In New Jersey, individuals and couples have many options to build their families. When choosing adoption, there are required steps they must follow to complete the process.
Eligibility and process
An individual or couple must be at least 18 years old, a resident of the state of New Jersey and must meet other eligibility requirements, such as passing a criminal background check and demonstrating that they can financially care for a child.
A home study is also required, which is a full evaluation of the prospective adoptive family, their home and lifestyle to ensure they are fit to adopt a child. Usually, the home study includes home visits, interviews, paperwork and education.
Some families choose to work with an adoption agency who will match them with a child in need of an adoptive family or they may pursue independent adoption.
Before the adoption can be finalized, the child’s biological parents’ rights must be terminated by the court. This process may vary slightly depending on whether the adoption is through the foster care system or private.
Termination and finalization
The first step is to petition the court for termination of parental rights, which must include a detailed explanation of the reasons for termination. The court may appoint an investigator or social worker to review the circumstances of the situation.
Then, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether the termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interest. Once the termination occurs and the court reviews all of the documentation submitted, it will finalize the adoption and issue a final court order.
Adoption gives the adoptive parents the same rights and responsibilities as biological parents.