For help, contact Lusk Law LLC
Adopting in Alabama
Alabama's main requirement is that the adoptive parent's have the ability to parent a child with love and positive upbringing. Six additional requirements include: those seeking to adopt in Alabama, must be over nineteen years of age, married couples will be considered after their third year wedding anniversary, at least one adoptive parent must be a U.S. citizen, the child to be adopted must have personal space in the home and the home must be adequate for taking care of a child, adoptive parent's must be healthy enough to care for the child, adoptive parents must have a background check and criminal history check done.
Potential parents will need to fill out an inquiry form to receive an informational packet. Inside the information packet is an application that needs to be filled out and submitted. Group Preparation and Selection (GPS) comes next. This is a process where the families who wish to adopt meet for training purposes. Ten meetings are required for a total of 30 hours of training. The family profile and the home study are also required before any approval will be granted. Applicants who are selected will then be given background information on a child who may be a good match for their family. The family will have an opportunity to meet the child in person, before a placement agreement is signed. The legal process to adopt will take place after three months of the child being in the adoptive home. The child is legally adopted after the legal confirmation is granted.
WHERE DO I START?
If you've never adopted before, it can be hard to know where to start. Because the process can seem so overwhelming, especially those who aren't as experienced with the adoption process as others, it's important to start with the basics and work your way up from there. Before you can even begin the process, you must first understand how the process works and what you need, want, and expect from this experience. This includes knowing the type of adoption you want, how to interact with biological parents and adoption professionals, and the adoption eligibility requirements.
This section is the perfect place to start. Throughout these pages, you'll learn who can adopt and if you're eligible. If you're choosing domestic adoption--meaning within the United States--it's important to know that each state has different laws, guidelines, and requirements for adoption eligibility. If you're going to adopt a child from a different state than your own, you will have to satisfy both states' requirements and expectations.
If you choose international adoption--meaning outside the United States--each country has very specific guidelines and requirements for adoptive parents, including age limits, years of being married, ethnicity and religion, and even income. It all comes down to proper, extensive research, no matter what you decide. Because of the emotional, mental, and financial toll adoption can bring, make sure you know the country's requirements before you begin. It can save you a lot of heartache in the long run.
In order to fully understand the adoption process, you must first learn the common and accepted words and terms. This will not only give you a better understanding during legal adoption proceedings, but it help you better navigate social interactions within the adoption community. Because adoption can be such an emotional and sensitive topic, it will only benefit you and your journey to know which terms are acceptable and which ones are offensive to any given side of the adoption triad. Sensitivity and empathetic awareness are two essential traits to any productive, effective, and life-long adoption relationship.
After all is said and done, you'll need to decide if adoption is really right for you. It's not for everyone, and that doesn't make you a bad person. If you decide that it's not for you, that's perfectly fine. You can then move forward with confidence knowing you've explored your options and you made an intelligent, informed decision. However, if you feel adoption is still a viable option for your life and your family, spend a little time taking the "Are You Ready?" assessment. This will give you a little more insight into your own needs and expectations for adoption. Once you're aware of that, you can then proceed with the adoption process in confidence.
Something to Consider
Adoption is for forever. And it's also not the best option for every family. As you seek your own answers to the question "is adoption right for me?", it's equally important to explore the other side of the question: "am I right for adoption?"
Adoption is a permanent proposition that requires a lifelong commitment by everyone involved. It is extremely important that you adopt for the right reasons. If you are looking to adoption to save a marriage, provide an heir, because all your friends have babies, or because of external pressures (such as your parents), this might not be the right time for adoption.
Anyone who plans to adopt must also be prepared to properly deal with the financial, time, and other significant lifestyle commitments that will be necessary in order for parenting to be a success. Your commitment will be tested during the process, and during parenting years. Before you decide to adopt, be sure you are ready and able to give this child all the love and attention that he or she needs and deserves.
In the end, adoption can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
Review of Qualification Requirements for Prospective Adoptive Parents
Although the laws and policies that regulate who can adopt will vary from state to state and from agency to agency, there are general requirements that most adoption agencies will look at when they talk to people about adopting. It is important to realize that, with the exception of the actual provisions of state law which cannot be waived or modified, there are usually very few requirements or rules that are inflexible. If you run up against a guideline or rule that gives you a problem, you should always ask if it could be waived in your particular case. You might be surprised by what exceptions can be made under the right circumstances and for the right people.
Frustrated adoptive parents have been heard to claim that they feel they should have a "right" to adopt, and they demand the cooperation of others in protecting those rights. Although it is true that everyone has a "right" to desire and to attempt an adoption, from a practical standpoint, no one has an absolute "right" to adopt.
Mandatory Legal Criteria: These are the legal and procedural requirements that are imposed by the laws of the state and county where the adoption will actually take place, which is generally the county and state where the adoptive parents reside, although there are some states that will permit adoptions to be processed in their courts by non-residents of that state. In most cases, these requirements are not very flexible and cannot be waived or modified.
Preferred Agency Criteria: These are practical requirements that are imposed by individual adoption agencies, which are above and beyond the legal requirements imposed by state law. These requirements will vary from agency to agency, based on the focus of the agency, the type of adoptions the agency handles, the human and economic resources that are available to the agency, the social philosophy of the agency and/or the commercial, non-profit or public entities that provide support to the agency. Each agency is free to establish its own criteria, but within the framework of its charter, may also be able to waive or modify the criteria under the right circumstances. A good example of this might be the maximum age restrictions that are imposed on adoptive couples. Because of the type of adoptions they handle, some agencies will not work with couples over 40 years of age, while other agencies will work with individuals who are older. In almost every case, there are very valid reasons for these restrictions. Adoptive parents will need to shop around until they find an agency that has criteria they are comfortable with.
Criteria Sought by Birthparents: Especially in cases that involve independent open adoptions, birthparents are playing an ever-increasing role in the selection of the families who adopt their children. This means that birthparents can impose whatever individualized criteria they feel are important in their situation. Adopters are free to walk away from an adoption opportunity if it is felt that the qualifying criteria are unacceptable. They cannot "force" a parent to place a child for adoption on terms find unacceptable. This is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, most often it can be a wonderful thing, but it does throw criteria into the matching process that will be totally subjective and individualized to the particular circumstances of each adoption. To a great extent, this level of criteria will be absent when the adoption involves a non-infant adopted through a public agency, because in most of these cases, by the time the adoptive parents get involved, the parental rights of the biological parents will already have been legally terminated by the court.
Adopting Parent Limitations or Criteria: All adopting parents have practical limits beyond which they will not go in an adoption. These self-imposed limitations may involve financial considerations, age considerations, health considerations, or a wide variety of other considerations, which are specific to their personal comfort level. If they cannot feel good about the totality of factors involved in a particular adoption opportunity, they will not move forward with that adoption.