It depends on the route you choose. It could take a few weeks to a few years. One of the first steps in the process is getting the home study done. This is accomplished through a licensed child-placing agency or a licensed clinical social worker.
Realistically, the cost of adoption can range from $0 on upwards, depending on the circumstances. There are certain classifications of expenses an adoptive parent can encounter in the adoption process. These can include home study fees, placement fees, legal fees, counseling expenses, medical costs, birth mother living expenses, or expenses incurred in a foreign country. Not all these types of expenses are incurred in every adoption. To help offset the cost of adoption, there is some financial assistance available to adoptive parents. This could include federal or state adoption assistance in special needs adoptions, the federal tax credit, employer adoption assistance or adoption loans.
No matter what kind, there are two legal steps in any adoption. The first is terminating parental rights in the birth/legal parents; the second step is establishing parental rights in the adoptive parents. The second step is accomplished by filing an adoption where the adoptive parents live. In Tennessee , non-relative adoptions can be finalized six (6) months after the placement of the child in the home.
In domestic adoptions, Tennessee law requires certain medical, social and educational material be provided on the birth families for up to three generations. Adoptive parents either receive the background history in full or in summary form. The information can also include medical information from the ob/gyn, the pediatrician and the hospital. In international adoptions, adoptive parents receive as much information as is available on the child. This may or may not include information on the biological family or birth and hospital records, depending on whether the child was abandoned or if the parents were available for questioning.
Open adoption is a term used to describe the kinds of information exchanged in an adoption. Its meaning is on a continuum and does not have one definition. Closed adoption is an adoption where no information is exchanged between the parties. Openness in an adoption can be classified as either pre-birth openness or post-birth openness. Pre-birth openness can include the exchange of first names, meeting once, visiting regularly, exchanging full identifying information on the birth and adoptive family or even being in the delivery room. Post-birth openness can include the exchange of pictures or letters, direct contact or visits. What it does not mean, however, is co-parenting. Some sort of openness is the standard in modern adoption, but what it entails is tailored to the individuals involved.