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Ultimate Guide To Adoption in Georgia

by Sharon Jackson  on September 26, 2023 under 

Adoption is the legal procedure through which an individual or a couple takes on the role of a parent for a child who is not biologically related to them. It entails a permanent transfer of legal rights and responsibilities from the child's biological parents or guardians to the adoptive parents.

Adoption offers an opportunity for individuals or families to grow their family and create a secure and caring setting for a child who may require a supportive home.

What are the rules for adoption in Georgia?

The child adoption process is not simple, and it involves meeting specific criteria that differ from state to state. These requirements make certain that the child is placed in a secure and nurturing environment with the adoptive parents.

Requirements for Adopting a Child in Georgia

To adopt a child in Georgia, it is necessary to meet the eligibility requirements set by the state and federal regulations.

  • All prospective adoptive parents must be residents of Georgia for at least six months before initiating the adoption process.
  • They must be at least 25 years old, which ensures that they possess the maturity and capability to care for the child.
  • It is necessary for individuals under the age of 25 to be married and residing with their spouse to be eligible for adoption. However, if they are 25 years old or older, or if they are at least ten years older than the child they intend to adopt, they may not be required to be married or living with their spouse.
  • If the individual is the child’s stepparent or relative, the requirement of being at least ten years older than the child still applies.
  • All prospective parents are required to undergo a home study, which entails background checks.
  • They must prove financial stability and be able to provide for the entire family’s needs, including the child. This status should be maintained on a permanent basis.

What disqualifies you from adopting in Georgia?

The top five concerns that prospective parents often have regarding potential disqualifications for adopting a child are:

Age - being considered too young or too old

Regarding age, adoption requirements prioritize the best interests of the child. In Georgia, the minimum age requirement for adoption is 21 years old. Conversely, some adoption agencies may have an upper age limit (typically up to 50 years old) to ensure the prospective parents can provide long-term care for the child.

Health Concerns

Adoption agencies may stipulate that individuals seeking to adopt must be in remission from life-threatening illnesses like cancer for at least three months. This is to ensure that prospective parents can provide long-term care and support for their child.

Individuals who have a severe and enduring illness or lack a stable mental state are not eligible to adopt a child in Georgia.

Criminal Record

Adoptive parents with a felony conviction face decreased opportunities for adoption. Nevertheless, their chances may improve if their home study indicates positive findings. If the investigation reveals that they have genuinely learned from their past actions and conviction, are committed to avoiding any future wrongdoing, and have taken steps to rectify their mistakes, they may be granted the opportunity to adopt. However, if the offense involves child abuse, sexual misconduct, or domestic violence, it is highly probable that their application to adopt will be denied.

Financial status

Adoptive parents don’t have to be very affluent or completely debt-free to be eligible for adoption, just financially secure. As long as their finances are sufficient to adequately support both the child and themselves, their economic status will not be a hindrance to the adoption process.


The factors that can lead to the disqualification of adoptive parents may differ across adoption agencies. Previously, being an LGBTQ+ parent or couple was often a common reason for potential disqualification. Certain states enacted legislation allowing private adoption agencies, particularly those with religious affiliations, to reject same-sex couples seeking to adopt. However, it is important to note that today, regardless of sexual orientation, LGBTQ+ individuals and couples have the ability to adopt in all 50 states.

Certain adoption agencies might deem single individuals ineligible for adoption since many expectant mothers considering adoption prefer two-parent households for their children. If you have concerns about specific aspects of your life impacting your adoption prospects, contact an adoption professional who can provide more information regarding adoption opportunities that are available to you.

How long is the adoption process in Georgia?

Uncontested adoptions, where parental rights have been willingly surrendered or terminated, undergo a swift process in Georgia courts. It is not uncommon for such adoptions to be finalized within 30-45 days from the initial filing of the adoption petition, and sometimes even sooner.

Conversely, contested adoptions may take longer to progress through the court system. These adoptions involve seeking court approval to terminate a parent's rights and are subject to the procedural safeguards applicable to legal proceedings.

Adoption process in Georgia

Georgia’s adoption procedure can be divided into the following stages:


Prospective adoptive parents must get in touch with the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) by calling 1.877.210.KIDS (5437) or by filling out the Homes for Georgia's Kids inquiry form.

Information Session

Prospective adoptive families must attend an information session to acquire valuable knowledge about the adoption process and the qualifications for adopting through DFCS.

Pre-Service Training

Prospective adoptive parents should successfully finish pre-service training, which encompasses subjects like parenting skills, child development, and attachment.

