Among the many forms adopters, birth mothers and agencies will need to fill out and process, no form is more important to finalizing an adoption than the one that terminates parental rights of an adoptee's biological parents.
Every state and the District of Columbia has its own form and process for carrying out the termination of parental rights. The termination is a court order that will require a hearing. Each state will have its own termination of parental rights form (TPR) as well. The TPR is a form that states the parents' rights are terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily severed, and is required for an adoption to be finalized.
The time it takes to process a termination of parental rights and finalize and adoption depends on how many adoptions take place in the state. An adoption can take as little as 5.5 months in Wyoming or as long as 26 months in South Dakota. However, about 40 percent of most finalization processes take between 6 to 11 months, according to data compiled in 2006 by the Administration for Children & Families. This process is lengthy but required for nearly all adoptions, with the exception of a child with deceased parents being cared for be a relative or guardian.
Each state has its own schedule of statutes that can be found in a comprehensive list compiled by the Child Welfare Information Gateway.