Welcome to the Centennial State.
Colorado calls out to children seeking forever families. This Colorado adoption guide is here to support both biological and adoptive parents and provide some answers. This comprehensive guide will also cover the basic ins and outs of adoption life in Colorado for all parties involved. For more detailed information, please check out the links provided at the end of the guide.
An unplanned pregnancy can lead to a cluster of emotions. Knowing which step to take next can be a battle within itself. Luckily, there are numerous support systems throughout Colorado to help expecting parents. Websites like Adoption.ORG and Adoption.com can provide countless resources and places to start the research when thinking about adoption and unplanned pregnancy.
- Make the adoption decision. Adoption is a great option but ultimately your decision. This article suggests some of the pros of choosing adoption. You can also consider making a list of pros and cons of your own. Being able to see all your options outside of your head will help you make an informed choice.
- Create an adoption plan. As expecting parents, you can choose an adoption professional to help you create a plan that will be in place throughout the adoption process. This can include a delivery plan, what attributes you’d like to see in the adoptive family, and which adoptive plan you’d like, open or closed. Your professional will help construct a plan fit for you.
- Choose an adoptive family. Your adoption professional will take the attributes you want in an adoptive family and be able to find profiles of families who are looking to adopt to match you with. Once you choose a family, you’ll be able to connect with them and create a bond. Being able to bond with an adoptive family can set a wonderful foundation for your child and family ties for years to come.
- Prepare for placement. Each state has its own set of requirements for placement. Please refer to The Laws and Qualifications section of this guide to find detailed information. This is where your delivery plan comes into play. Your plan will say who will be present for the birth, where you will be delivering, when the birth mother consents to placement, how the birth mother will get home, and any other important details. Your adoption professional will help make sure your plan is set long before you give birth.
- Adjusting to life after adoption. Not only is pregnancy an emotional roller coaster, but getting back into your life after placement is full of emotions. Fortunately, there are support systems to help you. Everything from individual consulting to connecting with our birth parents through social media will be opened to you. Placing your child into an adoptive family doesn’t have to be the end. In an open adoption, it can be the beginning for you as a birth mother and family. You will be able to transition into your new life and watch your child’s life flourish and grow.
Laws and Qualifications for Placement
Colorado became a state in 1876. Claiming its rightful spot in America meant setting laws in place that would protect all citizens for futures to come. Some of these laws are placement laws for birth parents and children with regard to adoption.
If you are seeking placement for your child, Colorado specifies you must obtain counseling first. This counseling can be from any county’s department of social services, or from a licensed child-placing agency. To continue placement, you must provide the names of both parents, if known, the child’s name, the ages of all parties involved, and the reason for choosing adoption. All information obtained will then be petitioned in the juvenile court.
- Placement Consent: Who needs to consent to an adoption placement? According to adoption in Colorado, consent must come for a county’s department of social services, a licensed child-placing agency, or an individual. The agency or person must file a petition that includes written and verified consent within the said petition. If the child being adopted is at least 12 years of age, he or she must undergo counseling and provide written consent to be adopted. Parental consent isn’t required when the parent’s rights have been terminated by a court of law or the parent has failed to support the child for one full year.
- Father’s Rights in Colorado Adoption: Every state has its own set of rights for birth fathers when it comes to adoption. In order for a father to claim parental rights in Colorado, the child’s birth must occur during the time of marriage, or within 300 days after the marriage has been terminated. Another scenario is if the father receives the child into his home and openly claims him or her as his natural child.
Laws & Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Colorado
Are you wanting to adopt? Do you live in Colorado and think it would be great to adopt a child who already lives here? What about if you don’t live in Colorado but love the Colorado spirit and connection? If you fall under any of these categories, congratulations. Now let’s see if you fall under Colorado’s qualifications for adopting a child.
Any person who is at least 21 years old may adopt a child in Colorado. A minor, if approved by the court, may also adopt. This can be common with older siblings who are 18 and already taking care of a younger sibling. A married couple jointly can adopt as well (you must petition with your spouse). If you are legally separated from a spouse, you are considered a single adoptee. A person desiring to adopt an adult as an heir can also be considered. After acknowledging where you fall on this list, you must also pass a background check, complete training, and receive a home study. Once these steps are accomplished, you can look into different adoption options.
Types of Adoption
In most states, Colorado included, there are three types of adoptions. Adoption from foster care, international adoption, and private domestic adoption. It is important to understand the differences between these types so you can pick what is right for your family.
