By: Janette Jordan
Congratulations, you have your final adoption hearing scheduled. To get to this point, you have had to comply with the Colorado Revised Statute 19-5-202 and 203. These statutes provide the basis for who can adopt and who can be adopted. In addition to the Adoption paperwork, proposed orders, and filings, you will have completed your home study, submitted your Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) background checks, and completed your Department of Human Services TRIALS background check.
You may be nervous about what to expect at the final adoption hearing. Presuming that your case is uncontested, meaning no one is challenging your adoption of the minor child, the process is relatively smooth and often cause for celebration. The courts look forward to a non-contested adoption because it is a rare opportunity for them to be a part of solidifying a family unit. Remember, they are faced with nasty divorces, parenting time disputes, and allegations of abuse and misconduct day in and day out. Your case is what they are looking forward to on their docket that day in terms of something positive and good to focus on.
Where to wait for your case to be called, how formal the proceedings will be and the layout of the courtroom depends on what county your case is filed in and which of the judges you are in front of. It also depends on the age of the minor child. Typically, the courtroom will be closed to anyone except family and those specific people you have invited in support of your adoption. Make sure to be on time and stay close to your courtroom so the division clerk can easily find you and call you in. Try to save the really large group of extended family and friends for the after-party, because there will be one. For the hearing, you also will need to bring the child who is to be adopted. The child may seem nervous or scared, but the judicial officer will usually take off their robe, come down and speak with the family, maybe give them a stuffed animal or certificate, and afterwards even take pictures.
The court must go through the Colorado legal requirements of adoption on the record, which means the case is officially being called and being recorded. The judicial officer will ask you (in some variation) the following questions:
- Please state your full name and spell your last name
- What is your current address?
- What is the name of the child that you wish to formally adopt today?
- What is child’s date of birth?
- What is the child’s current address and how long has he or she resided there?
- What is your relationship to the child? (step-parent, grandparent, etc.)
- How long has the child been in your care?
- Do you understand that an adoption is a permanent lifelong commitment?
- Do you understand that both you and your spouse would be equally responsible for the child in the event of a dissolution of marriage proceeding, including but not limited to child support? (in cases of step-parent or co-petitioner adoption)
- Do you believe this adoption to be in the best interests of the child?
- Are you prepared to care for and provide a loving home for the child?
- Can you please briefly state to the court your reasons for adopting the child?
Don’t forget to bring your tissues. Once the judicial officer has granted the order, the Adoption is now finalized. However, you’re not done yet. You still have to have the Report of Adoption, certified by the Court at the hearing, that you must send in to the Vital Records Division of the Office of the State Registrar to report the adoption and obtain a new birth certificate. One report of adoption is required per child.
By the time you’ve gotten to your hearing you have already traveled the proverbial adoption road and are now ready to embark on the journey of becoming the legal parent to the child. Whether on your own, or with the assistance of an Colorado adoption attorney, congratulations are truly in order.