Adoption is complex and time-consuming. There are so many questions and scenarios about adoption. It is better in the long run for you to ask these questions now:
- What are the laws about adopting an adult and why consider it?
- What are the steps to adopting an adult? And;
- How do you know you are ready to adopt?
Can I Legally Adopt an Adult?
In 29 states, including Maryland, it is legal to adopt an adult. An adult adoption takes place only when consent is needed from the adult and the adoptive parent.
Adult adoption is different from guardianship. The purpose of legal guardianship is to keep the adult safe and healthy when they cannot provide for themselves. Guardians make legal, financial, and health decisions for the person.
There are different reasons for adopting an adult:
- A former foster child who got close to the foster family wish.
- A step-child who is close with their step-parent.
- A way to create legal inheritance rights within a relationship.
Whatever the case, it is perfectly legal to adopt an adult as your child if you both want to.
International Adult Adoption
As you can imagine, it is far more complicated to adopt an adult internationally. On top of adoption laws, there are also immigration laws to worry about. And, will face tough immigration lawyers to make sure that you are not adopting someone for them to become a citizen.
To begin the process, you need to submit Form I-130.
Can a Birth Parent Revoke Adoption?
Unfortunately, yes, a birth parent can revoke the adoption. Before an adoption is final, a birth parent or adoption agency can dismiss consent.
However, with most agency adoptions, a child is already legally free for adoption before placement. Birth parents changing their minds does not happen often. Once finalized, the biological parents cannot legally act on anything regarding the child.
In private adoptions, birth parents can revoke their consent within 30 days of signing a consent form or filing an adoption petition (whichever is later). And, depending on the circumstances, both birth and adoptive parents might have appeal rights after a judge grants or denies a petition to adopt.
How Long Does the Adoption Process Take?
Adoption can take a long time. It all depends on how open-minded you are to the child you plan to adopt. If you only want a healthy child, the wait can be between 2-7 years. Adopting a special needs child is processed faster, usually within a few months.
International adoptions usually take longer and involve more than one trip to the country of origin.
What are the steps to adoption?
The steps to adoption are pretty standard no matter where you go. There is a pre-adoption period and a post-adoption period.
The first step, complete a home study. Along with the home study, they will ask you to complete a questionnaire that describes what type of child you’re looking to adopt. After all of that, it is just a waiting game until they match you with a child.
After you have gotten your child, they will check in periodically to see if you and the child are doing well.
What is a Homestudy?
A home study is a series of meetings with a social worker. Here, you can learn more about adoption. Social workers get a better feel for you and the home environment. A home study is different for every agency, but most applicants will have to provide written information about themselves.
The home study includes at least one visit to your home by an agency worker. The length of a home study varies per agency. Families interested in children with special needs receive priority.
How Expensive is Adoption?
Costs of adopting a healthy infant of any race through a private agency or attorney in the United States range from several hundred dollars to $30,000 or more.
Adoptions that take place in a different country are costly, as well. Families pay between $10,000 and $20,000 in fees, which does not always include travel and living expenses while in the foreign country.
You may be eligible to get your adoption fees paid for by the government if you adopt a special needs child.
How Do I Know I’m Ready to Adopt?
People adopt for many personal reasons. If adoption is the right choice for you, then set aside the time and the money into adoption.
Adoption is one of the few choices that adults who want kids have. So, take the time to go through all of the other options to solidify adoption is the right choice.
If you are infertile or for whatever reason, you cannot have children, take your time in deciding to adopt. Give yourself however long you need. You deserve to be excited about a child, and they deserve someone who wants them.
As soon as you are excited by the idea of having a child despite biology, you are fully ready to adopt.
If you are considering adoption, know that you are doing a great thing. Remember to take your time during the process and enjoy it as much as possible.
Contact The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC adoption attorneys for a free initial consultation to get more in-depth information about adoption. And relax, everything will work out.