Adoption from Foster Care
When most people think of foster care, people think of what is portrayed on some of those favorite tv shows or movies. Unfortunately, this shines a poor light on children in foster systems, as well as foster parents. Let’s clear up the stigma. The primary goal of foster care is to reunify children and youth with birth parents. This isn’t always a possibility. In May of 2020, Colorado Parent published an article stating, “More than 5,500 children around Colorado are currently in foster care.” This is much higher than the 411 reported from Colorado.gov back in 2019. Adults who are looking to adopt through the foster care system must first become foster parents. Foster parents must meet the basic qualifications required in Colorado (refer to the section titled “Laws & Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Colorado”). Foster parents must also own or rent a home and be financially sufficient to provide for a child. You are expected to provide for a child’s mental, physical, and personal development. If you meet these requirements and are ready for the ups and downs of parenthood, you can go through a certification process. The best way to describe the certification process is going to school to become the parent you were destined to be. With research, hard work, love, and devotion, you’ll be able to adopt Colorado children and impact those lives forever.
Have you dreamed of traveling the world? Do you want to experience new countries, eating all sorts of foods, and snap silly pictures in front of the wonders of the world? I know I have! Well, have you considered adopting a child from an international country? We see celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Madonna adopting children from around the world but, what about an everyday person without any celebrity status? Is it possible to adopt in international countries and truly make an impact? The simple answer is yes, absolutely. International adoption has similar qualification laws as adopting from foster care with a few additions added in the mix.
- Visas: When it comes to international adoption, Visa is a word you will hear a lot. A Visa is a form of ID that lets your child into The United States. Your Colorado child placement agency will explain to you what type of Visa your child needs in the finalization of the adoption.
- The Differences: While foster care adoption states you must be 21 or an approved minor to adopt, international adoption can have age and family size restrictions depending on the country you are adopting from. There are no infertility requirements, and couples looking to adopt must be legally married for a minimum of two years (unless the country requirements state otherwise).One thing I know is that most of the time, children looking to be adopted around the world aren’t worried where the adoptive parents are from. As long as the child is in a happy, stable, safe, and loving home, our differences don’t define us.
- Private domestic adoption: What is private domestic adoption? This type of adoption is when birth parents voluntarily relinquish parental rights and place the infant into the custody of a child-placing agency. Colorado has many agencies throughout its counties which will be listed at the end of this guide. Some Colorado agencies only agree to open adoptions. The Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains is one of these programs. This agency believes open adoption helps a child by being surrounded by a loving adoptive family, while the birth family is still able to keep in contact and watch the child grow. According to the website, “LFSRM welcomes individuals and couples of all faiths, races, sexual orientation, and backgrounds to apply for domestic adoption who do not have a criminal history.” LFSRM states you must be a Colorado resident and at least 21 years old to apply. This agency provides a helpful list glancing into the adoption process. Although it is catered to its program, the list provided can be used with any agency you choose with slight differences.
A Glimpse into the Adoption Process
The list provided is a model example and can be adjusted to your peculiar agency or program.
- You will meet with an agency counselor in your area to review if private domestic adoption is right for you.
- Complete your agency’s application.
- Once you have been approved into your agency, your counselor will reach out and set up an interview with you and your family. This interview can occur on multiple occasions with different family members.
- After interviews are complete, a home study is conducted.
- During this time, you will be required to participate in adoption classes. These classes can be taken online or in person. Your agency counselor will determine which option will be best for you.
- You will make an adoption profile where expectant parents can read about you and your family, see pictures that you provide, and learn why the birth parents should choose you as an adoptive family.
- Once you are matched with an expectant family, you’ll be able to meet the birth parents, along with your agency counselor or staff.
- Once the baby is born, most adoptive families can travel to the hospital to take the baby home once the family is ready.
- Your agency counselor will have regular check-ups with you and your family, be there to provide support and submit any reports needed by the court.
- After at least six months, the adoption will be finalized.
Adoption Information Links
Whether you’re an expectant parent or a hopeful adoptive parent, I hope you found the information provided essentially in beginning your adoption journey. This guide was made with love and an open heart in understanding how the adoption world works here in Colorado. Please feel free to comment with any questions or feedback you have. I look forward to helping forever families for years to come.
Amanda Miskimon is the youngest of six children. Being raised in a loving home has made her an advocate of forever families. When Amanda isn’t writing, she spends her time taking pictures, playing The Sims on her computer, or indulging in her guilty pleasure, cookie-based ice cream. She hopes to someday have children with her amazing husband Matthew. In the meantime, they will watch rom-coms and cuddle their fur baby Kiki. To connect with Amanda, visit her LinkedIn page www.linkedin