Family Evaluation

A social worker will perform a comprehensive home study to evaluate the adoptive family’s eligibility for adoption. This assessment involves visits to their homes, interviews with the family members, and background checks.


After the home study’s approval, the prospective adoptive parents will be matched with a child. They will have the chance to meet the child and spend quality time with them before the placement is finalized.


The child is placed with the prospective adoptive family. This is considered a permanent arrangement, and the child will be legally adopted by the family.


A court process overseen by a judge will finalize the adoption. This is the last step in the process, where the child officially becomes a legal member of the adoptive family.

The adoption process typically takes several months to conclude, and it requires patience and preparedness from the prospective adoptive family.

Adult Adoption in Georgia

The initial step in the adult adoption process is to obtain the adoptee's consent to initiate the proceedings. If the individual being adopted agrees, you possess the legal right to proceed with the adoption process in the state of Georgia.

Since the adoptee is already an adult, there is no requirement to terminate any parental rights or conduct home visits to assess parental suitability. Adult adoption can often proceed more swiftly and smoothly than child adoption.

Your most crucial task is to engage an attorney who can provide guidance throughout the legal process. You will need to get written consent from the adoptee, file a motion with the court for adult adoption, and then appear before a judge to receive an official ruling. When the adoption is approved, you will be officially recognized as the other adult’s parent.

Step parent Adoption in Georgia

A stepparent adoption refers to the adoption of the child by the legal parent’s spouse or the child’s stepparent. In Georgia, to be eligible for stepparent adoption, the stepparent must be a resident of Georgia, at least 21 years old, and married to the child's parent. The duration of the marriage between the parent and their new spouse is not specified as a requirement.

When all parties involved agree that a stepparent adoption is in the best interest of the child, the process goes smoothly. Due to changes in the law, this option is now available to same-sex couples who are legally married.

Foster care adoption in Georgia

Foster care serves as a secure haven for children who have been taken from their biological family homes due to various traumatic experiences they have endured. The state where they reside assumes temporary custody of these children while their biological parents undertake personalized requirements aimed at regaining custody.

Foster children available for adoption range from infants to 21 years old. If you plan to adopt a younger child or an infant through foster care, the recommended approach is to initially become a foster parent. This route is typically more financially viable than adopting through an agency. However, it is important to note that there is a risk involved, as parental rights may not be terminated in some cases.

In Georgia, there is currently a monthly subsidy of $523.47 for fostering a child under the age of six. This grant is somewhat higher if the child is older. The amount is intended to cover the child's essential needs like food, clothing, and childcare expenses.

The Fostering Connections Act grants states the option to extend support for a child up to the age of 21 who is attending school, working a minimum of 80 hours per month, or facing a medical problem.

If parental rights are terminated, subsidies may continue if the child meets the criteria for adoption assistance. Additionally, subsidies may be available to assist with specialized services such as counseling, tutoring, and other forms of support, based on the child’s needs.

Cost of Adoption in Georgia

Private agency adoption fees can range from $12,000 to $25,000. These fees cover various expenses which include home study fees, legal fees, and agency fees required to finalize the adoption.

A social worker visits the prospective parent's home and conducts a home study to assess their ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment for a child.

In Georgia, adoptive parents qualify for an adoption tax credit for up to five years after adoption. They can collect $14,080 per child to recover a portion of the expenses incurred when using a private adoption agency.

Alternatively, adopting through a public agency may have lower costs compared to private agencies, which range from $10,000 to $20,000, attributed to the high demand for DCFS to find suitable homes for children in need.

Hiring a Georgia adoption lawyer

Engaging the services of an adoption attorney in Atlanta is crucial when navigating the adoption process. Each state has its own set of adoption laws, and Georgia is no exception, with its specific rules and regulations. Failing to comply with these adoption laws can significantly impact the outcome of your adoption case. Hiring an adoption attorney is the clear solution if you are considering adopting in Georgia.

An adoption lawyer not only offers legal support and accelerates the adoption process but also assists in meeting various legal requirements, ultimately strengthening your case. Inquire about the full range of services provided by your adoption lawyer to ensure you receive comprehensive assistance.

Contact us

Attorney Sharon Jackson LLC has a proven track record of success, assisting numerous clients throughout the Atlanta region. We are eager to listen to your unique circumstances and provide guidance and support tailored to your needs.

If you’re seeking to adopt a child or adult in the metropolitan Atlanta areas of Georgia and surrounding counties, please call us. Our number is (678) 909-4100. We wish you the best and sincerely hope that you are successful in creating a new, loving  family. Thank you for reading.


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