By Sarah Stewart Legal Group

There are many different types and circumstances of adoption: through the state, international, step-parent, grandparent, kinship, private. With so many different choices, Oklahoma families looking to adopt can get a little confused.  Today, we will discuss the most frequently asked adoption questions.

(1) What are the requirements to be an adoptive family in Oklahoma?

-You must be at least 21 years of age.

-in reasonably good health

-your marital status is unimportant.  Married couples, single people, widows, and legally separated people can all adopt children in the state of Oklahoma

-you must have the means and space to house a child

-you must be willing to accept the child as your own and become the parent of the child

-you will need to have a background check and home study completed (this can be waived for step-parent adoptions)

-you must not have a conviction for child abuse or neglect or sexual offenses

(2) What are the costs?

This answer depends on the type of adoption you are completing.  Usually, the state offers stipends and other incentives that make adoption a free or low cost option for those children in DHS custody.

For private adoptions, you may need to pay an adoption agency, some expenses of the birth mother, home study and background check, legal expenses, and the legal expenses of the mother.

For step-parent, grandparent, kinship adoptions, you may have to pay for a home study, background check, and legal fees associated with the action.

For international adoptions, you will have to pay the agency, the adoption fees internationally, and the legal fees and expenses to re-adopt in the state of Oklahoma as well as all naturalization documents for the child.

(3) Who do I contact about adoption?

For the state contact DHS 1-800-376-9729

For private adoption, there are many options in and out of the state.  For local agencies, contact: Adoption Choices of Oklahoma, Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, Catholic Charities, Deaconess Adoption Services, Lilyfield, and Oklahoma Baptist Home for Children.

For international adoption, thoroughly check all adoption agencies as there have been reports of sham agencies and agencies closing on a moment’s notice.  It is best to get personal referrals from those you know about the agencies they have used.

For kinship and step-parent adoptions, private attorneys or Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma should be able to assist you with the process.

(4) Do I have to have the parents’ consents to adopt?

For children in state custody, usually parental rights have already been terminated and the child is immediately eligible for adoption.  For kinship placements and step-parent adoptions, and some other private adoptions, there are situations where you will not need consent to adopt a child.  There is a post related to this topic here.

For many private adoptions, especially with expectant mothers, you will have to have the mother’s consent and at least send notice to the father.

For international adoptions, the agency in charge of the adoption should be able to handle this for you, at least internationally.