Here are some basic requirements to consider when pursuing adoption:
You do not have to be rich to adopt. This is a commonly held myth. While being financially fortunate would definitely help the process, it is possible to adopt with a more meager income. There are grants and low-interest loans that can make adoption very possible and budget friendly. However, in order to adopt, you will need to be financially stable. This doesn’t mean you can’t have any debt or that you need to have an exorbitant amount in savings. You do, however, need to be able to pay the bills you do have with enough money left each week to provide for the needs of a child. If you are not there yet, look at ways to balance your budget, and explore other articles on this site about finances and adoption.
Adoption agencies and judges need to know you will provide a home that is safe, sound, and secure. Many agencies will provide you a checklist that details what needs to be provided for a child and what hazards to address. For example, the child will need his or her own bed; guns and ammo will need to be safely stored, if applicable; and other childproofing steps will need to take place.
The age requirement for adoption can vary from state to state, agency to agency. In most states, you will need to be at least 18 years of age to adopt. Many agencies require that you be 21 years of age to begin the process. There may also be agency age limits that can range anywhere from 45 to 60 years of age. Many times the age cutoff will have more to do with the health of the person wanting to adopt and the quality of life they can provide the child, given the child’s age.
On that note, the health of everyone in the household will matter when it comes to adoption. It is almost always required that every member of the household have a current physical from their doctor. This is to make sure there are no major health concerns that would impair your ability to care for another child. This can also include health issues of a child already in your household. Please take note that many illnesses do not automatically disqualify a person from adoption but are simply considered in the decision. A history of illness may also be considered, along with documentation, to make sure the issue is not likely to reoccur.
Criminal Record Check
Anyone in your household over the age of 18 will need to be fingerprinted and have a federal and state background check completed for you to be eligible to adopt. A criminal record does not generally disqualify you from adoption, depending on the nature of the charges. Each charge will require explanation and possibly additional inquiry from the agency. Violent or sexual felony charges, domestic violence misdemeanor, child endangerment or neglect, or sexually based offenses will usually result in immediate disqualification. It is best to contact your agency and be upfront about your charges or the charges of someone in your household. The agency will usually be able to disclose if the charge will be an issue.
While there are many other requirements to adopt, these are some of the biggest hurdles one might face in the process. It is always best to contact your adoption agency to find out their general requirements. You can also contact your local and state agencies to learn a particular state’s requirements for adoption. Utilizing websites such as Adoption.com and Adoption.org will also provide general state-to-state insight.