Anybody living in Greenville, South Carolina and who wishes to adopt a child should gather information about the process before they go about doing so. Though many people have successfully adopted in our area, the process is still quite complex. The law is basically designed to ensure the safety of the adopted child, and that is why there are a number of rules and regulations that one has to abide by to be able to satisfy the agency. If you are really serious about adopting, you should consult with a Greenville adoption lawyer as soon as possible.
Who Can Adopt a Child in Greenville?
The problem with adoption is finding the right match between the parents and the adopted child. There are a number of children available in the adoptions system, including those with disabilities or handicaps that require extra care that not all parents are able to provide. In addition, the adoption process can be very competitive, with a lot of parents wanting to adopt smaller children or babies into their family. While your Greenville adoption lawyer will be able to provide you with more information, there are some aspects of the adoption process that you should be aware of.
In addition to when a family wants to add a new addition, there are several other scenarios in which a child may be adopted:
- The child is handicapped (physical or mental) and has special needs. These special needs may include ambulatory assistance, special schooling, feeding, bathing, etc.
- The prospective adoptee is related to the child. This does not have to be an uncle or an aunt, but can also be a distant relative.
- At least one of the adoptee parents is employed by the military stationed in the state.
- In very rare circumstances, the adoption agency feels that an out-of-state placement may be in the best interest of the child. For example, if both parents perished in a car accident, then the closest relatives who reside in another state may be willing to adopt. Or the parents may have written a will indicating their preferences for family members who reside out of state.
- The child in question has been in foster care for at least 6-9 months, and even though legally free for adoption, no South Carolina resident wants to adopt the child. Unfortunately, this is a common scenario for disabled children. They often remain in foster homes for months, sometimes years.
What Are the Expenses Associated with a Greenville Adoption?
The second thing one should know about the adoption process in South Carolina is that it is not a cheap undertaking. By the time you are done with the adoption, you will have probably spent tens of thousands of dollars. And all the money comes out of your pocket. There are fees that need to be paid at almost every step of the way. Therefore, keep in mind that if you want to adopt, you should have the necessary funding. Cost is a hurdle for many people who do want to adopt, but quickly withdraw once they find out how much money they would have to invest in the process.
In some cases, if there is a surrogate involved, the adoptive family will have to pay the medical costs of the pregnancy and any other costs that arise from the delivery.
When you first apply for adoption, the court and your family law attorney will outline the expenses involved. All these expenses will be subject to approval by the judge. In every case of adoption, your finances will be thoroughly evaluated at to make sure that you can afford a child. The last thing the state of South Carolina wants is for an adopted child to suffer because of lack of money by the adopted parents.
State Requirements for Adoptive Parents
In order to adopt a child in South Carolina, you must meet the following criteria:
- All adoptees have to be at least 21 years of age
- The adoption application has to be filed and submitted to the regional office that deals with adoption
- All individuals of the household over the age of 18 must undergo a child abuse registry check and complete the fingerprinting process.
- The adoptee parents have to attend the preparatory training programs that last 14 hours. It is not free.
- The home of the adoptee parents has to be inspected for fire safety and ensure that it is sanitary.
- Meet with an adoption specialist at their home and be available for pre-placement interviews
- Provide at least 3 independent references that vouch for character.
- All family members need to undergo a complete medical exam and provide the report to the agency.
- The adoptee parents have to provide all relevant documents that include a marriage license, any prior divorces and birth certificates.
How Does International Adoption Work in South Carolina?
Many people in South Carolina choose to adopt a child from overseas. Children can be adopted from a Hague convention country or a non-convention country. However, you do need the help of a family law lawyer to file for the special visas needed for these children to enter the country. Once the child is in South Carolina, you need to petition the court to validate the adoption and receive a state birth certificate.
Seek Legal Guidance from a Greenville Family Law Attorney
As stated, adoption can be a happy undertaking, but it can also be time-consuming and costly. People who are committed to adopting a child are doing a beautiful thing, but if they want to be successful, they should consult with an adoption lawyer before they do anything. If you are serious about adopting a child, call us at Greenville Family Law. Our law firm has handled thousands of cases, and we have extensive legal knowledge about how the process works in South Carolina and how we can increase the chances of your case having a positive outcome. Call us today at 864-331-1630, and we will be happy to assist you with all of your legal needs.