Legal Requirements For Child Adoption

The legal requirements for child adoption may vary significantly from one state to another, especially the state where the adoptive parents reside in. It is a common misconception that only married couples can adopt a child. In reality, even a single individual can do the same. However, in a few states, it is illegal for homosexuals (even if they are married and have domestic partners) to adopt children. Besides that, it is also a false assumption that only children can be adopted. In reality, adults who have special needs may also be adopted. The majority of states allow a licensed agency, legal guardians, and the biological parents to put the child for adoption.

The Age Factor

The legal requirements for child adoption especially in terms of age are usually different in different states. For example, in California, the age difference between the child that is being adopted and the person who is adopting the child must be at least ten years. But, there can be exceptions as well. In cases, where the court finds that the adoption is in the best interest of the child, this rule may be overlooked. Besides that, children over the age of twelve cannot be adopted without their own consent. In Oklahoma, the minimum age to be eligible to adopt a child is 21. However, this minimum age ceiling is only 18 in several other states, such as New Jersey, Washington, and Montana. In Idaho, the required minimum age of adoptive parent is 25; besides that, they must also be at least 15 years older than the child (it means a 25-year man cannot adopt a child above 10 years of age).

Interstate Compact On The Placement Of Children (ICPC)

The legal requirements for child adoption through ICPC have been designed in a way to protect the interest of the child who has to move to another state after adoption. It is the responsibility of the ICPC to make sure that the child gets a safe home and that the adoptive parents take good care of him/her. That is the reason a thorough home review is conducted by the ICPC before the child is finally adopted. The home review includes a detailed report regarding the safety aspects of the home, Interviews with the family members of the adopting parent, and a thorough background check on the adopting parent. Once an adoption request is made, the ICPC must conduct this home review within two months.

Residential Status

The legal requirements for child adoption in terms of residential status of the parties involved also vary from one state to another. There are 17 states (including South Carolina and Indiana) as well as areas like the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico that allow adoption to only those people who are residents of these places. However, Indiana and South Carolina allow non-residents to adopt children with special needs. States like Mississippi, Rhode Island, New Mexico, and Illinois allow even non-residents to adopt all types of children, but they must follow the procedure with the help of a licensed adoption agency.

Overall, the legal requirements for child adoption have been designed in a way to make sure the adoptive parents are in good financial and psychological state to provide the child a proper living environment in a stable home.