Adoption is a legal process wherein a child who was born to one set of parents becomes the child of another parent(s). Each state has its own sets of rules and regulations for who can adopt. Since this is such an important and life-changing process, the state’s determinations are made according to what they deem is in the best interests of the children. In Alabama, the Department of Human Resources is the agency that sets the standards for adoption, and in this article, you will see what the eligibility requirements are for adoption.
Basic Requirements for Adoption
Naturally, individuals who are seeking adoption have put a great deal of thought into this major decision. That being said, before they begin the process, they should be aware of the following requirements:
- You must be of the age of majority (19 years or older)
- If you are married, your marriage should be at least three years in durations
- If you are married, at least one member should be a United States citizen
- Individuals and married couples should be able to meet the child’s material needs, including but not limited to housing and personal space within the domicile
- All individual aspiring adoptees should be willing to go through a thorough background check
- Individuals and married couples should be healthy enough to raise a child
In terms of being “healthy enough to raise a child,” individuals should be able to meet the basic physical demands that go into raising a child. This can be sorted out by going through a physical and having a physician’s report submitted as part of your home study. The home study is where an adoption professional conducts a home inspection and a series of interviews in order to ensure that you and your home meet the standards that are outlined above. You do not have to have a perfect home, or be a perfect individual. All you have to have is the drive, ability, and essential material to support a child.
In Alabama, same-sex couples are able to adopt, though this process is more complex due to additional regulations that were established following Obergefell v. Hodges, which is the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage. Working within the language of preexisting adoption statutes, same-sex couples can file for adoption as joint parents, or they can opt for a stepparent adoption, meaning that the child is legally adopted by the parent’s spouse.
Types of Adoption in Alabama
Two common types of adoption are joint and stepparent. With joint adoptions, members of a couple (married or not) simultaneously adopt a child, creating a legal bond between all three. Stepparent adoption allows a new partner in the relationship to gain the legal rights of a parent, without terminating the rights of the first, biological parent. You are required to be married in order to have a stepparent adoption.
There are, at any point in time, hundreds of children who are available for adoption in Alabama. If you feel that adoption is the right thing for you, whether you are single or in a relationship, then let an experienced Birmingham adoption attorney help you begin the process.