If you are opening your heart to a child through adoption, we wish your expanded family much happiness. We know the decision was made after much thought, although you are probably at least a little nervous about navigating through the legal process successfully to accomplish your goal. It can seem overwhelming, but some basic information can help you feel more prepared for what is to come.
Tennessee imposes requirements on prospective adoptive parents. These rules are confusing because there are different requirements if you adopt from foster care, and private adoption agencies can impose others. A knowledgeable adoption attorney from our firm could work with you to ensure you meet the requirements to adopt a child in Red Bank.
Tennessee laws regarding adoption are meant to match as many responsible people as possible with children needing families. There are only two objective requirements for a prospective parent to qualify. They must be at least 18 years of age and be a Tennessee resident for the six months before beginning the adoption process. The state may waive the residency requirement for some adoptions involving relatives or for Tennessee residents who are active-duty military personnel stationed in other states.
Before an adoption can be finalized, biological parents must waive their parental rights, whether voluntarily, through lawsuits, or by other means if the parents are unavailable. A compassionate and dedicated lawyer could guide prospective parents through the requirements to adopt in Red Bank.
Subjectively, adoptive parents must also pass a home study assessment and any other requirements the agency handling the adoption may impose.
The home study professional assesses the child’s environment and will spend time with the family to enable that assessment. Prospective parents must also provide recent verification of their mental and physical health, essential factors in maintaining a stable home for a new child. The family finances must also show no hardship will be created by welcoming another family member.
A criminal background check is also part of the home study assessment. Prior convictions—even felonies—do not necessarily disqualify a prospective parent. The family law court and the home study professional will confer to determine if the nature of the conviction, when it occurred, and the person’s current lifestyle affect the ability to adopt.
A seasoned Red Bank attorney’s guidance is beneficial during the assessment process because they can ensure parental candidates meet various state and local requirements before adopting.
About 80 percent of Tennessee adoptions are families who first take children into their homes as licensed foster care providers and go on to adopt them legally. Foster parents are given preference over others if they adopt their foster children. Some foster care requirements differ from Tennessee state law. To adopt from foster care, a prospective parent is required to:
Generally, single, married, and divorced people are eligible to adopt in Tennessee—but some agencies may impose their own marital status rules. If an adoption involves a married couple, both spouses must consent.
You may be a licensed foster care provider, a relative of an orphaned child, or someone yearning to complete your family. Adoption may be for you. Tennessee has certain laws and guidelines to protect vulnerable children who may already be traumatized. The requirements protect you, too, ensuring that you are ready to take on this joyful challenge.
If you are ready to add to your family in this special way, we are here to guide you. State, adoption agency, and foster care rules differ, which can complicate the process. Contact a well-practiced legal professional from our firm to ensure you meet the requirements to adopt a child in Red Bank.