If you are entering the adoption process in Indiana, it is important to understand the different rights and responsibilities that both adoptive parents and birth parents hold. Indiana, like all other states across the country, has a unique set of adoption laws that you will need to abide by during the process. From revocation for birth parents to obtaining consent for the adoption, the following information can help you prepare for the journey ahead.
What Types of Adoption Are Available in Indiana?
To understand the rights that the birth parents will hold in your adoption case, you will first need to understand the difference between the two adoption processes in the state of Indiana. You can either enter into an agency adoption or independent adoption.
- Agency adoptions involve an adoption agency that manages the process from start to finish, including managing the legal processes. Birth parents relinquish physical and legal custody of the child to the agency, and the agency will be responsible for selecting, monitoring, and transferring custody of the child to the adoptive parents.
- Independent adoptions occur outside of the agency and take place between birth parents and adoptive parents. Through this process, the birth parents transfer legal and physical custody to the birth parents. The birth parents may consult with an adoption agency for home studies and counseling services, and the attorneys for both parties manage this process.
Obtaining Consent for Adoption in Indiana
Under Indiana state law, birth parents must provide consent for adoption for a child who is under the age of 18. If the birth mother is still alive, the state requires that she provides consent at any time after the child is born. Birth fathers can consent to adoption at any point after pregnancy.
There are certain situations under which a birth parent does not have to provide consent for adoption can be legal. For example, if the parent is unfit to care for the child, the state has already terminated the rights of the parent, or the parent abandoned the child for at least six months before adoption, the state does not require consent. If the child was conceived as a result of rape, incest, or sexual misconduct, the birth father does not have to provide consent for the adoption to be legal.
Can Birth Parents Select Adoptive Parents?
The selection of adoptive parents depends on whether or not the birth parents chose to undergo an agency adoption or independent adoption. If the birth parent goes through the agency process, the agency will either select the adoptive parents themselves or provide a series of profiles of different families for the birth parents to choose from. In independent adoptions, the birth parents can view profiles of adoptive families through their attorneys, word of mouth, social media, and internet and newspaper advertisements. The birth parents may already know the adoptive family they want to give custody to prior to adoption as well.
Can a Birth Parent Change His or Her Mind About Adoption?
Birth parents can change their minds about adoption at any time before they sign a consent form or relinquish custody of the child to the adoptive family. After signing these documents, there may be a revocation period during which the birth parents can revoke their consent. In certain situations, consent is irrevocable. Discussing the adoption process with an attorney can help birth parents determine what revocation guidelines they may be operating under.
If you are considering adopting a child in Indiana or you are a birth parent considering adoption, understanding these rights can help you navigate the journey ahead. To ensure that you satisfy all legal requirements for adoption, contact an Indiana family law attorney as soon as possible. Your Indianapolis family law attorney will be able to help you understand your rights, complete required paperwork, and guide you through the process each step of the way.