You have dreamed of adoption, but you are not sure where to begin. There are several adoption options available in New York. Residents of New York may adopt an infant domestically, an infant or older child internationally, or an older or special needs child from foster care.
Before you begin the adoption process you need to know who is eligible to be an adoptive parent. Adoptive parents must be at least 21 years old and pass a criminal background check. Either married or single parents are welcome as well as both homeowners and renters.
A home study is a procedure you will go through regardless of the type of adoption you decide to pursue. This procedure allows the agency to help you decide what child would be the best fit for your family. While the questions are very personal, and may seem nosy, they are necessary to give your adoption the best chance of success. There will be questions about your financial status, employment history, your marriage (if applicable), your health and fingerprinting.
When adopting internationally there is a large age range of children available. There are some factors to consider since each country has its own laws. Some countries limit the age of people that are allowed to adopt, and others do not allow adoptions of younger children. This will help you determine the country that you are interested in adopting from, and will also help determine which agencies you should use. Be sure to choose an agency who has experience in adoptions from that country. You can find a list of adoption agencies on the New York State Office of Children & Family Services website.
In New York, infant adoptions are facilitated through an adoption agency or an adoption attorney. They are responsible for matching a birth mother with an adoptive family. They are also responsible for making sure that all the laws are followed.
If a birthmother feels that she is unable to care for her child and is unable to make an adoption plan, she may find protection in the New York Safe Haven law. She may take her unharmed infant (up to 5 days old) to any responsible person or call the appropriate authority (911) for medical treatment and transportation to a hospital, or bring the newborn to any fire station, police station, or hospital. The person receiving the child will arrange for a safe home for the child.
There are many children waiting for an adoptive family in New York but have difficulty being placed. These children are currently in foster care and may be older children or have a physical or emotional disability that requires extra care. Special needs may also mean a child of a different race, or a sibling group that needs to be adopted together.
When adopting an older child, you must complete a class called Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (MAPP). Older children and special needs children being adopted have unique needs. The purpose of the class is to help to educate you what the needs might be, and how to handle them.
If you are adopted, or if you placed a child for adoption, or if you are the biological sibling of an adopted person, you may wish to learn more about your birth family. The New York State Health Department's Adoption Registry can help and even facilitate a reunion.
Are you ready to be a parent? There are tens of thousands of children in the United States foster system and many more available children worldwide. There are many children in New York who are hoping to be adopted.
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Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.