Step 9: Adoption Legalization

Before your child’s adoption may be finalized, he or she must be legally available for adoption and have resided in your home for at least six months. Once you and your child’s social worker are ready to legalize the adoption, your social worker will apply to the Department of Children and Families for an adoption subsidy for your child. This subsidy is based on your child’s needs, not on your family’s income. While the subsidy application is being reviewed, your child’s social worker will be gathering documents to submit to the court for the adoption. You will be asked to provide birth certificates and marriage and/or divorce certificates (if applicable), and to sign two forms, the “Petition for Adoption of Minor” and the “Affidavit of Petitioner for Adoption,” which your child’s social worker will review with you. Some forms require the signature and seal of a notary.

Once your child’s social worker has gathered all the necessary paperwork, a packet of documents will be submitted to the court. After a court clerk reviews all the information carefully and ensures that everything is in order, a date for the adoption will be scheduled. The length of time required to schedule an adoption varies greatly from court to court; it may range from a few weeks to a few months.

On the day of your child’s adoption, you and your family will travel to the court to meet with the judge, who will sign the adoption decree in your presence. Your child’s social worker will be present, as well. Judges enjoy the adoption legalization process greatly and usually talk very informally with parents and children. Family and friends are encouraged to join you in court, and all are welcome to take photos of this exciting event!