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Child Adoption Laws in The U.S. – What You Need to Know

— June 24, 2022

Although all adoptions are unique, each one has to follow special laws.

There are a lot of children in foster care in the U.S. In Nevada, 89% of them end up in foster care as a result of neglect. Back in 2019, as many as 4,541 children were in foster care in Nevada, while 1,667 were waiting for adoption. Therefore, many people hired a Las Vegas adoption attorney or an attorney from their specific area to make sure the adoption process is a smooth and successful one. 

If you’re planning to adopt a child too, then you must know what the law says. Adoption is a very big decision, and it takes time to get everything ready. In this post, we will tell you some important things regarding adoption laws so you can legally and safely adopt a child. 

Who Can Adopt a Child in the U.S.?

In order to be eligible to adopt a child in the United States, one must meet certain requirements. 

For instance, the people intending to adopt must be of legal age – therefore, only individuals who are 21 or older can adopt a child. When it comes to independent and private adoptions, though, the Birth Parents will choose the Adoptive Family, and in some cases, they will prefer people of a specific age to adopt their child. 

Also, if you want to make an international adoption, you should know that some countries could have age cutoffs.

One must have stable health if they want to adopt children. They must get a letter from their primary physician saying they are physically stable to take care of the child if they have a chronic illness history. They also need a statement from a doctor indicating stable emotional health if they have a psychiatric illness or a history of this type of disorder. 

In every U.S. state, members over the age of 18 in a household will have to go through a child abuse clearance process. They will not be allowed to adopt a child if anything is discovered. 

One’s criminal history will also be evaluated. You will have to offer personal statements and depositions of the incident if you have an arrest history. 

Some adoption professionals in the U.S. may require marriage for private newborn adoptions. But there are no marriage requirements for foster care adoption in the U.S. As for international adoptions, each country will have its own requirements regarding marriage.

Why Are Adoption Laws Necessary?

Although the laws surrounding adoption in the U.S. can confuse a lot of people and make the adoption process more complex, they exist for the safety of the children.

We need adoption laws because:

  • They make sure prospective birth parents can get financial support and assistance during the adoption
  • They ensure prospective birth parents can get adoption information that is objective without being pressured or obligated to place the child
  • They make sure that children who are up for adoption end up in safe households
  • They make sure that prospective birth parents have the right to change their minds and then use legal representation to give their consent for adoption
  • In some states, they enforce open adoption contract agreements
  • They protect the rights of the adoptees to medical and personal adoption history
  • They make sure that adoptive parents are protected from birth parents taking their children back years after the adoption took place

The Legal Adoption Process

Woman and child touching faces, image by Bruno Nascimento, via
Woman and child touching faces, image by Bruno Nascimento, via

Although all adoptions are unique, each one has to follow special laws. Here are some things that will happen during the adoption process:

  1. Adoption Requirements 

Adopting infants is not something that everyone can do. One must first be found eligible for this. Before placement, adoptive parents have to complete a home study with licensed professionals. 

  1. Receiving Financial Assistance

Prospective financial assistance may be given to prospective birth parents in order to lighten the pregnancy-related financial burden. State adoption laws will determine the exact assistance amount. 

  1. Consent from Prospective Birth Parent

The prospective birth parents will have to consent to their child being placed for adoption. Every prospective birth parent must receive legal consent to understand what all of this means. The mother can wait for a while before deciding to sign a consent so she can think about the decision.

  1. Post-Placement Visits and Finalization

All adoptive parents have to go through post-placement visits when adopting an infant. This is in order to make sure everyone adjusts to the placement. Then, at the courthouse, the adoption finalization will take place. A judge will look over the paperwork for the adoption and give the adoptive parents a decree of adoption.

Final Thoughts

There are many child adoption laws in the U.S., and it’s important to understand them and their purpose. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of them now and can smoothly go through the adoption process.

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