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Adoption-An Overview

You may be considering adoption for a number of reasons. Perhaps you married someone with children from a prior relationship and you want them to have all the benefits that come with being legally designated as your child. Maybe you want to start a family, but are unable to have children biologically. Or you might just want to give a child a good home.

The stepparent adoption process is pretty straightforward, with the most significant challenge involving the termination of the non-custodial parent’s parental rights. Often, this can be done voluntarily, provided the non-custodial parent still has visitation rights. However, if necessary, you can ask a court to
termination of parental rights, but the court will give priority to the best interests of the child when making that decision.

In other adoption proceedings, you have a lot of choices:

Domestic Adoption

Adoption is governed by state law, so that specific requirements will vary from state to state. If you choose to adopt a child from another state, the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children will apply, and you will probably have to obtain the approval of state agencies in both states before the adoption is final.

As a general rule, before you can adopt, a home study must be completed to show that you have the financial resources to care for a child, and that you have the requisite skills and character to raise a child. In most instances, you must submit to a background check, including a criminal records check, before an adoption will be approved.

The agency or court that is considering your adoption may take your age into consideration—in most states, you must be at least 21, and some states/agencies will not approve an adoption if they think you are too old. There are no legal restrictions against adopting as a single parent, and same-sex couples can adopt in all but four states.

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