Adoption in New York State is overseen by the Family Court or the Surrogate's Court depending on what County the adoption is in. The adoption is normally filed in the County where the adoptive parents reside. The adoption has to be approved by either the Family Court or Surrogate's Court Judge, the approval is given by an Order of Adoption signed by the Judge. Adoptions in Cayuga County are filed in the Surrogate's Court.
There are two types of Adoptions in New York State. Agency Adoptions and Private Placement Adoptions. Adoption records are sealed in New York State.
With an agency adoption the child is in the care of the state through a foster care agency or through a private adoption agency.
If the adoption is through a foster care agency, the agency will file to terminate the parental rights of the biological parents so the child can be adopted. If the adoption is through a private adoption agency then the biological parents have voluntarily given up their parental rights and placed the child with an agency.
Private Placement Adoption
Any adoption that is not an agency adoption is a private placement adoption. The people who want to adopt may be a step-parent or other family member.
International adoptions, where a New York State resident adopts a child who was born and living in a different country, are also private placement adoptions.
Before the child is placed in the home, the court must pre-certify that the prospective adoptive parents are approved to take temporary custody of the child. The court will have a licensed social worker do a home-study and investigate the adoptive parents' home and background to make sure that it is appropriate for a child.
If the court finds that the prospective adoptive parents are able to care and support the child, the court will certify them as qualified adoptive parents for up to 18 months.
Pre-certification is not required in step-parent adoptions or in international adoptions where the child is already living with the adoptive parents.