Private Adoption in NJ
Private Adoption, also called Independent Adoption, occurs when a child’s birth mother (as well as their birth father if he is involved in the adoption) surrenders the child to the prospective adoptive parent or parents directly. An adoption agency only gets involved in order to conduct a home study (to assess the prospective adoptive parents’ living standards and capability to parent), to counsel the birth parents if it is deemed necessary or if they wish it, and to visit the adoptive home for supervision until the court finalizes the private adoption process in a hearing.
How Does a Private Adoption Work?
Private adoptions usually begin when the prospective adoptive parents attempt to find a birth mother looking to adopt, whether by advertising on the internet or by networking with friends, family, and acquaintances. Prospective adoptive parents who actively seek out birth mothers through various methods tend to find a child much quicker.
How is a Private Adoption Different from an Agency Adoption?
In New Jersey, a private adoption and agency adoption differ greatly in terms of the surrender of the birth parent’s parental rights and their consent to the adoption. In a private adoption, the birth parents submit consent to the adoption to the court, but do not surrender their parental rights until the final hearing (unless a separate hearing has been specifically planned beforehand). This means that the birth parents are able to attend the final hearing and contest the adoption. The birth parents are also entitled to legal counsel throughout the adoption process.
In an agency adoption, the birth parents surrender their parental rights to the adoption agency a minimum of three days after the birth of the child. This surrender is final and the birth parents are not entitled to be informed of the adoption process. The prospective adoptive parents deal only with the adoption agency from that point on and the birth parents are no longer involved.
Experienced legal counsel is necessary to ensure your rights are protected during this process. For help getting started with the private adoption process, contact us today.