Welcome to The Silver State! From the dazzling nightlife in Vegas to the cool summer parties of Lake Tahoe, the 36th state calls for everyone to unite and become a permanent family. This informational guide is intended as a starting point for Nevada natives and newbies alike. When it comes to your family and your case, remember to consult a direct adoption specialist. Please feel free to add any comments or questions you have in the space provided at the end of this guide.
What Is Adoption?
Since you’ve found yourself searching on adoption.org, the question of “What is adoption” might sound nonsensical to ask. I want to reassure you, this question is far from ridiculous and has a variety of answers to it. The first definition in the dictionary to adopt is “To take by choice into a relationship.” So simply phrased, yet the layers of this relationship you choose to commit to are ceaseless and forever united. To adopt is to accept sleepless nights, constant questions you may not have the answers to, and a nursing degree that you didn’t fully go to school for.
Adoption is one way to be a parent. Becoming a parent is a selfless and loving act. It isn’t always easy, but every parent I’ve talked to says it’s worth it. We can’t have adoption without birth parents. These are parents who have made the tough decision to place their child for adoption. Placement is another act of love and selflessness. Placement need not be the end of your journey with your child, either. It could very well be the beginning. The beautiful thing about adoption is it helps everyone grow, develop, and blossom into a big family for years to come.
Nevada Adoption Laws & Eligibility
Now that you’re all excited to learn about adoption, let’s talk about the legal logistics, also known as the laws and eligibility of adoption. First, you should make sure you fall under the eligibility preconditions for Nevada. In Nevada, you must be at least 21 years old to adopt. You must be at least ten years older than the child you are wanting to adopt. You must be able to pass a background check and be a legal resident of Nevada. If you are married or have a partner, both parties must be willing to participate and be fully involved in the adoption. You must have sufficient income to provide for the adoptee. You must provide a safe, loving, and nurturing environment for the adoptee to thrive in.
Once you pass all these requirements, you can move onto understanding the adoption laws in Nevada. Each state has a different set of adoption laws that correspond to the federal levels. These laws can constantly change, so it’s best to keep track with your adoption specialist or lawyer. Consent is key in any adoption. In Nevada, both biological parents must give consent to the adoption. Legally, birth parents must wait a 72-hour period after a child’s birth before establishing adoption consent. A birth father can give his consent before the child’s birth, unless he is married to the birth mother. Nevada has this waiting period in place so birth parents are able to ensure that placement is the right choice for them and their child. Consent isn’t required if the birth parents’ parental rights have been terminated by the court. This is most common when adopting from foster care. What’s more, if the child is over the age of 14 when the adoption is taking place, the child must also give their consent. This response gives an older child or teen comfort in knowing they have a say in their adoption.
Hopeful Adoptive Parents
Are you ready to take on one of the biggest adventures of your life? Don’t worry, this adventure won’t require you to travel to a distant land and fight off a dragon (unless it’s make-believe time of course). No, rather this adventure will open a new world full of love, acceptance, and learning. Adoption is a lifetime commitment many are excited for, but where do you start? How do you find a child that needs a loving home? How much does adoption cost? Let’s answer all of these questions and more.
“I want to adopt, but where do I start?” You’ve made your first step by choosing to adopt and reading this guide. Stepping into the adoption world and learning as much as you can is a great way to start the process. Sites like Adoption.com and Adoption.org are accredited and chock-full of useful information to help you along the way. Are there different types of adoption? Yes, adoption can happen in all kinds of ways. The common examples of adoption are domestic, international, and foster. Let’s break those down.
- Domestic adoption means adopting in one’s own country. This type of adoption is perfect for anyone wanting to adopt locally. Domestic adoption can be done through an agency or private. Most domestic adoption is for infants.
- International adoption is when you adopt an infant or child from a country other than your own. You will be able to bring a new culture, lifestyle, and love into your home. It is common to use an agency, but private adoption can be an option in rare cases.
- Foster adoption can happen after a child is legally free to adopt. Since the main goal of foster care is to reunite children with their biological family, the child in question can’t be adopted as soon as they are placed into foster care. Once all measures have been taken to reunite and that is no longer an option, the child can be adopted. You can adopt without being a foster parent, but fostering is a great way to connect with infants, children, and teens in the system. You will be able to provide a safe home and a loving environment for multiple adolescents if you desire.
