- by Melody Swilling
- in Adoption
The reasons why couples choose adoption in Georgia are as unique and individual as the children involved. There may be fertility issues which prevent them from conceiving, or it may be the desire to provide a needy child with a loving home. Same sex couples choose adoption as an alternative to surrogacy, and increasing numbers of single parents are now choosing to adopt as well.
In any of these situations, there are practical considerations which come into play, not the least of which is the cost involved. While you may have heard horror stories about couples ‘buying’ babies on the black market or paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain an infant from overseas, adoption in Georgia is highly regulated under state law.
Adoption In Georgia Cost
The laws pertaining to adoption in Georgia are specific in what they do or do not allow. Only licensed child placement agencies may arrange adoptions, and while fees vary, they are generally discussed up front. The National Infertility and Adoption Education Non-Profit estimates that the average cost of adoption ranges between $10,000 and $30,000. Adopting an infant rather than an older child is generally more difficult and expensive, and roughly half of the costs involved go to covering the mother’s birth expenses.
While it is against the law for individuals or agencies to offer anything of value to birth parents as an inducement to surrender their child, an adoptive parent or couple may pay reasonable medical expenses incurred by the birth mother. These include:
- Payment or reimbursement for prenatal care, which includes testing and preventive measures, such as sonograms and prenatal vitamins;
- Coverage of all hospital costs associated with the delivery;
- Coverage of any medical treatment costs required by the mother or child immediately after birth;
- There may be limited other expenses like a cell phone that may be allowed on a case by case basis, but the goal is to allow a birth mother access to appropriate prenatal care, not to induce her to part with her child based upon financial incentive.
How To Adopt A Child In GA
Adoptions in Georgia may be handled by private attorneys, private adoption agencies, or they may go through the Georgia Division of Family and Youth Services (DFCS), which primarily deals with older children from families where they were abandoned or where parental rights were terminated as the result of abuse or neglect.
Under Section 19-8-3 of the Georgia Code, to be eligible as an adoptive parent, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 25 or married and living with your spouse;
- Be at least ten years older than the child;
- Be a resident of Georgia for the prior six-month period;
- Be physically, emotionally, and financially able to provide for the child.
As part of the requirements, you will likely have to undergo home studies, sessions with case workers, and both Federal and Georgia background checking and fingerprinting. Prior to the adoption being finalized, you will need to get a court to terminate any rights the birth parents may possess.
Are You Considering Adoption?
To find out more about adoption in Georgia, call or contact Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor online and request a consultation at one of our five offices located conveniently throughout Atlanta and the surrounding area. We can help guide you through the process and in meeting all requirements, while ensuring the proper legal documents are filed to protect your family’s rights.