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Who Can Adopt a Child?

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In the quest to understand the intricacies of adoption, many individuals ponder, “Who Can Adopt a Child?” This article delves into the eligibility criteria and legal aspects surrounding child adoption, providing insights for those navigating this important decision.

Guidance for single individuals, married people, domestic partners, and gay men and women.

Generally, any deemed “fit parent” can adopt, but states may impose special conditions. Some states require an age difference between adoptive parents and the child. Residency requirements exist in certain states. Agencies may have stricter requirements than state laws. Challenges in adoption may vary; for instance, a lesbian couple or single man might face difficulties compared to a married heterosexual couple. This is often due to biases about the “child’s best interests,” influencing placement decisions. Biases within state courts or agencies, as well as from birth parents, can impact the perception of an ideal or fit parent. Here are potential issues and roadblocks individuals may encounter.

Different Race or Ethnic Background

You are not required to be the identical race as the child you wish to adopt, but other states do give a penchant to potential adoptive parents of the same ethnic background or race of the child. Adoptions for Native American children are regulated by a federal law — the Indian Child Welfare Act — that lays out particular rules and guidelines that are required to be adhered to when adopting a Native American child.

Lesbians and Gay Men

Florida and Utah specifically restrict gay men and lesbians from adopting, but challenges exist in other states. Even if state regulations don’t mention sexual orientation, it can become a court issue, affecting a prospective adoptive parent’s suitability. Finding agencies willing to work with LGBTQ individuals or couples can be difficult in some states. However, across the country, many gay men and lesbians successfully adopt children. Increasingly, more states allow joint adoption for same-sex couples. It’s advisable for LGBTQ individuals to seek a knowledgeable attorney for the adoption process. The National Center for Lesbian Rights at www.nclrights.org provides valuable information for those wishing to adopt.

Single People

As a single individual seeking adoption, expect potential challenges. Agencies often prioritize two-parent families for healthy babies, placing singles lower on waiting lists. Birth parents may prefer two-parent homes. Be prepared to justify your suitability as a single parent, addressing inquiries about marriage, support, and future plans. Although this screening may seem stringent, it is standard. Consider agencies focusing on special needs adoption, as they often conduct a broader search. Flexibility in your preferences can help navigate obstacles in single-parent adoptions.

Domestic Partners

There is no particular restriction against un-married couples’ adopting children (often referred to as a two-parent adoption). Like singles, nevertheless, you might discover that agencies are prejudiced towards married couples. You may experience an extended waiting period for a child, or you might need to expand your criteria regarding the type of child you are open to adopting.

Source:

  1. Nolo. (2011, October 10). Who can adopt a child? www.nolo.com. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/who-can-adopt-child-30291.html

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