After a baby is born and placement is made with an adoptive family, there is one final step in the adoption process that must be completed: adoption finalization.

Like all other legal steps of the infant adoption process, an adoption finalization must be completed with the guidance of an experienced adoption attorney. Kevin Kenney can help you complete the necessary steps for finalizing your adoption in Kansas or Missouri. To learn more about his legal services, please call his offices at 913-671-8008.

Obtaining a final decree of adoption is similar for many adoption processes. Keep reading for more information about how adoption finalization works, and speak to an adoption attorney for specific information regarding your situation.

Legal Steps Needed for Adoption Finalization

Before the legal steps of an adoption finalization can begin, there are certain legal requirements that an adoption process must meet. Most important of these is that all state adoption laws have been followed during the adoption. Contact Kevin Kenney today to determine which particular laws apply to your adoption in Kansas or Missouri.

In general, every adoption will need to meet these requirements before an attorney can start the finalization process:

  • Termination of Birth Parent Rights: In order for a final decree of adoption to be issued, the parental rights of a child’s birth parents must be terminated. This allows the child’s adoptive parents to subsequently establish their own parental rights. Many birth parents will voluntarily give their consent to the adoption and relinquish their rights but, in cases where rights have to be terminated involuntarily (such as in a foster care adoption or a contested adoption), an adoption attorney like Kevin Kenney will play a crucial role.
  • Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA): If the child being adopted is eligible to be a member of a federally recognized Native American tribe, certain legal processes will need to be followed before adoption finalization.
  • Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC): Any adoption completed across state lines will need to follow a strict set of regulations before an adoption finalization can occur. ICPC is a process handled by adoption professionals to ensure that a child is placed in a safe environment in a legal manner.
  • Post-Placement Requirements: Depending on state laws, adoptive parents can expect a certain number of post-placement visits by their adoption professional before becoming eligible for adoption finalization. These visits ensure that a family is adjusting well to the adoption placement and vice versa. Often, these visits are an extension of the adoption home study process.

All of these requirements must be met before an adoption attorney can file for a final decree of adoption. Attorney Kevin Kenney will work with you throughout your adoption process to make sure the appropriate legal steps are taken for your situation.

What Happens During an Adoption Finalization

When your adoption attorney has determined your eligibility to file for a final decree of adoption, the adoption finalization process will begin.

To start, an adoption attorney will file all of the necessary paperwork needed to finalize an adoption. He or she will also represent the adoptive family in the required court hearing.

While an adoption finalization is a court date, it is also a celebratory occasion to which family and friends can be invited. Many adoptive parents also decide to send adoption finalization announcements or throw an adoption finalization party to commemorate this special occasion.

Typically, an adoption finalization hearing takes place three months to a year after placement, and the court hearing itself takes about 30 to 60 minutes. The judge will have reviewed the adoptive family’s paperwork prior to the hearing, so the proceedings usually only include:

  • A swearing-in of the family, attorney and possibly the adoption social worker
  • The adoptive family’s introduction of themselves, answers to the attorney’s questions and confirmation of their desire to adopt
  • A few questions from the judge to the adoptive family
  • The signing of the final adoption decree

Your adoption attorney will help prepare you for this court hearing, as well as any additional adoption requirements you may have to meet before and after this court appearance.

How Kevin Kenney Can Help You Finalize Your Adoption

As mentioned, adoption attorney Kevin Kenney can assist adoptive families with every step of a Kansas or Missouri adoption finalization, as well as guide them through the entire legal process of adoption. His adoption finalization services include:

  • Gathering necessary documentation and filing the adoption petition
  • Obtaining consents and terminating birth parent rights
  • Completing ICPC and ICWA legal procedures
  • Accompanying the adoptive family to the finalization hearing

His services also continue after the adoption finalization is complete. Kevin can help adoptive families obtain a new birth certificate and social security number for the new addition to their family. As your adoption attorney, Kevin Kenney will represent your interests from the beginning to the end of your adoption process.

An adoption finalization is an exciting part of any adoption, but adoptive families must contact an adoption attorney to start the process. Call 913-671-8008 to schedule a free consultation with attorney Kevin Kenney and learn more about the legal process of finalizing an adoption in Kansas City.