By Sarah Stewart Legal Group
When you are looking to grow your family through adoption, it is an exciting, yet nervous time. Though some people adopt through family relationships- stepparents, grandparents, etc., that is not always the case.
If you are looking to adopt, below are answers to some of the most common questions we’re asked about adoption.
(1) How Do I Adopt?
The first adoption option is through agencies. Agency adoptions include private and public agencies. Oklahoma’s public agency is the Department of Human Services. Private agencies are available throughout the U.S. and Internationally. If you are using a private agency, be sure it is a reputable one that you or someone you know is familiar with.
Another option is independent adoption. These adoptions are generally facilitated through attorneys, other professionals, or the pregnant woman herself. Independent adoptions in Oklahoma have the greatest potential for abuse, as biological mothers can revoke consent to adoption any time before they have given consent in court to a Judge, or their rights have been legally terminated.
(2) What Children Are Available for Adoption?
Many different kinds of children are available for adoption. They come from all different backgrounds, races, nationalities, and religions. Children can be adopted from the U.S. or internationally.
(3) How Long Does it Take?
The longest part of the process is finding your child. Waiting times for placements vary depending on your specific interests and qualifications. Public agencies adopt out children whose parents’ rights have been terminated. Since their goal is reunification with the family, that generally means they have more older children available. Private agencies generally allow the biological parent to choose the adopting parent, so you are subject to the likes and dislikes of the parents.
Once you find your child, the legal process in Oklahoma can take 3 months to 1 year, depending on the status of the adoptive child’s parents and the likelihood the biological parents will fight the case.
(4) How Much Does it Cost?
Costs vary depending on the placement used for adopting your child. Public agencies tend to cost less, and usually cover adoption expenses. So, public agency adoptions range from 0 – about $2,000.
Private agencies range from $4,000 – $30,000 depending on the agency and services.
Independent adoptions are hard to pinpoint. In Oklahoma, adoptive parents can help with some expenses of the biological mother. The biological mother will also need to have an independent attorney hired for her. So, you are looking at a range of about $5,000 – $30,000 or more, depending on your contract with the biological mother and court costs and attorney fees.
International adoptions can cost $8,000 – $30,000 or more.
(5) What if I’m Single?
Oklahoma laws allow single people over the age of 21 to adopt children.
(6) What Information Will I Give?
You will have to pass a background check and a home study. Throughout this process, they will check for criminal records, learn about your family history and background, talk about your motivation and expectations for adoption, learn about your family environment and parenting style, and check your physical, employment, and health history.