Adoption By City

How to Adopt in Alabama

Alabama is home to families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey. Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in Alabama.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Alabama

To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked question about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in Alabama.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Alabama?

General guidelines for adoption in Alabama include:

  • If married, both husband and wife must be at least 19 years old
  • Married applicants must have been married for 3 years
  • Single persons may apply to become Adoptive Parents
  • Persons of any religious faith or background may attempt to adopt
  • Either the Birth Mother or Father must be a U.S. citizen

Families hoping to adopt must also provide medical reports indicating good health, have sufficient income and savings, pass a criminal background check, and be willing to provide medical treatment to the adoptee as needed.

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Alabama?

The cost to adopt a child in Alabama can range vastly depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Adoptive Parents are permitted to pay for Birth Mother expenses such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Counseling services
  • Rent
  • Fees from an agency
  • Travel expenses
  • Legal representation

Payments from Prospective Adoptive Parents to the Birth Mother should be approved by court.

How do you become a foster parent in Alabama?

To become a foster parent in Alabama, a person must:

  • Be at least 19 years old
  • Have financial and family stability
  • Complete criminal background checks and child abuse registry checks for all household members who are 19 and older
  • Provide character references
  • Be physically able to care for the child
  • Attend preparation training
  • Complete a home safety inspection
  • Complete a home study
  • Be First Aid and CPR certified for infants, children, and adults
  • If married, be married for at least one year

What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in Alabama?

In Alabama, it is illegal for any person or agency to advertise that they will assist with adoption, assist with placing a child into foster or group homes, or pay the child’s Birth Parents. An adoption facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers using advertising; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated, making them illegal in Alabama.

Click here to read about the difference between adoption agencies, attorneys, and facilitators.

What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in Alabama

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in Alabama.

Who must consent to an adoption in Alabama?

Consent to adoption in Alabama is required by the following:

  • The Birth Mother
  • The presumed father, regardless of paternity, if:
    • Before the child's birth, he and the child’s mother attempted to marry each other
    • He and the child's mother are or have been married to each other and the child was born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage was terminated
    • After the child’s birth, he and the child’s mother married or attempted to marry each other, and with his knowledge or consent, he was named the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate, he is obligated to support the child, or he received the child into his home and openly held out the child as his own child
  • The agency to which the child has been relinquished or holds permanent custody and has placed the adoptee for adoption
  • The putative father, if made known by the mother or is otherwise made know by the court, is provided notice complies and responds to the notice within 30 days.

Prior to a minor birth parent giving consent, a guardian ad litem must be appointed to represent the minor’s interests. If the father is a minor and the court finds he has given consent by his actions, it is not necessary to appoint a guardian ad litem.

Children 14 or older must give consent to the adoption unless the court decides they do not have the metal capacity to give consent.

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Alabama?

Consent is not required for adoption in Alabama for the following people:

  • A parent whose paternal rights have been revoked
  • A parent who has relinquished their minor child to a licensed agency or the Department of Human Resources
  • A deceased parent
  • An alleged father who has signed a written statement denying paternity
  • A Birth Father when the Birth Mother indicates that he is unknown
  • A parent who has been adjudged incompetent or mentally incapable of consenting to adoption whose mental disability is likely to continue for a long period of time

Consent from a Birth Parent is implied in Alabama by the following actions:

  • Abandonment of a child
  • Receiving notice of adoption proceedings and failing to respond within 30 days of notification
  • Knowingly leaving a child with other without support or communication for 6 months
  • Leaving a child without provisions of their identification for 30 days

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Alabama?

Consent to adoption in Alabama can be given at any time. Once it is signed, it may be revoked within 5 days of the signing or 5 days of the birth of the child, whichever comes last.

The consent must be in witting, signed by the person consenting, and must state that the person is voluntarily and unequivocally consenting to the adoption of the child. If the Birth Mother gave consent prior to the birth of the child, it must be signed before a judge who will explain the legal effect of signing the document and the withdrawal process.

All other pre-birth and post birth consent must be signed before:

  • A judge who has jurisdiction over adoption proceedings
  • A notary public
  • A person appointed by an agency who is authorized to give consent

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Alabama?

Consent or relinquishment of a child in Alabama may not be revoked unless:

  • The court finds the revocation is reasonable and in the best interest of the child within 14 days of the birth of the child or within 14 days of the relinquishment, whichever comes latest.
  • At any time until the final adoption decree if the consent was found to be obtained by fraud, duress, mistake, or undue influence from the Adoptive Family or agency.
    • After 1 year of the final adoption decree, consent cannot be challenged in court for any reasons, except for cases where the child was kidnapped.

