Requirements to Adopt a Child

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When you’ve made the decision to adopt a child, you’ve got another hard choice to make — which agency to go through for your adoption. Typically, you can adopt through a state agency, a private agency in the United States or one that adopts children internationally. All have different requirements that you must meet if you want to adopt.


State Variations

Requirements to adopt a child from a state agency vary according to the state. Typically, there is a minimum age restriction. For example, in Alabama, you can adopt if you are at least 19 years old. In Connecticut, you must be at least 21 years old. You must also generally pass a home inspection and background check and at least one parent must be an American citizen. Many state agencies require you to go through an education program, especially if you are adopting a special needs child.

Agency Variations

When it comes to private adoption agencies, you’ll also notice variation in requirements. For example, some will allow gay or lesbian couples to adopt, while others will not. Some agencies require couples to be married for a certain period of time, while others allow single people to adopt a child. You may also meet with maximum age limitations with some agencies.

Birth Parent Requirements

With certain adoption agencies, the birth mother has a say in who will adopt her child. She reviews the files of all of the parents looking to adopt and chooses the ones that she most wants to be her child’s parents. Her requirements may vary greatly. For example, one mother may want her child to be raised in a Christian home and not care much beyond that. Another may have a preference for parents who have a high level of education or a high income. You cannot control these preferences, so the best thing to do is be yourself and hope that she chooses you.

Financial Requirements

Adoption can be a costly process, with costs ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Though you can get a tax break for the money you spent when you file taxes, you must have the resources necessary to pay these costs up front or have the credit profile to be able to take out a loan.

When You Don’t Meet the Requirements

When you find out that you don’t meet the requirements of a particular agency, you may be extremely disappointed. All is not yet lost. Due to the wide range of requirements from different agencies, you should be able to find an agency that will accept you as an adoptive parent. You may have to sacrifice something, such as not being able to adopt an infant, but you will still be able to become a parent.

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