Adoption FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – ADOPTION

What is an adoption?

An adoption is a legal process which terminates the parental rights, obligations and responsibilities of the biological parent(s) and grants the adoptive parent(s) full legal parentage, rights, obligations and responsibilities of the child.  Once an adoption order has been entered, the adopted child’s birth certificated can be revised to change the child’s name and reflect the adoptive parent(s) as the child’s mother and/or father.

When can an adoption be granted by a Mississippi Court?

Mississippi has jurisdiction of an adoption proceeding in the following instances:

Who may adopt?

An unmarried adult or a married adult whose spouse joins in the petition for adoption may adopt.  Each adopting parent must be at least twenty-one (21) years old.

Can same gender couples adopt?

Mississippi law prohibits adoption by couples of the same gender.

Can an adult be adopted?

Yes, any person may be adopted by an unmarried adult or by a married person whose spouse joins in the petition for adoption.

What documents are required by the Court in an adoption proceeding?

A sworn petition must be filed in the chancery court of the county where either (1) the  county in which the adopting parent(s) resides, (2) the county in which the adoptive child resides, (3) the county in which the adoptive child was born, (4) the county in which the adoptive child was found abandoned or deserted, or (5) the county in which the home that the child has been surrendered to is located.

The petition must be accompanied by a doctor’s or nurse practitioner’s certificate showing the physical and mental condition of the adoptive child.

If the certificate indicates any abnormal mental or physical condition or defect, the adoptive parent(s) must sign an affidavit stating that the parent(s) has/have full and complete knowledge of the condition or defect and having that knowledge continue to desire to adopt the child.

A sworn statement outlining the all of the property owned by the child, if any, must also accompany the petition.

The petitioner(s) shall file an affidavit along with the petition which outlines the amount of the service fees charged by any adoption agency or adoption facilitator used by the petitioner(s) and any other expenses paid by the petitioner(s) in the adoption process as of the time of the filing of the petition.

A child over the age of fourteen (14) must consent to the adoption.

Where must the petition for adoption be filed?

A sworn petition must be filed in the chancery court of the county where either (1) the  county in which the adopting parent(s) resides, (2) the county in which the adoptive child resides, (3) the county in which the adoptive child was born, (4) the county in which the adoptive child was found abandoned or deserted, or (5) the county in which the home that the child has been surrendered to is located.

Is the consent of the biological parents necessary for an adoption?

While the consent of the biological parents is not necessary for an adoption, an adoption in which the biological parent or parents is much more difficult.  If the biological parent does not consent, the adoptive parents must prove one of the grounds to terminate the biological parent’s parental rights before the adoption can be granted.

If the biological parents consent to the adoption, they sign a consent form under oath and the consent is filed with the court.

What is the waiting period required by Mississippi for biological parents to sign a consent for adoption?

The biological parents must wait at least seventy-two (72) hours following the birth of the child to sign their consent for adoption.

Is a home study required?

Yes, in any adoption, other than a relative or step-parent adoption, a home study of the prospective adoptive parents’ home must be performed by a licensed adoption agency or by the Department of Human Services.  The prospective adoptive parents must pay for the home study.

Is further investigation, other than a home study, required?

Yes, the court will typically appoint a guardian ad litem in an adoption proceeding.  The guardian ad litem will investigate and report back to the court as to whether the child is a proper

subject for adoption, whether the petitioner or petitioners are suitable parents for the child, whether the adoption is to its best interest, and any other facts or circumstances that may be material to the proposed adoption.

Are adoptions sealed cases?

All adoption proceedings are confidential. Adoption hearings are held in closed court without anyone other than the interested parties allowed in the courtroom, except upon order of the court. All records pertaining to adopting proceedings are confidential and are not open to the public, except upon order of the court and only for good cause shown.

Can the child’s birth certificate be revised following an adoption?

Yes, upon the completion of the adoption, a copy of the adoption decree is submitted to the Bureau of Vital Statics which prepares a revised birth certificate.  The revised birth certificate will list the new name of the child and the name of the adoptive parents as the child’s mother and/or father.