How To Adopt A Child
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Child Adoption Law: How To Adopt A Child?

| February 8, 2021 | Last Updated on: December 30, 2023

How to adopt a child? This is one of those questions that go unanswered online. You will find several articles telling you about the steps on how to adopt a child. However, only a few people will talk about the laws related to Child Adoption and adoption certificate.

The adoption process becomes even more complex when the whole process involves single-parent adoption. With only single parents taking care of the adopted children, there are other variables to take into consideration.

Laws On How To Adopt A Child?

Laws On How To Adopt A Child?

When it comes down to child adoption, the government has to look into the adoptive parents. In addition to that, there are several other requirements for adopting a child that needs to be taken care of.

Federal legislation set the frame on how to adopt a child. The states pass laws to comply with the adoption requirements and become eligible for federation funding. Thus, you can say the states regulate the Child adoption laws, and these laws keep on changing depending on the states.

Federal Law On How To Adopt A Child

Federal laws provide the basic framework on which the child adoption law needs to be structured. The federal legislation asks the state laws to enact the adoption law in these frameworks. There have been cases where the adoptive parent looks for cross-border child adoption.

State Law On How To Adopt A Child

Child adoption is a legal process everywhere. This process helps families that lack offspring. States hold the most power when it comes down to child adoption. However, the state child adoption law keeps on changing within every state.

Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is a legal agreement among all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The purpose of the ICPC is to regulate the placement of children across state lines to ensure their safety and well-being when they are being moved for the purpose of adoption, foster care, or other types of placement.

Here are key aspects of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children:

1. Purpose:

The primary goal of the ICPC is to provide a legal framework for the protection and well-being of children who are being placed in another state. This includes placements for adoption, foster care, residential treatment, or any other out-of-home placement.

2. Applicability:

The ICPC applies to all placements of children for foster care or adoption when the child is being moved from one state to another. It covers both private and public agency placements.

The receiving state then assesses the proposed placement to ensure that it is in the best interests of the child.

4. Approval Process:

The ICPC process involves obtaining approval from both the sending and receiving states. The receiving state’s child welfare authorities review the proposed placement to ensure that it complies with their laws and regulations.

5. Home Study:

As part of the ICPC process, a home study is often required for the prospective adoptive or foster parents. This study assesses their suitability to care for the child.

6. Timing:

It is essential to allow sufficient time for the approval process, and placements should not occur until both states have given their approval.

7. Ongoing Oversight:

Even after the initial placement, the ICPC provides a mechanism for ongoing oversight. The sending state retains jurisdiction over the child and continues to monitor the placement to ensure the child’s well-being.

8. Exceptions:

Certain emergency placements or placements with close relatives may be exempt from certain ICPC requirements, but these exceptions vary by state.

9. Enforcement:

Non-compliance may result in the return of the child to the sending state.

Who Can Adopt?

Who Can Adopt?

Child adoption is a legal process in America. To adopt a child from a different country, you need to be eligible first. There are certain conditions that you have to meet under US federal laws and state laws. 

Requirement Under US Federal Law

The federal association that determines an individual’s eligibility criteria to adopt is US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Without the USCIS permission, you won’t be able to bring your adopted child to America. Before you can do so, you need to prove to USCIS that you are capable enough to take care of the child.

You must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You need to be married and should jointly accept the adoption.
  • If you are unmarried, you at least need to be 25 years old.
  • You need to be financially secure to give the right living standard to your adopted child.

Requirement Under US State law

If you have qualified under the federal adoption law, you need to go through state adoption law. The state will see whether you qualify for the Child Welfare Information Gateway or not. Although every state has its requirements, complete the whole process before adopting a child.

Read Also: When Do I Need A Lawyer? An Easy To Follow Checklist

How To Adopt A Child?

Adopting a child can be a complex process; however, if you can approach the process with a step-by-step plan, the whole process will smoothen up a bit. We have broken the whole process into several processes for your down below. 

Step 1: Do Your Research

Do Your Research

It is important that you join groups and communities to get relevant information from other adoptive parents.

  • Whether you want to adopt a newborn baby or an older child?
  • Do you want to adopt domestically or internationally?
  • Are you willing to adopt a child from a different race?

Step 2: Decide Who You Want To Work With

Decide Who You Want To Work With

Before you go with how to adopt a child, it is important that you decide whom you want to work with. But the agencies and attorneys help the adoptive parent to fulfill the legal requirements. 

At the same time, attorneys and their clients place their advertisements. When it comes to international adoption, agencies handle all the paperwork and legal procedures.

Step 3: Select An Adoption Attorney

Select An Adoption Attorney

When you’re looking for attorneys, you need to find experienced attorneys who have handled hundreds of adoption cases. Whereas, while you are taking help from an agency, ensure that they have the store license.

Although adoption scammers are not the norm, it is always better to take precautions before making a deal with the birth mother. 

Step 4: Complete The Application

orientation sessions

When you contact a good agency, you get an invitation to attend one of their sponsored orientation sessions. You might find that there are other adoptive parents as well who are attending the session. The session is mostly about hoping the agency does well and helps the parents adopt the child legally.

The agency will review your application and decide whether to accept you as a client or not. Once the application is accepted, next comes Home Study or Family Assessment. This ensures that you are capable enough to take care of the child.

Step 5: Be Patient

adoption factors

Adopting a child is always followed by a long waiting period. There are several factors that determine the time period of the adoption. The following might be the key factors affecting the time period.

  • Parent’s age.
  • Family Structure.
  • State Legal Requirements.
  • International adoption procedure.

If you are looking for an internationally adopted child, then the adoption period can last up to two years. In domestic adoption, it all depends on the pregnancy phase of the birth mother.

Legal Procedure

After the child is placed with you, you need to complete all the legal procedures to ensure no further issues related to child adoption. Usually, the child lives with the adoptive parent for a period of six months before the finalization of the adoption process.

During this time, the agency provides all the supportive services to the birth mother and adoptive parents. However, with international adoption, the procedure will depend on what end of the visa the child has.

Prepare Your Home

Once it is confirmed that a baby or a toddler will join your family, the last thing remaining is to prepare your house to welcome the adopted child. You might as well prepare your home with different things.

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Lucia Patterson
Lucia Patterson

Lucia Patterson is the woman behind TheLegalGuides, a blog solely focused on legal guides, tips, and advice. Lucia is passionate about Legal and blog TheLegalGuides in her free time.


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