Adoption eligibility is a topic that most adoptive families have questions about. “Are we eligible to adopt?” is often the first question asked of our adoption coordinators.
According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, the official answer to this question is “Determining eligibility to adopt is based on a process of mutual assessment and preparation by the prospective adoptive parents and social worker or agency, called a home study. Most people are eligible to adopt, regardless of whether they are married or single, their age, income, or sexual orientation. Having a disability does not automatically disqualify a prospective adoptive parent. Some countries have specific requirements and restrictions for families who want to adopt from those countries. Faith-based agencies may also have specific requirements for families adopting through their agencies.”
This is a broad answer and you will find that there may be some additional restrictions depending on what agency you are working with, what state you live in, or if you are involved in an international adoption, what country you are working with.
Adoption agencies or attorneys may have their own special requirements that need to be met to be eligible to adopt through them. An agency or attorney may base eligibility on their belief systems or other standards. Some common requirements are that the adoptive parent or parents be at least 21 years of age and have a stable lifestyle. While this is a common requirement, it is not actually a law. Each state has its own legal requirements.
For example, in California, you only need to be an adult and be ten years older than the child you are adopting, and there can be an exception to this if you are a relative. In Colorado, you must be 21 years of age to adopt. This can seem a bit confusing and is why it is important to work with an adoption professional. You can search for the requirements of your state at the Child Welfare Information Gateway.
Adoptive parents must also pass a background check and must not have any felony conviction for child abuse or neglect or convictions for spousal abuse or crimes against a child. This includes child pornography or for a crime involving violence such as sexual assault, rape, or homicide but not including other physical assault and battery. Any of these convictions will disqualify you from adopting or fostering children.
International adoption eligibility is a bit more complicated because every country has its own requirements, as does the US state you live in. For instance, China requires the adoptive parents to be at least 30 years old, while in Brazil, the age is 18. The US Department of State has extensive information on international adoption. It is recommended, however, that you work with an agency or attorney who specializes in international adoption and more specifically, one that has a record of successful adoption in the country you are hoping to adopt from.
Whether you are adopting domestically or internationally, you will need to complete a home study. The purpose of the home study is to ensure that a child is being placed is a safe, secure, loving home.
What can you expect during your home study? You will be required to get a background check, provide financial and employment verification, a visit to the home from a social worker, and a medical report from your doctor. The social worker will also ask about your marital and family relationships, why you want to adopt, what your parenting style is, what your educational background is, and more.
You will also be asked to provide references from friends and family to verify your suitability to parents. This feels like you are providing a lot of information but remember, home study social workers take their jobs very seriously as they should. They need to be sure that any child placed in your care will be safe and loved.
Lifetime Adoption Agency has fewer restrictions than many adoption agencies, allowing families more choice and more control in their adoption. At Lifetime, we will review your application as a whole. We limit the number of families we work with each month, allowing each family personal attention as we work with them toward a successful adoption.
Potential Lifetime adoptive families must be at least 21 years of age and show that they can provide a child with healthy, stable family life. Once you complete the free online application, we will review your application to adopt, and if we have any questions, we will call you to discuss your needs and be sure we can help you. You will be asked many questions on the application as to your adoption preferences. Be honest with your answers but remember that the more open you are, the more opportunities will come your way.
We have had a high success rate at Lifetime Adoption because of this adoption eligibility screening process. We work hard to have a wide variety of adoptive families for birth mothers to choose from. A birth mother may want adoptive parents that live in a certain state or are of a particular race or religion. Some birth mothers want their child to be the only child, and some would like their child adopted into a family where they will have siblings. After adoption contact is also a factor in making a great match. There are different levels of openness in an open adoption and having similar expectations is important.
At Lifetime we work hard to make healthy, happy matches between our birth parents and our adoptive parents. This is why our application has questions that also go beyond eligibility screening. We want to get to know you and make sure that we are the right agency for you to work with to make your adoption dreams come true.
If you have any questions, please give us a call today at 1.727.493.0933. Our experienced adoption coordinators are available to answer all your questions and provide the information you need to move forward on your adoption journey.
Lifetime Adoption, Inc. is a Licensed Florida Child Placing Agency. (License #100084254)
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