How Georgia’s Safe Haven Law Can Help Mothers and End Child Abandonment

How Georgia’s Safe Haven Law Can Help Mothers and End Child Abandonment

While only the eighth most populous state in the United States, Georgia has the second highest rate of babies abandoned by their mothers and has the largest number of babies on the East Coast abandoned in just their first few days of life.  

Recently, this alarming epidemic drew national attention with the story of Baby India, a newborn who was found clinging to life, bloody and with her umbilical cord still attached, in a plastic bag near a wooded area in Forsyth County, Georgia. A local family heard Baby India’s cries and came to her rescue.  Thankfully, experts, media commentators, and advocates are hearing the cries of babies like India and hoping to point mothers to Georgia’s Safe Haven Law.

What You Need to Know About the Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry

The Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry is maintained by the Division of Family and Children Services (“DFCS”) to organize and provide information to connect adopted individuals and their families. As DFCS states on the Reunion Registry website, “adoptees, birth parents, or siblings who have been permanently separated through adoption often reach a time in their lives when they want more information about their biological family. This ‘need to know’ may be due to medical, genetic, genealogical, or personal reasons.”

Understanding the Infamous ICPC

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (“ICPC” or the “Compact”) is a statutory agreement between all 50 states and the District of Columbia which regulates and ensures uniformity in the process of placing children living in one state into another state. Since the 1950s, the ICPC has been adopted in every U.S. jurisdiction, including the State of Georgia. Before the law became universally adopted, each individual state’s ability to ensure the best interests of a child adopted beyond its borders was geographically limited. A patchwork of conflicting rules and regulations prevented a state from having any oversight of how a child’s well-being was provided for once the child was sent beyond the state’s borders. This was a double-edged sword for states, which could neither help children placed in bad adoption situations or get children into good out-of-state homes.

When to Expect a Court Investigation and How to Prepare for It?

Georgia adoption laws underwent the first significant overhaul in approximately 28 years in September 2018, resulting in changes aimed at making the adoption process more efficient for hopeful parents. However, adoption still requires a comprehensive review of prospective adoptive parents, their homes, their families, and their day-to-day lives so that the courts can determine if the home is the right fit for a child.

Stepparent Adoption: Security for the Blended Family

There are many blended families composed of children from prior marriages and relationships. Has the thought crossed your mind about whether to pursue a stepparent adoption?  A stepparent adoption is where the child’s custodial parent consents to the child being adopted by the new spouse.  Once the adoption is finalized the custodial parent and stepparent will equally be the legal parents of the child. 

Why Would An Adult Seek To Be Adopted?

 Often, when people think of adoption, they tend to think of only minor children under the age of 18.  However, in Georgia, not only minors may be adopted, but adults may be adopted as well.  Adults choose to be adopted for varying reasons, to include the following:

No matter how old you are, the desire is never lost for family.  Many adults also pursue adult adoptions to remove the stigma of not having a family and of not having a feeling of permanence.