Since laws vary so much from state to state, the information on this page cannot be construed as legal advice, nor does it represent the intricacies of the laws in your particular state. It is therefore imperative to contact an attorney and/or agency in your particular state when seeking advice about adoption laws and requirements. For referrals in your state, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting Licensed to Adopt
Adoptive parents must generally obtain a license and/or otherwise qualify in his or her particular state to adopt. This is often the case in intrastate adoptions, interstate adoptions, and international adoptions. The process of becoming licensed ordinarily includes parental training and a home study. Oftentimes, but not always, this licensing process is done through an adoption or foster agency.
If you are interested in adopting, shop for an adoption agency that can guide you through the process. To determine whether an agency you contact is right for you, give the agency your background information (religion, national origin, etc) and choose an agency that appreciates your unique qualities. Keep in mind that there are agencies that prefer to work with persons of a particular religious background, and which may not necessarily be enthusiastic about matching children with Muslim parents. Other agencies are ecstatic and encouraging about the prospect of helping Muslims obtain licensure.
Finding a Child in Need
Many times, agencies that are licensed by the state provide matching and placement services, which can be expensive. Every state has its own rules and regulations about whether or not advertisements and non-agency fee-based facilitators are permitted. States also have regulations about what type of compensation may or may not be provided for such adoption services. Always consult with a lawyer in your particular state about the appropriate way of finding a child in need of a home.
In cases where you have personally located a child-in-need of a home (through community contacts, for example), be sure to let your licensing agency know you are interested in a “targeted” adoption so that you are not charged for unnecessary matching or placement services.
Being Mindful of the Rules and Laws of the Child’s State or Country
In the case of interstate and international adoptions, adopters must determine whether or not it is even permissible to adopt that particular child. In interstate adoptions, this includes following specific laws in the state in which the child currently resides, and, for example, obtaining appropriate waivers from the birth parents and the completion of an interstate compact. In international adoptions, adopters must not only follow the laws of their particular state, but U.S. immigration laws and the laws and regulations of the country in which the child resides. Some countries, for example, simply do not permit children in their countries to be adopted or heavily regulate the types of individuals who can adopt from their countries. Some countries also have particular procedural requirements prospective adoptive parents must abide by before adopting from their countries.
The Court Process
The adoption process involves a great deal of legal work ranging from the termination of the birth parents parental rights to official name changes. Oftentimes, both the birth parent(s) and the prospective adoptive parents will require an attorney. In interstate adoptions, parties often have the option to finalize the adoption in the sending state or receiving state.
Beware of Scammers and of Requests to “Pay” for a Baby
If a birth parent reaches out to you and asks for money in exchange for a baby, walk the other way. Buying a baby is not only unlawful and inappropriate, but a tactic scammers use to target prospective adoptive parents who are searching for a child to adopt. These scammers are manipulative. Always seek a professional before becoming closely involved with someone you do not know and please be careful.