Adoption is a complicated and time-consuming experience. Greenville, SC couples looking to adopt a child can easily become overwhelmed with the rules and procedures that are involved. Likewise, parents who are looking to put a child up for adoption have their own questions and concerns. These are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you navigate this elaborate, but rewarding, process.
Who can adopt in South Carolina?
Any South Carolina resident can file a petition seeking to adopt. There are some situations where a prospective adoptive parent must be of a minimum age to adopt. Non-residents may also be able to adopt in certain circumstances, including where:
- The parent looking to adopt is a relative of the child.
- The child you are seeking to adopt has been in foster care for at least six months. This child must be available for adoption, and there must not be a South Carolina resident seeking to adopt.
- The child has special needs.
- At least one adoptive parent is an active duty military member stationed in South Carolina.
- There are other exceptional or unusual circumstances which would make the out-of-state adoption in the child’s best interests. Speak to a Greenville, SC adoption attorney to learn more about these.
Who can be adopted?
Children present in South Carolina (regardless of where they were born) when a petition is filed may be adopted. International adoptions also exist, but be advised these may take more time and have additional requirements. Adults may also be adopted.
What is the basic process to adopt?
Every type of adoption entails its own unique set of requirements. But the basic steps to adopt in Greenville, SC are:
- Home study
- Matching you with an adoptive child
- Relinquishment and placement of the child
- Post-placement assessments
- Adoption finalization by the court
Your Greenville, SC adoption attorney can explain more about each step. One step that adoptive parents ask about in particular is the home study.
How does the home study work?
A home study is conducted in private placement and foster care adoptions. Other members of the household besides the adoptive parents must be included in this process. You will need to have certain documents, such as verification of financial information, ready to present. A social worker will visit your home to ask such questions as your motivation for adopting. The home study is typically not required for step-parents or relatives looking to adopt. Speak with a Greenville, SC adoption attorney for details on this vital step in the adoption procedure.
How do the birth parents initiate the adoption process?
First, meet with a Greenville, SC adoption attorney who will counsel you on your options. Your lawyer will then begin the process of searching for a loving, adoptive couple.
Do the birth parents have to relinquish their parental rights to have their child adopted?
Yes. An adoption can not proceed unless and until the parental rights of the birth parents are terminated. This is a complicated process and you should seek the counsel of a Greenville domestic attorney to complete it.
How long does an adoption take?
Each case is different, but in general, you should expect 1-2 years to complete the adoption.
What costs are associated with adoptions?
The type of adoption will have a large bearing on the cost. Domestic, international, private agency, and foster care adoptions entail their own expenses. It is strongly advised that you seek legal counsel, so you can expect attorney’s fees. There are fees to contact the birth mother and pay for matching and screening services. Your Greenville, SC adoption attorney can discuss other fees with you.
Let the Attorneys at Greenville Family Law Help With Your Adoption
These are just some of the many questions that family law attorneys receive with respect to this topic. They illustrate just how involved an adoption really is. However, you shouldn’t let the intricacies of the process deter you. Remember, these rules and procedures are implemented to protect children and make sure they are adopted into responsible, caring households. To learn more about adoptions and to get started, contact a Greenville, SC adoption attorney at Greenville Family Law today.