FAQ’s | Adoptive Parents
Adopting a Child in Nebraska
A Nebraska couple who seeks to adopt a child born in Nebraska must have a home study done by a child placement agency, licensed in the state of Nebraska. The home study must be done prior to the placement of the child in the home of the adoptive couple. The child must reside with the adoptive couple for six months before the court can enter a decree of adoption. The decree of adoption will result in the creation of a new birth certificate for the child showing the adoptive parents to be the child’s parents. The child’s name on the new birth certificate will be the name given the child by the adoptive parents.
Finding a Baby
One of the most difficult obstacles prospective adoptive couples face is finding a child to adopt. Adoption agencies are one source of an adoption placement. Attorneys who practice adoption law may represent a birth mother who is seeking an adoptive couple. Some adoptive couples advertise in publications that they desire to adopt a child. Sometimes adoptive couples learn of a possible adoption through the couple’s family, friends, or clergy. If a birth mother responds to the ad of the adoptive couple, or otherwise becomes aware of the adoptive couple’s desire to adopt, and agrees to place the child with them, an adoptive couple should consult an attorney in order to follow the necessary legal procedure to secure a valid adoption.
What is a private adoption?
The placement of the child with adoptive parents and the relinquishment of the birth parents’ rights are achieved in a private manner, with separate attorneys representing the birth parents and the adoptive parents. The adoption placement occurs without the assistance of an adoption agency.
Open or Closed Adoption
The openness of an adoption pertains to the degree in which there is communication between the birth parents and the adoptive parents prior to the birth and after the placement of the child. Commonly, the birth parents and the adoptive parents meet prior to the placement on a first name basis only; and following the placement, the adoptive parents have no further contact with the birth parents but the adoptive parents will provide the birth parents photos of the child at agreed upon intervals. An adoption can be open to the extent that there is continued communication between the birth and adoptive parents following the placement and may include actual contact between the birth parents and the child.
When do we need a home study?
Nebraska law requires that the home study of the adoptive parents be completed prior to the placement of the child in the home of the adoptive parents. The home study will include a criminal background check with the Nebraska State Patrol and a search of the Nebraska central registry for child abuse.
How to Get a Home Study
A Nebraska couple who needs a home study must have the home study completed by a child placement agency, licensed in the state of Nebraska. In certain cases, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services may conduct the home study.
Relinquishment and Consent of Birth Parents
The birth parents sign the documents relinquishing their parental rights and consenting to the adoption no sooner than forty-eight hours after the birth of the child. Pursuant to Nebraska law, a voluntary relinquishment and consent is irrevocable upon the signing. There is no waiting period, or gap of time, in which the birth parents have an opportunity to change their minds and reverse the relinquishment.
Adopting a Child Born In another State
Nebraska adoptive parents who identify a child to be born and/or residing in a state other than Nebraska will have their home study and request for adoption processed by a Nebraska state agency and a state agency in the state sending the child to reside in Nebraska prior to the placement of the child with the adoptive couple. Only after the approval of both state agencies will the Nebraska couple be able to remove the child from the sending state. The involvement of the state agencies in interstate adoptions insures that the child is placed with a suitable adoptive couple and that the rights of the birth parents are satisfied fully.
Adopting a Child Related To Me
There are occasions when grandparents seek to adopt their grandchildren or aunts or uncles seek to adopt their nieces or nephews. If the birth parents voluntarily placed the child with a relative without the assistance of an attorney, physician or agency and later the relative seeks to adopt the child, a pre-placement home study requirement is not required. However, the relatives seeking the adoption must have a post placement home study completed by a Nebraska licensed child placement agency prior to court hearing for adoption. In certain cases, the Nebraska Department of Health and Home Services may conduct the home study.
Adopting My Spouse's Child
Nebraska law provides for step-parent adoptions. That is, a spouse adopts the biological child of his or her spouse. In most cases, the court does not require a home study for a stepparent adoption. However, the adopting spouse must provide the court with a Nebraska criminal background check and a search of the Nebraska central registry of child abuse. In all step parent adoptions, the parental rights of the biological parent who is not the spouse must be satisfied either by the biological parent’s relinquishment, verified notice or judicial determination of abandonment.
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