October 15, 2018

An Overview Of Federal And State Adoption Laws

There is nothing that is more dear to many married couples’ hearts than the desire to have a child. Unfortunately, in many cases this does not happen so they look into locating a child needing parents. After all, there are many neglected and abandoned children throughout the world and surely there must be one available. However, when consulting with someone, such as an attorney, they will find that there is more than one adoption law in place.

adoption laws

There is nothing in the United States Constitution that gives a person the right to adopt a child. This falls completely under state laws and the latter can vary from one jurisdiction to another. The basis for many of the state laws is the Uniform Adoption Act which was proposed in 1994 and is a comprehensive and uniform state code.

Congress has certain mandates regarding this procedure and states are given money to carry out their programs providing these mandates are followed. It would be impossible to cover all the Federal laws regarding this subject in a single paper, however, here is an example of a mandate that was passed in 1997 and signed by the President.

It is called the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, “to improve the safety of children, to promote adoption and other permanent homes for children who need them and to support families” and includes twenty-three sections. The main sections regarding this subject are

1. Assistant Subsidy to Children

2. Incentive Payments to States

3. Requires States to Document Attempts to Adopt

4. Expands Health Care for Adopted Children with Special Needs

5. Funding for Technical Assistance to Promote Adopting

6. Geographic Barriers7. Standby Guardianship When Parent is Ill

8. Termination of Parental Rights

9. Permanency Hearings

10. Efforts to Preserve and Reunify Families

11. Check Prospective Adoptive Parents for Criminal Background

12. Notice of Court Reviews

Further information regarding Federal laws and adoptions is available on the Internet. However, again, it is indicated that the Federal mandates only apply if the states accept Federal money to implement them.

State laws vary according to their laws. Open and closed proceedings are recognized in some states, while others will only allow one or the other. The open proceeding allows the birth mother to choose who the adoptive parents will be and even keep in contact after the birth. In the closed proceedings, the birth mother relinquishes all rights and the state conducts the selection process.

Prospective adoptive parents have a choice of going to a state agency or seeking an independent adoption. In the latter case, it is the responsibility of the natural parent or parent to find suitable adoptive parents, usually through a lawyer or representative. Unfortunately, there have been a number of fraud cases so people adopting a child in this manner need to take every precaution.

Adoption Law by various states include such things as disqualifying unmarried or single individuals, those suffering from mental or physical disabilities, unstable employment, criminal record, gays or lesbians and others. There is also a thorough investigation of such things as religious background, finances, morality, and other personal conduct. Adopting a child is something that can take a number of months to complete.

Additional information at: http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/table_adoption

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