Making the decision to pursue an adoption in Oklahoma is certainly not an easy one. Oklahoma statutes are very specific regarding adoption and designed to govern the adoption process. An experienced Oklahoma adoption attorney will easily be able to educate you as to the adoption process and what you should expect and consider prior to deciding to move forward with an adoption.
In Oklahoma, in order for a grandparent to adopt his or her grandchild, the same exact adoption policies must be followed as a ‘typical’ adoption. There are two important stages in every adoption – including those involving grandchildren – in Oklahoma. Before the court will grant the adoptive parents (or grandparents) parental rights, it must first discover whether the child is eligible for adoption and whether the prospective parents are eligible to adopt.
For a child to be eligible to be adopted, a party must seek to have the biological parents’ rights’ terminated for a reason enumerated in Oklahoma statutes. This process can be uncontested or contested by the parents.
If the parental rights are terminated, the next step in the adoption process is a determination as to whether it is in the best interest of the child to be adopted by the parties seeking legal parental rights.
During the adoption process, prospective parents will need to have a fingerprint background check performed which will include anFBI background check, state criminal background check and search of the child abuse and neglect files of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. The law also requires a home study but in some situations the judge many waive this requirement.
Grandparents must go through the same adoption process as anyone else. In the event of an adoption, the parent-child relationship will be terminated and the grandparents will be named the child’s legal parents. In addition to adoption, there are a few other options that will allow grandparents to take over the care of a child:
- Foster Care –When a child is initially taken into the custody of the state or a tribe’s child protective services, the child will no longer be in the physical custody of their parent/ parents and will be placed in a foster home. It is the policy of these agencies to place children first with an approved kinship placement. Grandparents are a first option for a kinship placement.
- Legal Guardianship – Sometimes situations arise when grandparents are in a better position to care for a child but do not desire to terminate the parent-child relationship. In this scenario, grandparents will seek a guardianship and allow for the biological parents to have visitation.
- Power of Attorney– Grandparents can seek or agree to have legal authority to make decisions as they pertain to the child’s well-being, education, health, etc. This is done by way of a power of attorney over the child or children.
- Visitation Rights – In Oklahoma, grandparents can seek visitation rights under statutorily enumerated situations.
To learn more about the grandparent adoptions in Oklahoma, please contact Worden Law Firm today. Our Norman adoption attorneys are prepared to answer any questions you may have and help you move forward with your case.