Indiana is among the majority of states that allow for both public and private adoptions. In a private adoption, the biological and adoptive parents work together without the involvement of an agency (for this reason, private adoptions are also known as “independent” adoptions). A private adoption can be the best – and least costly – option in many circumstances, including when both sets of parents are familiar with one another and are prepared to work together to ensure that their adoption proceeds as smoothly as possible.
The private adoption process can be used to transfer custody of a child to parents with no biological relation. This could involve the biological parents identifying adoptive parents during pregnancy, both sets of parents working with an intermediary to find a suitable set of circumstances, or it could be the result of a planned arrangement. In any case, both sets of parents will work with their respective attorneys to complete the paperwork necessary to finalize the adoption.
In many circumstances, when one parent remarries, each member of the family will desire for the new step-parent to have legal parenting rights. This can be accomplished through a private step-parent adoption.
Family circumstances may call for a child’s grandparents to become his or her adoptive parents. Grandparent adoptions are another common form of private adoption; and, when all family members are in agreement that the grandparents should take over responsibility for the child, the adoption process can be fairly straightforward.
Along with step-parents and grandparents, other adult relatives have the ability to adopt both minor and adult family members in Indiana as well.
A form of private adoption that has grown in popularity in recent years is the “open” adoption. With an open adoption, the biological parents maintain contact – in one form or another – with the adopted child as he or she grows. Biological and adoptive parents have the flexibility to structure open adoptions as they see fit, from the biological parents writing letters to the child to regularly-scheduled supervised or unsupervised visitation.
While private adoptions are generally less structured than agency adoptions, they still involve a formal process. Once both sets of parents have agreed to the adoption in principle, they will need to finalize the terms of the adoption in a written adoption agreement. This agreement will need to comply with the requirements of Indiana’s adoption laws, and it should include any “open” provisions to which the parents have agreed. There are various forms that will need to be completed as well.
Once both sets of parents are ready, a petition for adoption must be filed in the appropriate Indiana state court. Since adoption is a legal process, it is imperative that the parents receive a final adoption order before taking any action that is inconsistent with the biological parents’ default rights and responsibilities.
If you would like more information about the private adoption process in Indiana, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation at our family law offices in Carmel, Indiana. Attorney Joshua R. Hains has guided numerous biological and adoptive parents through the private adoption process, and he can help you understand what to expect over the weeks and months to come. To speak with Mr. Hains in confidence, please call (317) 688-1305 or request an appointment online today.