Adoption proceedings can be handled in the Family Court or in the Surrogate’s Court. An adoption petition asks the court to grant permanent legal rights and responsibilities for a child to an individual other than the child’s natural parents.
Children over the age of 14 must consent to the adoption.
Private Placement Adoptions: In a private placement adoption, the child’s natural parents and the individual seeking to adopt the child reach an agreement without the aid of a social services or adoption agency. To be eligible for a private placement adoption, individuals must first be “pre-certified” or approved for temporary custody of the child while the court decides whether they are suitable adoptive parents for the child.
Before approving a private placement adoption, the court requires proof that the biological parents consented to the adoption of the child.
Once the adoption is approved, the adoptive parents become the legal parents of the child.
Agency Adoptions: These adoptions take place when the child is already in the custody of a social services agency and the parental rights of the natural parents have been terminated. The agency, such as a foster care agency, investigates the potential adoptive parents and their home. If it finds that they are suitable, a petition will be submitted to the court along with other necessary documents. Generally, if the court determines that the adoptive parents can properly care for and support the child, the adoption is approved.
Once the adoption is approved, the adoptive parents become the legal parents of the child.Family Court Home Page