Once you have made the decision to adopt a child, you’ll have to negotiate the process of adoption. There are many practical and legal steps adoptive parents have to take to adopt a child.
Many of the following steps and requirements apply in all states, but some of them are specific to Tennessee. If you are adopting in another state, please research the adoption process in your state, so you don’t miss any important steps.
Requirements of Adoption
Before you can adopt a child, you must be able to prove that you can provide for a child’s needs. You must be able to hold a full-time job and have the financial means to own or rent a home. You must also be at least 21 and a resident of the State of Tennessee.
You don’t have to be married to adopt a child in Tennessee. You can be married, single or divorced and still be eligible. The number of children you already have is also not an issue, provided you have the means to support your existing family emotionally and financially.
It is important to know that criminal history can affect your eligibility for adoption. Some felony charges are non-negotiable and any criminal background will be subject to scrutiny. Be open and honest about your past when pursuing adoption to avoid any potential conflicts or disappointments.
Before you can adopt, a home study must be performed by a licensed child placing agency and must be less than a year old at the time of adoption.
The process of a home study can vary depending on the agency, but it is used to collect information about you, your home and your family. The study will include evidence for or against your ability to provide financially and emotionally for an adopted child.
The agency performing the home study may ask for medical and financial records, references and other verifications. They may also ask questions about your parenting style and what you expect from a new family member.
The Final Verdict
Once you have submitted your home study, a decision will be made. Also, it is important to remember that ultimately children are placed with the family that best suits their needs.
About 80% of children adopted from foster care in Tennessee are placed with families who are already their foster parents. Current foster families are the Department of Children’s Services’ first choice for placement when a child becomes available for adoption.
That said, if you follow all the necessary steps (and meet the requirements) with love and compassion in your heart and a commitment to becoming an adoptive parent, you will find a match.
Author: Destiny Adoption Services
Destiny Adoption Services is proud to support and guide birth parents and adoptive families on the journey of adoption. We’re a state licensed nonprofit adoption agency with four decades of adoption experience, and our professional team of experts includes moms, adoptive moms and birth mothers who provide compassion combined with trusted resources and skills.