People in Tennessee who wish to adopt a child must go before a court to legally acquire parental rights to the child. Prospective parents might work with an adoption agency or independently arrange for an adoption. Similar to custody determinations in divorce cases, courts apply the best interests of the child standard when reviewing adoption petitions.

A formal petition to the court initiates the scheduling of an adoption hearing. This petition, at a minimum, must include vital details such as the names, ages, and residence of the adoptive parents. The relationship of the adoptive parents to the child must be described along with the reasons that make the adoption beneficial to the child. The petition will present information intended to show that the people are an appropriate choice to fill the role of parents.

The adoptive parents and the biological parents, if available, need to attend the hearing. If an adoption agency is involved, a representative from the agency will be present. The child might appear as well if old enough. Older children often receive representation from a neutral third party chosen by the court. If the judge deems the adoption acceptable, the court will issue an order that makes the adoption official. International adoptions typically require court hearings in both countries.

When people want to adopt a child, legal advice could enable them to understand the steps necessary to achieve the goal. An attorney could inform them about the parental rights and obligations that adopting a child entails. To potentially avoid delays or rejection, an attorney could strive to prepare the court filings thoroughly.