Adoption In Oklahoma
Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
WHAT IS ADOPTION?
Adoption is a legal process that permanently places a child with a family that has legally and emotionally accepted the child as their own.
Once an adoption is completed, adopting parents have the same rights, duties and responsibilities to the child as the birth parents would have had. In Oklahoma, single or married persons over the age of 21 can adopt a child. An adoption terminates the parental rights of one or both of the biological parents and creates a new family relationship between the adopting parents and the child who is being adopted. In most cases, the consent of both biological parents is needed before an adoption can take place. However, there are some instances when the court does not need the consent of both parents, such as when a biological parent’s rights have already been terminated. In addition, if the child is 12 years old or older, he or she must consent to being adopted. Once an adoption is complete, the child’s birth certificate is changed to show his/her adopted parents as the parents at birth. The original records are then sealed and can only be viewed with a court order.
- In the case of any adoption, every attempt must be made to get the consent of the biological parents, unless the parents are deceased or have had their parental rights terminated.
- Adoption proceedings can take place in the county where the adopting parents or the child to be adopted lives.
- If the adopting parents are married, both the husband and wife must join in the adoption - even if one of the adopting parents is the birth-parent of the child.
- The adopting parents must have a good home study completed before the adoption can take place. There is a six month waiting period before an adoption can be finalized.
- The home study and the waiting period can be waived when it is a relative adoption, such as a step-parent adoption.
- If a step-parent wishes to adopt a step-child, he/she must have been married to the child's biological parent for at least 1 year.
WHAT TYPES OF ADOPTION ARE THERE?
In Oklahoma there are three types of adoption:
Related Adoption?when at least one of the adoptive parents is related by blood or marriage to the child. This is the most common type of adoption because it includes step-parent adoption.
Unrelated Adoption? when the child is adopted by unrelated parents. This type of adoption usually takes place through a lawyer or an adoption agency; however, individuals can sometimes complete the process on their own.
Adult Adoption? when an adult is adopted. An adult person can be adopted by any other adult person, as long as the person to be adopted agrees.
WHAT ARE THE LEGAL EFFECTS OF ADOPTION?
- When a child is adopted, all relations and rights between the child and its natural parents are terminated, unless one of the adopting parents is the natural parent of the child, such as in a step-parent adoption.
- Natural parents no longer have rights to contact or have information about the child.
- The adopted child is legally viewed as if it were the natural child of the adoptive parents.
- Adoptive parents must provide permanent homes and a lifelong commitment to adopted children.
- Adoptive parents must provide for the child's emotional, mental, physical, social, educational and cultural needs.
- The adopted child will be entitled to inherit property from the adopted parents and the parents will be able to inherit from the child.
- Any visitation order the biological grandparents have may still continueeven after adoption.