Any adult who can be a “fit parent” can adopt a child, although the details for adoption may differ from state to state. Generally, a prospective adoptive parent should be at least 21 years old, but minors may be allowed to adopt under specific circumstances.
Some states may also require that the parent have been a resident of the state for a certain period of time before adopting. Most people are eligible to adopt children regardless of their marital status, age, income, and sexual orientation. Disability does not automatically disqualify a person from adopting a child.
Eligibility for adoption is determined in part by a home study, which requires the prospective parent and social worker or adoption agency to undergo an assessment and preparation process. The purpose of the home study is to make sure that the child is placed in a safe and suitable home that complies with state and local adoption laws.
During the home study, the social worker ensures that the child is well-matched with the family. Parents and families receive education about adoption in order to make sure they have the information necessary to make the best, most informed decision about adoption.
While parents do not have to be the same race or ethnic background of the child, there may be additional requirements in such instances. The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 prohibits adoption agencies from refusing or denying placement or adoption based on a child’s or parent’s race or ethnic identity.
However, the Indian Child Welfare Act outlines specific rules and procedures (including the involvement of tribal governments) that must be followed in cases involving the placement and adoption of Native American children.
What if There is a Conflict Over Adoption of the Child or Children?
When it comes to adoption, things have the potential to get complicated quickly. Many parties may be involved in the process and claim rights in the adoption of the child. For example, if both birth parents are suddenly unable to care for the child, other family members or even friends may be involved, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and perhaps godparents.
In these types of cases, the court will always put the best interests of the child first, and give custody of the child to the people who are best able to provide for the child’s best interests.
If We Adopted Children Together, Will Our Status as Adoptive Parents Affect the Outcome of Our Divorce?
The answer to this question depends largely on the circumstances of the individual case and what is in the best interests of the child. If the adoption was a stepparent adoption, the court is more likely to grant custody to the birth parent of the child. If only one of the partners is registered as the child’s parent (or only one of the partners is listed on the child’s birth certificate), the child’s registered parent will retain custody of the child.
However, if both parents are adoptive parents, the case and questions of child custody will proceed as a normal divorce proceeding. As in all child custody matters, the court will make its determinations based on what is in the best interests of the child.
What Fees are Associated With Adoption?
All told, adoption can be an expensive process. While each state has its own rules about how adoptions are handled, all states have regulations on the fees adopting parents are required to pay when adopting a child.
Fees involved in adoption cases may include agency fees, legal and attorney fees, and (in some cases) payments to the birth parents. In general, the law allows fees that are reasonable and comply with customary practice (such as standard rates for adoption counselors).
Can an Adoption be Revoked?
Generally, no–but it depends on the circumstances. Some states may allow for a birth parent to revoke their consent to an adoption within certain guidelines (such as within 30 days of the child’s birth). However, once a court declares that an adoption is final, the consent of the birth parents or guardians cannot be revoked unless their consent was obtained fraudulently or under duress.
Some states do have a revocation period–a window of time for birth parents to revoke their consent to the adoption–ranging from 48 hours to 21 days after the child is given to the adoptive parents. However, it is important to note that adoption is not intended to be reversible, and the process to reverse an adoption can be complicated.
If you are considering adopting a child, it is important to know whether your state allows for a revocation period. Check your local laws or consult with an experienced attorney before adopting a child to make sure you are aware of any possible revocation issues that may occur.
Can an Adoption be Terminated?
Generally speaking, once an adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents are the legal parents of the child. The adoption cannot be terminated. However, if two people adopt a child together, one of the parents can transfer full parental rights to the other parent.
This means that the parent transferring away their parental rights will no longer have any right to parent the child. This works much like the way the birth parents terminated their parental rights in order to give the child up for adoption. Details on how this procedure works in your state can be obtained by consulting an experienced adoption lawyer.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Parental Rights?
If you are considering adopting a child, or are dealing with other family issues related to adoption, it is in your best interests to consult with a qualified adoption lawyer. Your lawyer can provide clear advice about the situation at hand, talk you through the legal procedures, and file the necessary paperwork with the court. When the time comes, your lawyer can also represent you in court to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.