The decision to adopt a child is a big step for any family. It is also an act of incredible courage to open your heart and life to a new child. In addition to the emotional decision that goes along with adoption, there are also formal legal procedures that must be followed.
The adoption process can involve multiple steps, which may include background checks for the adopting couple (and background checks for any other adults who live in the home) as well as a home visitation, and other evaluations to determine whether the parents will be permitted to adopt. Before you can adopt a child, the state will generally require that every adult living in the home undergo a background check. What are some factors in the background check that could potentially disqualify a person from being able to adopt? According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, there are several things that can appear on a background check that can interfere with an adoption. Here are some things that could disqualify parents from adopting:
- If the applicant for adoption has been convicted of a drug-related offense, or has been convicted of physical assault or battery within the past five years, the person may not be permitted to adopt.
- If the applicant has ever been convicted of felony child abuse or neglect, he or she won’t be permitted to continue with the adoption.
- Individuals convicted of spousal abuse may not be permitted to adopt.
- Individuals convicted of certain violent crimes may be barred from adoption.
- If anyone in the household has been convicted of any of the above crimes, there may be issues with the adoption going forward.
The adoption agency and state may review state sexual offender registries, adult protective services records, juvenile court records, and records of any restraining orders. You may be required to be fingerprinted and undergo fingerprinting-based background checks. If you are concerned about any of these factors and are considering adopting, you may want to speak to an adoption lawyer like Ballard Law, PLLC in Jackson, Mississippi to help you understand your options and rights.
What won’t disqualify you from adopting? Having a disability won’t disqualify you from adopting. Being a single parent won’t disqualify you from adopting. Being a same-sex couple won’t disqualify you from adopting. If you’ve gone through a divorce in the past, this also shouldn’t disqualify you from adopting. When adoption agencies or the state are looking to place children with prospective parents, they are looking at the individual or couple’s overall ability to care and provide for the wellbeing of the child. Ultimately, it will be up to the adopting couple or individual to show that they can provide for the emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing of the child. Adoption agencies are not looking for a specific income, though adoption agencies will want to see that you can provide for the child’s material well-being. Another common misconception is that adopting couples or individuals need to own their own home to adopt. This is not the case. If you’ve been arrested in the past, this, in itself may not bar you from adopting. The agencies will look at each of these cases on an individual basis, especially if the crime was not violent.
Are you thinking of adopting? The decision to adopt a child is a step that involves immense compassion and the opening of one’s heart. The process is a legal one that may require background checks, forms, and home visitations. Even if you plan to adopt a child already within your family—such as the children of a new spouse, or if you are a grandparent or other relative looking to take full legal responsibility for a child, you’ll still need to undergo the adoption process. In some cases, this may require the child’s legal parents or guardians relinquish their parental rights. Some adoption cases can be more complex than others. Sometimes adopting a child already in your family can even be more complicated than adopting a child who is unknown to you.
Are you thinking of adopting a child in Jackson, Mississippi? Ballard Law, PLLC is an adoption law firm that may be able to help you with the challenges and questions that can arise as you navigate the adoption process. There may be steps you can take before the adoption process to increase the likelihood that the adoption may go through. For example, if you were arrested but exonerated for a crime, do court records reflect this? If you were arrested and convicted, but your criminal record can be expunged, have you undergone these processes? Ballard Law, PLLC is an adoption law firm in Jackson, Mississippi that may be able to help you understand your options and rights if you anticipate adoption challenges. Reach out to our law firm today or connect with USAttorneys.com to get matched with a lawyer at Ballard Law, PLLC.