Requirements to Adopt a Child

Can I Adopt with American Adoptions?

As a national adoption agency, American Adoptions 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 American Adoptions.

First, let’s look at some of the questions we are commonly asked about the requirements to adopt a child through our agency:

Do I have to be married to adopt a child?

There are no marriage requirements to adopt a child, however American Adoptions currently only accepts couples who have been married a minimum of two years. If you do not meet our marriage requirement, but still wish to join our agency, please contact us to inquire about our exception process. 

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. 

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.

Are the requirements different for adopting a foster child?

Your state’s requirements for private domestic adoption are likely similar for foster care adoption, but there may be some minor differences. For example, in Nevada you must be 21 years or older to foster parent a child. However, to adopt the child, you also have to be 10 years older than the child.

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. However, this topic is still actively changing across the country, so be sure to contact American Adoptions or an adoption attorney for up-to-date information about the laws in your state.

Adoption Requirements by State for a Private Domestic Adoption:

 

State Requirements

Age Requirements

LGBT Restrictions

Residence Requirements

Alabama Requirements

Adult

None

None

Alaska Requirements

Must be an adult for single parent adoption

None

None

Arizona Requirements

Adult

None

Must be a resident of Arizona

Arkansas Requirements

Must be an adult for single parent adoption

None

None

California Requirements

Must be an adult and 10 years older than adoptee

None

None

Colorado Requirements

Must be at least 21 years old

None

None

Connecticut Requirements

None

Sexual orientation may be considered

None

Delaware

Must be at least 21 years old

None

Must be a resident of Delaware

District of Columbia Requirements

None

None

None

Florida Requirements

Must be an adult for single parent adoption

As of September 2010, LGBT adoption is legal

None

Georgia Requirements

Must be at least 25 years old and at least 10 years older than adoptee

None

Must be a Georgia resident for 6 months

Hawaii Requirements

Must be an adult for single parent adoption

None

None

Idaho Requirements

Must be at least 25 years old or at least 15 years older than adoptee

None

None

Illinois Requirements

Adult

None

Must be an Illinois resident of 6 months

Indiana Requirements

None

None

None

Iowa Requirements

Must be an adult for single parent adoption

None

None

Kansas Requirements

Adult

None

None

Kentucky Requirements

Must be at least 18 years old, or…

None

… a resident of Kentucky of at least 12 months

Louisiana Requirements

Must be at least 18 years old to adopt as a single parent

None

None

Maine Requirements

None

None

None

Maryland Requirements

Adult

None

None

Massachusetts Requirements

Adult

None

None

Michigan Requirements

None

None

None

Minnesota Requirements

None

None

Must be a Minnesota resident of 12 months

Mississippi Requirements

Must be an adult for single parent adoption

Adoption by couples of the same gender is prohibited

Must be a Mississippi resident of 6 months

Missouri Requirements

None

None

None

Montana Requirements

Must be at least 18 years old to adopt as a single parent

None

None

Nebraska Requirements

Adult

None

None

Nevada Requirements

Must be an adult and at least 10 years older than adoptee

None

None

New Hampshire Requirements

Must be an adult for single parent adoption

None

None

New Jersey Requirements

Must be at least 18 years old and 10 years older than adoptee

None

None

New Mexico Requirements

None

None

None

New York Requirements

Adult(s)

None

None

North Carolina Requirements

Adult

None

None

North Dakota Requirements

Must be an adult for single parent adoption

None

None

Ohio Requirements

Must be an adult for single parent adoption

None

None

Oklahoma Requirements

Must be at least 21 years old to adopt jointly or as a single parent

None

None

Oregon Requirements

None

None

Must be an Oregon resident of 6 months

Pennsylvania Requirements

None

None

None

Rhode Island Requirements

Adult

None

None

South Carolina Requirements

None

None

None

South Dakota Requirements

Must be at least 10 years older than adoptee

None

None

Tennessee Requirements

Must be at least 18 years old

None

Must be a Tennessee resident of 6 months

Texas Requirements

Adult

None

None

Utah Requirements

Must be an adult and 10 years older than adoptee

None

None

Vermont Requirements

None

None

None

Virginia Requirements

None

None

None

Washington Requirements

Must be at least 18 years old

None

None

West Virginia Requirements

None

None

None

Wisconsin Requirements

Must be an adult for single parent adoption

None

None

Wyoming Requirements

 

Adult

 

None

 

Must be a Wyoming resident of 60 days


Credit: Child Welfare Information GatewayThis chart is a brief overview of the adoption requirements by the laws of each state and American Adoptions is not responsible for any inaccuracies or legal consequences based on information in this article. 

For updated state adoption requirements, contact a local adoption attorney or American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION, or click the following to receive free adoption information.





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