I am the grandmother of two beautiful children, ages 13 and 4. The children were removed from their mother and placed in my temporary care in 2009. In 2010, the mother petitioned to get the kids back, however, because she had not stopped using drugs, I petitioned for legal custody. I was awarded full and permanent custody on April 15, 2011. The mother does not have any visitation allowed or any child support that she pays, either voluntarily or court ordered. She has made no attempt to see or speak to the children for more than 2 years. The 4 year old, who will be 5 on March 25th, does not even know who she is and already calls me mom. The 13 year old, who will be 14 on March 19th, made an attempt to contact the mother on Facebook and even posted an birhtday wish, however, has not received any response. As it stands right now, i have no idea where she lives. Their fathers are not now nor have they ever been a part of their lives. In the case of the 4 year old, we don't even know who he is. I live in Georgia and I would like to petition to adopt them. As a disabled veteran of the military, they would have rights to a free education and, God forbid, if I die, would get substantial military benefits that would pay out monthly through college. My monthly disability would also increase substantially. I am also a civil service employee and there is insurance money that I can leave them. It is to their benefit that I adopt them. My question is this: what is the difference between full and permanenet legal custody and an adoption? How hard would it be to do an adoption in this circumstance? Would I really need to get an attorney or can I just file the paperwork in Superior court myself? How long would it take to finalize the adoption?
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