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The most common type of adoption is by a stepparent.  Generally, the biological parent who is relinquishing parental rights signs a Consent to Adopt and a Guardian Ad Litem is appointed to represent the child.  The Guardian Ad Litem makes a Home Visit, visits with the child, checks the adoptive parent's background and makes a recommendation at the time of the Final Hearing.  After a Family Court Judge signs the Adoption Decree, the agency that handles the child's vital statistics records amends the child's birth certificate.  This usually requires the completion of some forms and payment of a fee.

If the adoptive parents are not related to the child biologically or by marriage, the process is a bit more complex. Various reports have to be prepared by a certified adoption investigator and an accounting of the expenses incurred for the adoption must be provided.

If the natural parents do not sign a relinquishment of their parental rights, their rights will have to be terminated. The usual reason for the termination is that the parent fails to visit with the child or provide support for a reasonable period of time.




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