An associate of mine finds it very interesting that any couple in this world, no matter how rich or poor, no matter what they do for a living, no matter if they have a criminal record or not, no matter what kind of persons they are, can have as many kids as they like and nobody can say one word about it.
But when a middle class, hard working, law abiding couple wants to adopt a child they have to jump through more hoops than a clown at a three ring circus. He wonders why.
In this article we’ll try to explain some of the problems and red tape associated with a couple trying to adopt a child.
For starters, adoption law varies from state to state. Yes, there are laws, and depending on where you live those laws can be quite different but there are some laws that are pretty common across the board. There is the Consent to Adoption. This consent refers to the agreement by a parent, or a person or agency acting in place of a parent, to relinquish the child for adoption and to release all rights and duties with respect to that child. In other words before you can adopt the child the birth parent or agency in charge, if the birth parents are dead, has to give consent for the adoption to take place.
Then there is the parties to adoption. In order for an adoption to take place, a person available to be adopted must be placed in the home of a person or persons eligible to adopt. All States, the District of Columbia, and the US territories Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands have laws that specify which persons are eligible as adopting parents, and which persons can be adopted. In other words they decide whether or not they think the adoptive parents are fit and this varies from state to state.
So who CAN adopt? Generally speaking anyone over the age of 18 but in some states 21 and still in others the minimum age is 25. Again, this is all state regulated. There are some states that allow minors to adopt under certain circumstances but this is very rare. In some states the adopting parents must be at least 10 years older than the child. So if you want to adopt a 15 year old boy you have to be at least 25 years of age. Then there is the residency question. Most states require that you be living at your current residence for at least 60 days.
So who can BE adopted? Generally, anyone under the age of 18. Of course depending on the state there are some additional requirements. For example, in some states the child has to be living in that state at the time of the adoption. So if you wanted to adopt someone from overseas you wouldn’t be able to. In some states this extends further to the child having to be a resident for a certain length of time. Some states do allow the adoption of a person regardless of age but this is very rare.
Then there is the question of WHO can place a child for adoption. This is usually the birth parent or parents unless both are dead and then it is the agency to which custody of the child was appointed.
But this gets even more complicated. What if the birth mother and father are not married and the mother wants to put the child up for adoption but the father does not? This becomes an extremely messy situation. First there is the court battle between the mother and father to determine who gets the say in the matter. In most cases unless the mother is proven unfit the right to place the child up for adoption is granted. If not, however, then a determination has to be made as to whether or not the father is given custody of the child. We are assuming at this point that since he was against the adoption that he will want to keep the child, but he is in no way legally obligated to do this and can put the child up for adoption at a later date.
Then there are the adoption fees. In most states the adoptive parents have to pay these fees and they can be enormous, going into the tens of thousands of dollars. My associate thinks this is absurd. The parents don’t want the child but it’s the adoptive parents who have to pay to get the child even though the child isn’t wanted. Some would say that is hard logic to argue with. As you can see, adoption is not simple. Add to all the above that the adoption process can be a very lengthy one, sometimes taking years, it makes you wonder why anyone would go through the trouble. For that matter why would someone have to when there are so many unwanted children in the world? It gives you something to think about.
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to African Safaris