Implied consent by abandonment of a child may not be revoked at any time in Alabama.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Alabama?

In Alabama, presumed fathers have the right to be notified about the adoption proceedings of their child. The father must register with the Putative Father Registry prior the child’s birth or within 30 days of the birth in order to receive notice of the adoption. Irrevocable implied consent of the father is given if he fails to file a notice of intent to claim paternity within this time. The Birth Father may also revoke his claim to paternity at any time.

A man is presumed the Birth Father in Alabama if:

  • He and the Birth Mother are married when the child is born
  • He and the Birth Mother were married and the child is born within 300 days of the termination of marriage
  • After the child’s birth, he and the Birth Mother have married and
    • He has acknowledged his paternity in writing; or
    • With his consent, he is acknowledged the child’s father on the birth certificate; or
    • He is obligated to support the child by court order
  • While the child is still a minor, he takes the child into his home as his own and supports the child both emotionally and financially.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Alabama

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Alabama are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

A home study is a preplacement investigation to ensure your home will provide a child with stability, safety, and support. It is also a resource for Prospective Adoptive Parents to asks questions about the process and prepare for the adoption.

In Alabama, the investigation of the Prospective Adoptive Parents will include

  • Criminal background checks
  • The costs and expenses related to the adoption
  • The suitability of each parent and their home
  • Any orders or judgements that may affect the child
  • Any other circumstances that may be relevant to the placement of the child

A home study in Alabama will include:

  • At least one home visit and several individual interviews with the applicants
  • Reasons for adopting, information about the family background, and future plans of the applicants
  • Interview with at least two references that recommend the applicants for approval
  • Completion of adoption training courses
  • A diagnostic evaluation to recommend the type of child

Home studies must be completed within 24 months of the placement of a child and a child may not be placed in a home prior to the completion of the home study investigation.

Who oversees a home study in Alabama and who is included in it?

A home study in Alabama may be conducted by the Department of Human Resources, a licensed child-placing agency, a licensed social worker, or an individual licensed by the department to perform the investigations.

The Prospective Adoptive Parents will be investigated during the home study.

Why would my home study not be approved in Alabama?

Approval for adoption will be withheld In Alabama is any adult living in the home has been convicted at any time for:

  • A sex-related crime
  • A crime against a child
  • Arson
  • Drug or Alcohol related offenses
  • Major intrusion of property or use of a weapon to secure property

Exceptions can be made for past convictions with documentation of rehabilitation. No exceptions will be made for any individual who was convicted of a sex-related crime or serious negligent or intentional injury to a child.

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Alabama?

Unless otherwise requested by court, a stepparent or relative is not required to complete a home study investigation for the adoption of the child.

What are the home study requirements for adopting a baby from another state?

A Prospective Parent from Alabama may adopt a child from another state, but must first obtain consent from the department. The department is authorized to choose the agency in the state the child will be adopted from to obtain background information of the child. The department is also authorized to complete the home study requirements listed in "What is a home study an what happens during the process?"

What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

In Alabama, a post placement investigation will take place to ensure the Adoptive Family is still in compliance with the terms of consent and that the child is doing well in the home.

The investigation should take place as soon as possible after the adoption, but must be completed within 45 days of the placement.

What are the requirements for a Foster to Adopt placement in Alabama?

The following factors will consider when determining if a foster home will be approved as a child’s adoptive home:

  • The child's attachment to their foster parents
  • The health and income of the foster parents
  • The age of the child in relation to the foster parents
  • The involvement of the Birth Parents
  • The appropriateness of the foster home placement
  • The length of time the child has been in the foster home

Alabama Adoption Professionals

Alabama is home to some amazing adoption professionals who are ready to get your journey started. Whether you are interested in adopting a child or seeking resources to place your child for adoption, these professionals will guide you through the legal pathways and offer you support throughout your journey:

Family Adoption Services

(205) 414-6003

Family Connections Christian Adoptions

(205) 206-4984

Things to do in Alabama

If your adoption journey brings you to the state of Alabama, you can visit some of these popular spots while you wait for the finalization:

Battleship USS Alabama in Mobile

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham

McWane Science Center in Birmingham

Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham

Alligator Alley in Summerdale

A note from Adoption Network Law Center

No matter your decision, we appreciate the time you have taken to read about how to adopt in Alabama. Adoption Network Law Center wishes you the best of luck and is available to answer any further questions you may have about the adoption process. Call 1-866-602-9541 to speak with one of our amazing team members or visit https://adoptionnetwork.com/ to read more about our services. Whether you’re a soon-to-be Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent, ANLC wishes you the best on your adoption journey.