Another burning question you might have is, how much does adoption cost? The costs of adoption depend on a few different factors. These can be where you adopt from (local or international), if you adopt privately or use an agency, and any classes or home studies you take/have. Don’t worry—once you start, your adoption specialist will take you through all the necessary services required, and the specific amount for each. Nevada’s department of health and human services has a helpful guide to follow as well. All costs will be worth it in the end. At the end of this guide, you will find valuable articles that give greater detail to different adoptions, how foster care and foster adoption works, as well as some great adoption agencies. Making the choice to become a parent is a huge step; let your support team guide you along this journey, and never be afraid to reach out for help.
The little pink plus sign. For some, it’s a time of excitement, the long wait. For others, it can be a moment of panic. “This wasn’t in the plan.” “It’s the wrong time to have a baby.” “I am too young to do this!” But do not fret. There is a group of loving and supporting people ready to help you on this new journey. Choosing life for your new bundle is a blessing for everyone involved. Placement for a newborn can be an open or closed option. You can use a private couple or an agency. There are plenty of options.
Open or closed adoptions are the terms used when we are talking about how much contact you will have with the adoptive family, and vice versa. In an open adoption, there can be as much communication as you want. You can meet the adoptive family in person, set up how you would like to be contacted and any guidelines you’d like. The adoptive family can also set guidelines. This is a great opportunity to still get updates about your child while fulfilling your plans you have set out for yourself. An open adoption can create a beautiful bound like no other, but it isn’t for everyone. Another option is a closed adoption. Closed adoptions are less common nowadays, but can still be a choice. This gives privacy to birth parents and provides no contact between all parties. A semi-closed adoption can happen if you still would like contact through a third party. Whatever your choice is, it will be the right one.
You’ve decided on placement, but what is the difference in using an agency vs. a private adoption? An agency is specialized in adoption and will help you from day one. They can provide counseling, high education programs, and in some cases, housing and medical benefits. You can use a local agency or one that works all over the United States. Private adoption, also known as independent adoption, is when you work with an adoption lawyer to find an adoptive family. These lawyers are specialised in adoption and know the ropes. However, they cannot always provide counseling. Whether you choose an agency or private, closed or open adoption is up to you. Know that you have support surrounding you during this emotional time and for the many years to follow. Adoption isn’t always an easy choice, but it is a choice purely made out of love.
The Gladney Center for Adoption works nationwide with expecting mothers. Even though Gladney doesn’t have an office in Nevada doesn’t mean they can’t help you with your journey. Gladney is known for its full support team ready to help anytime, day or night. They have a 24/7 hotline that is confidential for any questions you have. Their unbiased advice has helped countless women every year. Another awesome step Gladney has taken is to help expectant mothers find medical care and long-lasting counseling. It is so important to have support as birth mothers. This new chapter in your life will come with many emotions, it is nice to know others are on your side. Pregnancies among teen girls inside of foster care is another concern Gladney is passionate about. They provide host homes so young women can have a safe place to live throughout their pregnancy and after placement. They make sure these young women have the necessary skills and support to thrive in the world. Since Gladney is full of professionals, they can also help you make your adoption plan. An adoption plan is everything from picking an adoptive family, choosing a hospital to deliver at, keeping track of your appointments, even packing your fuzzy slippers to wear during labor. Gladney works with hopeful adoptive families as well. They will help you make your online profile for birth parents to see who you are and connect with you. Gladney will help birth and hopeful families decide what is right for them on a case-to-case basis. To find out all about Gladney, visit their site and this perfectly written guide about what they can do for you.
Raising a Family in Nevada
Now that you have your forever family, let’s find a great place to settle down and raise them right here in sunny Nevada. Doing my homework, I found a great site that ranks cities and towns in your state. This site uses a grade card algorithm to show you how the community lifestyle is so you can find your perfect fit. Henderson, Nevada, seems to receive the highest praise when it comes to great schools, diversity, housing, and being overall good for families. In 2017, Henderson was ranked number one in safest cities to raise a family. Henderson is only 20 miles away from Las Vegas, so you can enjoy the cozy tight-knit community, then head to Vegas to see some amazing shows. Wherever you live with kids, it’s important to get them involved in programs that peak their interests and let them flourish. Try after school programs, youth groups, swimming lessons, or anything that sparks the imagination. Starting passions to grow at an early age will shape your kids for the rest of their lives.
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.