What does Finalization Hearing mean?
Adoption is not final until the family appears before a juvenile court judge for their finalization hearing. The finalization hearing is the last step in the adoption process. It may occur in the judge's chambers or in a court room. The finalization hearing is considered a celebration for the family, and courts generally allow extended family members and friends to share this event with the adoptive family. It is also common for judges to allow video and cameras during this momentous event.
Prior to the finalization hearing, however, it is important that certain actions be completed. For instance, a pre-placement home study should previously have been completed by a licensed social worker, legal forms must be correctly completed and a preliminary hearing should have been held with the judge prior to the finalization hearing. At the finalization hearing the judge will review all relevant documents and comments from the social worker appointed to a particular case. Assuming everything is in order, an adoption certificate will be issued. It is unlikely that an adoption will be challenged at this point, but it does happen.