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Child Adoption Laws in the United States


Adopting a child in the United States involves a lengthy and drawn out process that involves multiple parties and lots of procedures. Couples or individuals thinking about adopting a child should familiarize themselves with the laws that govern this process. A thorough understanding of the requirements of the adoption process will make it easier for couples or individuals interested in adopting to actually do so.

Where You Are Matters

Each state has different laws governing adoption inside their territories. This can make it harder for people looking to adopt outside of the state that they reside in since they will have to deal with meeting the requirements of both states. There are also different regulations that apply to individuals that are adoption children that are not from this country. There are some things that are standard throughout the country and are required no matter what state or territory the adopted child is coming from.

Home Studies Each state requires that the parents that are planning on adopting a child must participate in a home study. A lot of prospective parents get nervous when they realize that they have to go through this kind of examination but they should really not stress about it too much. It can be comforting to know that every family that wants to adopt a child has to go through the same regulated process.

Home studies serve the purpose of introducing the family with the social worker that will be assigned to their case; this is a person that they will be dealing with a lot throughout the adoption process so getting familiar with them is important. Home studies are also meant for the social worker to evaluate the fitness of the home that they will be placing a child into. Social workers will also want to get an idea of who the family is and what kind of child would fit best in that home.

Background Checks

It is incredibly important that parents that are looking to adopt a child be free of anything on their personal or criminal record that could potentially point to a dangerous home environment for the child. For this reason, background checks are mandatory for parents that are thinking about adoption. Each state has different regulations that govern how thorough the checks are but all of them are required to examine the criminal history of the individuals that are trying to become the legal guardians of adopted children.

Finalizing the Adoption

All adoptions have to be finalized by a United States judge. The judge will require several important pieces of information before he or she can render their final decision. First the biological parents of the child must give up their parental rights; most children that are up for adoption do not have biological parents that keep their rights, this is more for parents adopting newborn children. Also, the child will need to be placed in the new home and have lived there for 6 months before the social worker does a final examination of the home situation. The judge will take the social worker's recommendation into consideration when they decide whether or not to finally approve the adoption.