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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


When it comes to rights and laws, each adoption situation depends on so many factors that a generic answer can be misleading.  Each state's laws are unique and often multiple adoption laws are involved. Critical factors include the birth parents' states of residence, the adopting family's state, the ages of the birth mother and birth father, and the degree to which all parties cooperate with the adoption. It is precisely because there are so many variables involved that adoption law is complicated and often difficult to understand. 

Questions and Answers

What adoption laws most commonly apply?

The adoption laws of your state of residence, the laws of the birth mother's and birth father's states of residence, and, if the child has Native American heritage, the Indian Child Welfare Act

What is the Interstate Compact Act?

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) was established in 1974 and includes all 50 U.S. states.  Before a child born in one state can be taken to another state for the purpose of adoption, both states must give approval.

How long does a birth mother have to change her mind?

The birth mother and birth father can change their mind any time before their parental rights have been ended.  Every state is different and within each state the time varies depending on several factors.  In general, if both the birth mother and birth father are cooperative, the time is usually from approximately 1-30 days.

Are there laws regulating the payment of money?

Yes.  Many states limit and control what fees can be paid to a birth mother, attorney, and adoption agency.  It is critical to know the laws of your state of residence and the laws of the birth mother's state before any monies are paid.

Can we advertise in the newspaper for a birth mother?

You need to check your state law since several states prohibit or otherwise restrict advertising for a birth mother or child.

Are private adoptions allowed in every state?

No.  Several states limit the private adoption process.  Additionally, in many states the termination of parental rights and the final adoption process are affected by whether the adoption is a private or agency adoption.

Are open and closed adoptions restricted in some states?

Yes.  Some states mandate open adoption and other states mandate closed adoption.  In most states you can have either one but there may be a different process for each type of adoption.

Is insurance coverage for the child required in all adoptions?

No.  But as it relates to the child, there is a U.S. law which, in many cases, mandates that an adopted child have the same coverage as a birth child.

Are there laws affecting my taking time off from work?

Depending on your employer, you may be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.  If so, both an adopting mother and adopting father may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave.

Does the birth father have to be involved in the process?

A birth father has parental rights just like a birth mother, even if he can not be found or if the birth mother is not able to identify him.  His parental rights must be ended before an adoption can be finalized.

Can a birth mother's or birth father's parent stop an adoption?

Usually the answer is no.  But in some states, depending on the circumstances, the child's grandparents rights must be addressed.  Be sure to check with an attorney or an adoption agency.

What laws are involved in an international adoption?

The rules and regulations set up by the U.S. Department of State, the specific foreign country involved,  the adopting family's state of residence, and possibly the Hague Convention are all involved.

Do all countries allow their children to be adopted?

No, some countries do not recognize adoption.  Other countries recognize adoption by citizens of that country but do not allow citizens of other countries to adopt their children.  Counties like China and Russia, and many other countries are open to adoption by their citizens or by foreigners.

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