Congratulations on your important decision to adopt a child and expand your family! Now that you have decided to move forward, or even if you are still only considering adoption, you need to know how the process works in Mississippi. Fortunately, it is not as difficult as you may think to add a child to your household.

The sections below contain information about each step in the adoption process.

1) Make contact. With a simple call to the Foster/Adoption Information Hotline, you will receive all the resources you need to begin the process of adoption and submit an application. Many adoptive parents rely on family law professionals to help them avoid mistakes on the application. You should also realize that you might be placed on an adoption waiting list.

2) Application evaluation. Upon receipt of your application, it will be evaluated to see if you are eligible to adopt. Evaluators look at elements like income, length of marriage (if married) and age of the prospective parent(s).

3) Training. Upon application approval, prospective parents must participate in five training sessions to learn about adoption. The training also helps parents address and manage sensitive topics with an adopted child.

4) Home study. A social worker will interview you and your family several times to teach you about often unforeseen issues related to adoption. This helps you identify if you are truly ready to adopt.

5) Placement. First, you will enjoy short visits with your child and then graduate to overnight visits. This helps prepare you, the child and other family members for a more permanent placement.

6) Home visits. Before your adoption finalizes, the social worker will visit your home several times to make sure that everyone is adjusting well to the new family dynamics.

7) Finalization. At this stage, formal family law court proceedings take place to make the child a legal and permanent member of your family. It is wise to have attorney representation during this final stage of adoption.

Source: Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, "Learn More About Adopting a Child," accessed June 08, 2018

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