneys can help you on this journey.