Factors Considered in an Adoption Petition
There are numerous reasons why someone may want to adopt a child; however, despite the number of children that are currently in foster care, not everyone who petitions to adopt a child will be allowed to do so. Before filing an adoption petition, it is important for everyone to understand what factors will be considered.Criminal Record is Important
The most important facet that the adoption board is going to consider is whether or not the potential home is safe for a child. Not everyone with a criminal history will be disqualified from adoption, however, there are a few items on a criminal record that would immediately disqualify someone from adopting a child. These include charges related to child endangerment, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, recent drug-related offenses, and anything remotely similar to child exploitation. Crimes that would indicate that an environment might not be safe for a child will result in an immediate denial of an adoption petition. This makes sense as the first priority of all agencies and parties involved is to make sure the child is placed in a safe home.Finances will Matter
Once the investigator understands that the environment is safe for a child, they will start the process of assessing whether or not someone is fit to be a parent. Children are expensive and need to be provided for financially and otherwise. The adoption agency is going to take a look at the status of someone’s finances to see if they have the assets that are necessary to raise a child. Kids require food, clothing, school supplies, health insurance, medical related expenses and funding for social and extracurricular activities. If having to incur child related expenses would strain someone’s finances to the breaking point, they may not have their adoption petition granted.A Home Inspection May Take Place
One of the last steps in determining whether or not a petition will be granted may involve a home inspection. Someone from the adoption board may come out and take a look at the home. They will want to make sure that the child has a safe room to sleep in, space and play, and no easy access to dangerous items. They may take a look at the various parts of the building to ensure that they are up to code and take a look at the backyard as well, if there is one. They are charged with making sure that the home is a suitable place for a child. Further, adoptive parents may be advised to prepare some written material about themselves. The materials can include the personal background and information of the parties wishing to adopt the child or children, as well as some photographs of them. The purpose of that exercise is so that the biological parent or parents gets to know information about the prospective adoptive parents and can make an informed decision about who will be adopting the child.
People may not realize that the parent giving their child up for adoption may have certain requirements of the adoptive parents. For instance, a biological parent may wish that the adoptive parents are of a certain religion or ethnic background. The biological parent or parents often learn the information that is important to them in the written materials prepared by the adoptive parents. This is an additional hurdle that many people may not consider. Since there are so many moving parts in an adoption proceeding, it is always beneficial to consult with an experienced attorney who can prepare someone for all of the unknowns relating to adoption.
There are many different factors that will play a role in the success or failure of an adoption petition. Anyone who is considering adopting a child should contact an experienced attorney for more information on the process. There are some family attorneys that specialize in adoptions. Those attorneys can provide the necessary guidance for parties considering adoption on how to start the process and what will be expected of them along the way.
Article updated October 9, 2020.