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In adoption cases you have to serve the parents with the petition to terminate their rights.
Then, the court is going to insist that an ad litem (usually an attorney ad litem) be appointed to represent the child and then any parents that don't show up if they don't hire a lawyer then the court will appoint one for them as well so that all the requirements of due process are met.
Usually you do the termination and adoption at the same time and the actual process follows this general pattern:
1) The Petition to Terminate Parental Rights and Petition for Adoption are filed with the court
2) The Petitions are served on the other side
3) The Respondents file their Answer, if they choose to do so.
4) The judge will appoint the ad litem for the child
5) The judge orders a home study, social study, genetic study, criminal background check, etc. for the adoption portion. Sometimes the lawyer can get the judge to waive one or more of these since the child has been residing with you for a while but technically they're supposed to be done.
6) The lawyer will prepare a waiver of parental rights for the mother to sign and have notarized if she agrees. However, the waiver has to follow a strict pattern and it's sometimes hard to get the prisoner to initial correctly, sign correctly, etc. and so this may require repeated tries or even a visit to the prison by the attorney with a notary from their office or locally.
7) If there is no agreement, the judge hears any pretrial matters (rare in these types of cases)
8) The case is set for a final hearing. At the final hearing each side presents their evidence if it is not agreed and the judge rules.
9) If the termination is agreed and granted then the judge goes directly into the adoption hearing and grants it. If the termination was contested and the judge granted the termination then they can go directly into the adoption but usually they will wait the thirty days to see if an appeal is filed.
10) At the adoption hearing the judge grants the adoption and signs the order.
11) A certified copy of all papers are sent to appropriate government agencies to correct birth certificates, change names, etc.
As I said earlier, any minor change in facts can cause any of these things to change somewhat but this procedure will always follow the general pattern.