Types of Adoption in Arkansas
There are several different types of adoption to consider. The most common forms of adoption include:
- State Adoption - Every state has its own adoption program to support getting children from their state adopted. Most children adopted from foster care in Arkansas are adopted by foster parents and relatives. In Arkansas, about 56.5% of children adopted from care in 2012 were adopted by their foster parents. Another 20.1% were adopted by relatives.
- Private Adoption - Private adoptions occur when a couple goes through a private adoption agency to adopt their child.
- International Adoption - International adoptions can cost less and lets a couple adopt from another country.
- Step-Parent Adoption - Step-parent adoptions occur when you marry someone who already has children and you adopt them as your own through the legal process.
- Adult Adoption - Adult adoptions are less common, but occur when the person you are adopting is over 18. People can carry out adult adoptions for a variety of reasons, including if the adult has diminished capacity and you would like to care for them as your child.
- Surrogacy - Surrogacy is when someone else carries and gives birth to your child, but you bring the child home. The child can either be biologically linked to you or can be from donors.
Arkansas Adoption Laws
If you are adopting in the state, the following rules apply. You must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have no more than a 45-year age difference between you and the child you wish to adopt
- Not have a health condition or disability that would make it difficult to parent a child
- Complete a physical exam
- Have a healthy, safe home with at least 50 square feet of space per occupant in each bedroom
- Keep any firearms locked away and stored separately from ammunition
- Be able to provide children of opposite sexes with their own separate bedrooms if the kids are 4 years old or older
- Not smoke in front of children or permit others to do so
- Have sufficient resources to meet a child’s needs without relying solely on financial assistance from the government
- Pass a background check
- Complete CPR, Standard First Aid certification, and 30 hours of pre-service training
Anyone can adopt in Arkansas regardless of their marital status. If you are adopting through a private agency, they may have rules regarding whether or not you are married. You also cannot be grieving from infertility. Both the state and many private agencies make sure that you are emotionally ready to adopt.
What Does the Adoption Process Look Like?
The adoption process involves the following steps:
- Petition for Adoption
- Consent or Waiver of Consent
- Sworn Affidavit
- Certified Statement from the Putative Father Registry
- Home Study
- Child Study Report
- Final Decree of Adoption
The length of the entire process, from start to finish, can vary greatly. The steps in the process can also vary depending on what kind of adoption—private or state—you are hoping to complete. It’s important to reach out to a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney to help you navigate the details.