Did you know that Alexander the Great – King of Macedon, Philip V – King of Macedonia, and Marcus Aurelius – Emperor of Rome were adopted? Yes, they were! Adoption has been a part of our written law since the 18th century, during the reign of Babylonian King Hammurabi. The earliest evidence to survive intact is the Code of Hammurabi. This written law precisely mentions clear definitions of adoption.
This word is used to refer to a legal process that creates a permanent and new parent-child relationship that did not exist before. This process takes place in a court in front of a judge and bestows on the adoptive parent(s), all the rights and responsibilities normally held by a legal parent. Apart from this, adoption also gives the child who is being adopted all the social, emotional, and legal rights and responsibilities of a family member.
Basically there are two types of adoption. Both of them have been listed below :
- Open: In this kind, contact between the biological parents and the child is allowed.
- Closed: In this kind, there is no contact between the biological parents and the child.
Most adoptive parents choose the closed option because it is free of any problems that might surface because of the contact between the child and his/her biological parents. Of course there are couples who also opt for open adoption too, as they feel that the child will benefit from a support system that includes more people. This will also help the child get the required love and support.
Who can adopt?
You can adopt a baby if you are single, childless, or already parenting another child. If you have a disability, you can still do so once the agencies are sure that you can take care of a baby and meet his/her needs throughout his/her childhood. You can also adopt a baby if you have a history of divorce, marital, or personal counseling, of course depending on the same criteria as mentioned above. Adopting a child does not require you to have your own house or have a high income. You can adopt one as long as you provide him/her with permanence, stability, a lifetime commitment, and a chance to be a part of a family.
Today some foreign countries are placing children with single applicants, as follow-up research has shown that single parents are mature, independent, and have a wide and supportive network of family and friends. This scenario is especially suited for children who have trouble dealing with two parents due to a history of neglect and/or abuse.
In the case of infant adoptions in the United States, agency criteria for applicants are more restrictive. They only consider couples who have been married for at least 1 to 3 years, are between the ages of 25 and 40, and have a stable income. Of course there are a few agencies that do accept applicants older than 40 years of age. Some of the agencies in the U.S., require that the couple have no other children and are unable to bear any. There are others that require one parent to not work outside the home for a period of at least 6 months. The agency that places infants for adoption will let you know the specific eligibility regulations and placement options with you.
Adopting a Baby
- In order to adopt a baby, it is important to decide what type of adoption you would like to pursue. This question depends on whether you would like a domestic or an international adoption. The agency you choose will depend on the choice you make.
- Once you have zeroed down on an agency, you will be required to fill out lots of forms and answer additional questions. The questions you are asked will help the agency match the right situation.
- Now the agency will ask you to complete a home study, which is a report that is required by the state. This is conducted by a professional who is licensed by the state. The home study informs the agency about your current life and background.
- The home study worker will then interview you, your spouse, and your personal references at your home. Of course you can fix the date and time according to when you will be at home. Additionally, you will also have to complete a criminal and child abuse criminal check. In some states, you might also be fingerprinted.
- After that is over, you might be asked to write a letter to the future birth parents along with photos of your home, family, and you. This is what your profile comprises!
- Once all the above steps have been completed and all the papers filed are approved, the agency will present your profile to the families wanting to place their child for adoption. Here, many birth parents might want to interview you by phone or meet you in person.
- If the birth parent(s) has selected you, he/she will sign the relinquishment papers after the baby is born.
- Now that you have the baby, the social worker will check in with you to see how you and the baby are adjusting. This period can last for 3 months or a year, depending on the state and the age of the child at placement.
- When that is over, you will be cleared to finalize the adoption. This is when you will return to court where the judge will issue an adoption decree. This is when you become the child’s legal parents and a new birth certificate is issued.