Requirements to Adopt a Child
Adoption Choices of Arizona adheres to each state’s private domestic adoption laws and requirements. If you are eligible to adopt in your state, you are likely eligible to adopt through us.
A few FAQ about the requirements to adopt a child through our agency:
Who can adopt?
Any adult resident of Arizona, whether married, unmarried or legally separated is eligible to qualify to adopt children. We encourage you to contact our office for the latest status of this developing area of the law.
Who may be adopted?
A child under the age of 18, who is not an illegal alien and is present in the state at the time the petition to adopt is filed. The child must be legally free for adoption. “Legally free” means that the parents of the child have signed consents to the adoption, or pursuant to Arizona law, their consent is unnecessary, or their parental rights have been terminated by court order, or they are deceased.
Do I have to be married to adopt a child?
There are no marriage requirements to adopt a child in Arizona.
Some states require married couples to be married for 2-3 years before they are eligible to jointly adopt a child.
How old do you have to be to adopt?
In six states (Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Washington), adoptive parents must be 18 years old to adopt a child. In three states (Colorado, Delaware, and Oklahoma), adoptive parents must be 21. And finally, two states (Georgia and Idaho) require adoptive parents to be 25 years old.
Some states (California, Georgia, Nevada, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Utah) require the adoptive parents to be at least 10 years older than the adopted child.
All other states do not specify a minimum age to be eligible to adopt.
How old is too old to adopt?
There are very few state laws that disallow older people of a specific age from adopting a child.
However, during the adoption home study, your physical and mental health will be evaluated to ensure you are healthy enough to raise a child.
What is certification, what is involved?
Certification involves a home study and background check conducted by a licensed adoption agency. You will have to be fingerprinted so that a criminal records check can be completed through the FBI. The entity conducting the investigation submits a report and recommendations to the court in the county where you reside, and a judge will determine if you should be certified as acceptable to adopt. This process takes approximately 120 days to complete.
I was convicted of a felony in the past; am I unable to adopt a child?
If you were convicted of a felony, it doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot adopt. Your home study social worker will speak with you about the felony, when and why it happened, what you learned from that event, and how you’ve taken steps to correct any past mistakes.
Whether you are deemed eligible to adopt largely relies on the nature of the felony. If the felony involved child abuse or neglect, domestic violence, child pornography or sexual assault, it is highly unlikely that your home study will be approved and that you will be eligible to adopt a child.
Does your office represent adoptive parents from states other than Arizona?
Yes, we can represent you no matter where you live. If you have already identified a birth mother in Arizona we can meet with her, offer counseling, get the child released from the hospital after birth, obtain consents to the adoption and get approval from the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children for you and the child to return home.
What is the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children?
The compact is an agreement between the 50 states to ensure that a child moving from one state to another to be adopted is being placed into a suitable home with adoptive parents who are qualified to adopt. Administrators of the compact in both the sending state, where the child was born or is currently residing, and the receiving state, where the adoptive parents reside, review the adoption paperwork, including the homestudy, before granting approval for the child to leave the sending state and travel to the receiving state. In Arizona, adoptive parents cannot get approval to bring a child home from another state unless they are currently certified by the Superior Court as acceptable adoptive parents or are licensed foster parents. The compact does not apply to a parent, step-parent, grandparent, adult sibling, aunt, uncle or guardian.
What is the Indian Child Welfare Act?
The Indian Child Welfare Act, usually referred to as ICWA, is federal law that protects an Indian Tribe’s right to be involved with children who are members of the tribe or eligible for membership. A birth mother who is a member of a tribe, but who does not live on the reservation may make a voluntary adoption plan for her child. Consents to the adoption of an Indian child cannot be given until 10 days after the birth of the child. The consent to adopt can be withdrawn by the Indian parent at anytime and for any reason, up until a final decree of termination or adoption is entered.
What is the federal adoption tax credit?
The federal government has provided for a tax credit to assist adoptive parents with the expenses of an adoption. The credit phases out based on your modified adjusted gross income. The tax rules that govern how the credit is claimed and the amount of the credit are determined by the year your adoption was finalized. You will need to check with your own tax preparer to be certain that you qualify for and receive all of the benefits of this credit.
Can same-sex couples and homosexual single parents adopt a child?
There are very few states with laws that specifically prohibit the LGBT community from adopting a child. Adoption Choices of Arizona is committed to building families; we understand that every family, and every adoption plan is unique and we have been proudly assisting LGBT, Jewish, Muslim, single, or interfaith individuals and couples since we opened our doors. We encourage you to contact our office for the latest status of this developing area of the law.
What if we were married in a different state before Arizona recognized same-sex marriage?
Arizona recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states, even if those marriages occurred before Arizona began recognizing same-sex marriage.
Will both parents’ names go on the child’s birth certificate?
Yes. The Arizona Department of Vital Records will place both parents’ names on the child’s birth certificate, just as in a heterosexual adoption. The names will be listed as “parent” and “parent.”
Will we be treated differently in the adoption process?
Same-sex couples will be treated no differently from other couples and individuals adopting. Like any adopting family, it is important for couples and individuals to find the right match with an adoption service provider. Adoptive families want to ensure that there is a trusting and supportive relationship built between the family and provider helping create their forever family.
Will birth parents choose an LGBTQ family?
Yes. Although there is a perceived stigma attached to LGBTQ families, birth parents frequently choose LGBTQ families for their children.