Adopting an infant is a lofty goal! It is not only taking a child who needs a home and providing food, clothing, and shelter. But it is offering love, a name, and a forever family. Adopting infants is a great idea, but let me be clear, you will need to be patient. The wait to be placed with an infant could be very long because of the vast amounts of people that want to adopt compared with the number of infants available. But if you are patient, it will be a blessing to you and the baby. Here is a guide on how to adopt a baby in Arizona.
Adoption Option #1: Private Adoption
The positives about adopting privately are that you get to raise a child practically from birth and the risk of a child being exposed to abuse or neglect is relatively low. If you choose to adopt privately in Arizona, here are some things you need to know: First of all, you will need an adoption agency. This agency will write your home study, file for a certification for adoption, conduct a search, and also match you with a child.
Second, you will need an attorney. The attorney will file a petition for adoption, order for adoption, and any other legal documents needed. Both the adoption agency and the attorneys will work together with the birth parents to meet the birth parents’ needs and wishes. The attorneys will also work on severance of parental rights. This is a legal action where a birth parent voluntarily signs away his or her legal and custodial rights to the child. There may or may not be an adoption agreement, which will set the terms for communication, if applicable.
If you do not have an identified child in mind, it should be noted that the costs to adopt privately can be very expensive. If you do have an identified child, you may go to the county attorney’s office rather than a private lawyer. This will only cost you hundreds of dollars rather than thousands.
Adoption Option #2: Foster Care Adoption
One of the biggest myths out there is that it costs a lot to adopt a child. Contrary to popular belief, foster care to adoption in Arizona costs virtually nothing! Application fees, home study fees, pre-service training fees, and attorney fees are waived if you adopt from foster care. The only costs you may incur in these situations are improvements to your home, safety training, fingerprinting, physicals, etc. Eliminating the bulk of these costs frees the adoption applicant to focus on the most important thing: the child.
There are requirements to adopt through the foster care system. These include a criminal background check, a Child Protective Services background check, references, and a home study. If you aren’t related to the child, you may have to submit a physician’s statement and attend a pre-service training: Foster Parent College. You may also need to become certified for adoption. An adoption agency or foster care agency can assist you in all these areas.
After you become certified to adopt, your agency will help to match you to a child. You may attend an adoption selection committee (a conference where your agency presents your home study to a panel representing the child’s needs). If the panel agrees that you are the best family for the child, visits take place. The child is placed in your home for a minimum of six months if the visits go well. Your assigned attorney will file all appropriate paperwork and petitions the court for a final adoption hearing. Keep in mind, each case is different, so timelines may vary. Some requirements may be waived if you pursue kinship adoption.
Are you ready?
Some adopt due to infertility, some want to adopt a relative, and some simply want to serve your community. Adoption is a beautiful option! The wait is long and arduous. Regardless, it is worth the wait.