There are several paths to successfully adopting a child in Colorado. You may wish to adopt a niece or nephew, a stepchild, or even a child you have cared for a long time. Colorado has multiple types of Adoptions- Kinship, Stepparent, Custodial, Second Parent, and Adult Adoption. The process varies for each type.
In most cases, we start with background checks before filing any paperwork with the Court. In Colorado, we obtain three background checks for most adoptions – TRAILS for dependency and neglect matters, Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The law does not prohibit a person from adopting due to any criminal offense. However, some criminal offenses may limit your ability to adapt, depending on when the offense occurred and the seriousness of the offense.
The Court may also request a home study of your home depending on the type of adoption you are requesting- this typically occurs in Custodial Adoptions or Kinship Adoptions. To avoid completing a home study, you must request permission and provide good cause.
Once you have completed the paperwork for the adoption and the termination of parental rights, you can file it with the Court. Then, the paperwork is served to the biological parent or parents to notify them of the proceedings. Service can be tricky depending on your particular circumstances. You may not even know where a biological parent is located to hand them the paperwork. In such an event, service may even need to occur through publication-- meaning you place an ad in a newspaper in the county where your matter is located or where the person you are trying to find was last known to be located.
Your matter will be scheduled for a hearing once the paperwork is served. If the biological parents of the child agree or consent to the adoption, the hearing can be relatively straightforward. However, if the biological parents do not consent, you will need to seek to terminate their legal rights and responsibilities. One of the grounds for doing so is by proving that they have abandoned the child for one year preceding the filing of your paperwork or they have failed without cause to support their child for one year preceding the filing of your paperwork. If successful in the termination of the parent-child legal relationship between the biological parent or parents, then the child is available for adoption. Once the child is available for adoption, however, you still must prove to the Court that it is in the best interest of the child to allow you to adopt them.
If you successfully adopt a child, the Court then submits the Report of Adoption to Vital Records to obtain a new birth certificate for the minor child, reflecting that you are now the child’s parent. You also have the option to change the child’s name if you want, and the new birth certificate would include the child’s new legal name.