Many parents eagerly await their child’s adoption day for months or even years. For other families, their child has been living in their home or a part of the family for a long time, and the adoption day has been anticipated for some time. No matter your adoption journey, it can be helpful to know what to expect and how to prepare as a family to celebrate this monumental occasion.
What to Expect on Adoption Finalization Day
An adoption finalization takes place in a courthouse and provides adoptive parent(s) with permanent, legal custody of a child. While every situation is different, most adoption finalization hearings are brief (about 5-10 minutes) and typically involve the adoptive parent(s), the child who is to be adopted, the child’s social worker, an attorney, the judge, and possibly other professionals. Family and friends are usually allowed in the courtroom as well, and can be a great help in providing emotional support and documenting the day with photos or videos of the hearing.
During an adoption finalization hearing, the judge may ask questions such as, “Why do you want to adopt?” or “What are you planning to do to care for this child?” These kind of questions are meant to ensure that your home is a safe and loving place for the child, and that you understand that adoption is a lifelong commitment. In addition to the formal legal proceedings, many judges will also take a photo with your family or let your child sit in their chair and bang the gavel on their adoption finalization day; however, you may need to ask ahead of time if any of these options are possibilities. These little extra special touches can add a great memory to an already exciting day.