Information about Adoptions in Tennessee:
An adoption forever terminates the parental rights of the biological parent.
Adoptions, in contested cases, are a two step process. First, the parental rights of the parent must be terminated. A petition to terminate the parental rights may be filed in Juvenile Court or Circuit Court. Once the parental rights of the biological parent or parents have been terminated, a petition for adoption is filed. The process may be streamlined by filing one petition in Circuit Court, asking the court to terminate the parental rights of the biological parent and to grant the adoption. If you do not know the whereabouts of the biological parents whose rights you seek to terminate, then service is done by publication and the adoption proceeds. The grounds to terminate parental rights include abandonment, failure to support, severe child abuse, and others.
All children over the age of 14 who are being adopted must have a guardian ad litem (an attorney) appointed by the judge. The guardian will meet with the child to make sure the adoption is in the best interests of the child. Every child who is over the age of 14 must consent to the adoption.