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Family or Relative Adoptions are adoptions where one of the prospective adoptive parents is related to the child by blood or law as a sister or brother (including half brothers and sisters), aunt or uncle, grandparents, great-grandparents or step-parent.
Adoptive parents are required to have at minimum a Preliminary Home Study conducted by a licensed child-placing agency, a licensed clinical social worker or by the Department of Children's Services (for DCS adoptions or in approved circumstances for indigent adoptive parents in other types of adoptions) which was conducted no more than 30 days prior to accepting the surrender of a child, accepting the guardianship of a child or filing a petition to adopt a child. A full Home Study will ultimately be required. The Home Study is a full investigation into the lives of the adoptive family to determine their appropriateness as adoptive parents. It includes a medical investigation for determination that the adoptive parents have a normal life expectancy and no diseases that could be transmitted to the child; a financial investigation to determine the adoptive parents' financial responsibility and their resources to provide financially for the child; criminal background checks; sex offender registry checks; home visits to determine the safety of the home; contacting of references and interviews of the adoptive parents to determine their parenting skills, stability of their marriage; general psychological health and general lifestyle investigation to help with determining the best interest of the child. NOTE: The requirement of a home study can be waived by the Court for relative and step-parent adoptions unless the child is surrendered by the biological parents to the adoptive parents.
Termination of Parental Rights. The parental rights of all biological and/or legal parents and putative fathers must be terminated for an adoption to take place. This termination can be done as a separate proceeding or as part of the Petition for Adoption. The termination can be voluntary (by consent, waiver of interest of birth father or surrender) or involuntary by the adoptive parents pleading and proving grounds.
A Petition for Adoption is filed (in the county where the adoptive parents reside; where the child resides; where the child resided when he or she was placed in the custody of a public or private agency or where the agency is located who has custody of the child) and notice is given to all interested parties such as known putative fathers, legal or biological parents whose rights have not been previously terminated or surrendered; to persons who have custody or visitation rights with the child and/or agencies with custody of the child.
If the adoptive parents do not already have legal custody of the child the Court may issue an Order of Guardianship pending the finalization of the adoption upon the adoptive parents filing the preliminary home study. NOTE: The requirement of custody or guardianship orders can be waived by the Court for relative and step-parent adoptions.
There is a six month waiting period from the date the Petition is filed until the adoption can be finalized. NOTE: The six month waiting period can be waived by the Court for relative and step-parent adoptions, or in other adoptions if the child has been in the physical custody and home of the adoptive parents for more than six months at the filing of the petition.
The Putative Father Registry must be checked within 10 days of filing the Petition for Adoption to determine whether or not a putative father has registered and is entitled to notice of the proceedings. The response from the Registry must be filed with the Court.
An Order of Reference will be issued by the Court referring the case to a licensed agency or DCS for investigation, supervision and a recommendation. The agency will submit a preliminary court report, any supplemental court reports and a final court report regarding the suitability of the adoptive family to adopt the child and the child's suitability to be adopted. NOTE: The Order of Reference and all Court reports can be waived for relative and step-parent adoptions.
Disclosure of Fees and Expenses must be made to the Court. All parties must disclose whether they have paid or promised to pay any money, fees, contributions or other remuneration or thing of value in connection with the birth, placement or the adoption of the child, and if so, to whom, the specific amount and the specific purpose for which these payments were paid or promised. Buying or selling a child is ILLEGAL and only certain specific payments are allowed by statute. Payments to anyone other than a licensed child placing agency are limited to the following: agency fees, birth related medical expenses, reasonable counseling fees, reasonable legal services related to adoption of the child, reasonable and actual expenses for the birth-mother's housing, maternity clothes, child's clothing, utilizes, food and transportation. The payment of these fees and expenses shall not exceed 90 days prior to the birth of the child or 45 days after birth or surrender of the child. Keep all receipts of payments made.
Tennessee Adoption Agency Fee Schedules can be found at http://www.state.tn.us/youth/adoption/2006AdoptionFeeSchedule.pdf.
Above are the fees for adoption. Please click Accept so that I receive credit for my response.