What is the Adoption Finalization Process Like in Oklahoma?
By Ryan Yau
As a birth mother, you likely have had multiple questions. You’ve likely thought of questions like, “Is adoption for my baby the best choice for me?” But now, you are at the end. Your adoption finalization day marks the end of your adoption journey. Finalizing your adoption is an occasion to celebrate! But just like in the beginning of your adoption, you may have questions about what that day will look like.
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma can help you prepare for the entire adoption process, including your adoption finalization. If you’re considering giving your baby up for adoption, we can help you be informed.
What is Required for Adoption Finalization?
In order for your adoption to be legally finalized, there are some requirements you must meet. These exact requirements for finalization may be different depending on the state. In Oklahoma, you will need to meet Oklahoma adoption consent laws.
Most importantly, you need to voluntarily terminate your parental rights. This is in order for the adoptive parents to legally claim the parental rights of your child. Usually, you consent to this in writing and in front of a judge or court-appointed individual.
Depending on the circumstances, other laws may need to be met. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) law will be applicable if your adoption crosses state lines. Similarly, Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) laws are applicable if your child is of Native American descent. These laws provide protections in special cases of adoption. If you have legal questions about these laws, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma can connect you with an adoption attorney.
If these requirements are all met, your legal adoption journey is now complete. Your baby has officially been adopted, and you can rest easy knowing there is no additional work to do.
Can I Keep in Touch with My Child After Adoption Finalization?
Though your adoption may be finalized, you may still want to keep in touch with your child. If this is a concern for you, you may want to choose an open adoption for your baby. An open adoption allows you to exchange contact information with your child’s adoptive parents. This means you can communicate with them post-adoption and even visit your child’s family. For many mothers, this can alleviate some of the grief that comes with placing a child for adoption.
If your preference is to have less contact with your child, you can choose that as well. In a semi-open adoption you will receive updates about your child from the agency. However, you will not receive any contact information, meaning you can be updated on your child but cannot visit them. In a closed adoption, you do not receive updates nor contact information. One of our adoption agencies will allow you to plan for the type of adoption that best fits your needs.
Visiting Your Child’s Finalization Hearing
A few months to a year after placing your child for adoption, there will be an adoption finalization hearing. The hearing confirms that your child is adjusting to their new adoptive parents and living situation. Since you will already have relinquished your parental rights, your part of the adoption process is over. Therefore, it is not necessary to attend. However, visiting your child’s finalization hearing may help you keep up with your child as well as provide some closure. This is also a way to support your child’s adoptive parents and secure a stronger relationship between you.
The hearing will typically last for 30–60 minutes. The adoptive parents will be sworn into court, and a judge will ask questions concerning the adoption. They will be asked about why they chose to adopt and how they have been raising their child. From this, you may gain a better sense of how your child is doing and what their environment is like.
Once the hearing is over, the judge will sign a final decree of adoption. This represents the legal end of the adoption journey. For many adoptive parents, the finalization hearing is a joyous occasion, and may be celebrated.
Celebrating the Adoption Finalization
After your finalization hearing, your child’s new adoptive family may want to celebrate. If you have kept good relations with them, you may even be invited to join in on the fun. While you may be hesitant, celebrating may be a great way to overcome grief. You should recognize that raising a child may not have been practical for you at this moment. Furthermore, witnessing the adoptive family’s joy can help you feel more secure in your decision. Adoption benefits both birth and adoptive parents, and as such should be celebrated.
If you are a birth mother thinking about placing your child for adoption, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma can answer any questions you may have.