September 18, 2019

Introduction to Adoption

Adoption is the legal transfer of parental rights. Unlike guardianship, adoption is a permanent situation and is to be recognized in society.

Adoption creates a permanent living situation for many children who:

  • Are currently in foster care and will not be reunited with their birth parents;
  • Children born in the United States whose birth parents make adoption plans for them;
  • Children from other countries who need families.
  • adoption

Who is eligible to adopt a child?

Generally, any single adult or a husband and wife may be eligible to adopt. In addition, a stepparent may be eligible to adopt the child of his or her spouse. In some States, those who are legally separated from a spouse may adopt singly.

Are gay and lesbian couples eligible to adopt?

While most states do not currently address adoption by GLBT individuals, there are a small number of states who do.

  • Currently, Florida and Mississippi prohibit adoption by homosexuals;
  • Couples who live together, but are not legally married cannot adopt in Utah;
  • In Connecticut, the sexual orientation of the prospective adoptive parent may be considered, but should not be held in a discriminatory manner.

Who is eligible to be adopted?

While all states, including the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico state that children are eligible for adoption, some states also allow adults to be eligible for adoption.

How will my family be assessed prior to the adoption?

When placing a child, there are many factors that social workers and agencies may consider. The list below details some of the skills and characteristics that are present in families who successfully adopt children:

  • Ability to maintain a safe home environment;
  • The adoptive parents exhibit a high level of emotional maturity;
  • There is stability in the adoptive parent’s personal relationships;
  • The adoptive parents are well-versed in stress management;
  • The adoptive parents display good parenting skills;
  • The adoptive parents are empathetic to the child’s needs;
  • The adoptive parents understand that they have the full rights and responsibilities to parent a child not born to them;
  • The adoptive parents demonstrate willingness to make a lifelong commitment.

Will the birth parents be involved in the adoption process?

Often, many parties are involved in adoption. Social workers, foster parents, the adoptive parents, the child and even the birth family will likely be considered during this process.

As it can be difficult and quite painful, birth parents are often provided with pre-placement counseling and planning services to assist them with the transition.

What is an open adoption?

Open adoption refers to an adoption wherein the child and adoptive parent(s) continue to have a relationship with the child’s birth family.

What is a closed adoption?

Closed adoption refers to an adoption wherein the child and adoptive parent(s) have no relationship with the child’s birth family. Note that in closed adoptions, some medical information regarding the birth parents may be provided.

What should I consider as a potential adoptive parent?

There are many factors to be considered before one decides to become an adoptive parent. All of the following should be considered by the adoptive family before entering into the process:

  • Do you posses the abilities and knowledge to parent the child?
  • Can you meet the child’s needs both financially and emotionally?
  • Can you meet any special medical needs the child might have?
  • Will this child fit well with your existing family?
  • Do you have a network of friends, family and professionals prepared to support you through this transition?
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