What do I need to adopt a child in Arkansas? We hear this all the time from families who are hoping to expand through adoption. The truth is that the answer varies depending on what type of adoption you wish to pursue and the professional you choose to help you do it.
To help you learn about the different requirements to adopt a child in Arkansas, then, we’ve split this article into two sections: one that outlines the adoption qualifications for private domestic adoption and one that focuses on the foster care system.
Each state has its own requirements for adopting a child, but as a national agency, American Adoptions has its own set of adoption qualifications that meet all state laws. These include but are not limited to:
“How old do you have to be to adopt in Arkansas?” The state itself doesn’t have an adoption age limit. However, American Adoptions prefers that prospective adoptive parents be between the ages of 22 and 50, although this may depend on the adoption program you choose to pursue, and exceptions may be made.
“Do you have to be married to adopt in Arkansas?” No, the state of Arkansas does not require that a person be married in order to adopt a child. However, to work with our agency, you must have been married for two or more years.
“Can a felon adopt a child in Arkansas?” The answer to this question depends on the nature of the felony. If it was a violent crime that involved abuse or neglect of a child, you will most likely not be able to adopt. This does not mean, however, that having a felony bars you from adopting completely. If the felony was non-violent, a social worker will determine your eligibility to adopt on a case-by-case basis. He or she will want to speak to you about the crime to understand what happened and why in addition to whether or not you learned from the experience.
Have you moved on from infertility? Many couples come to adoption after a painful struggle with infertility treatments. If this is the case for you, make sure you have grieved this loss completely. You’re not ready to pursue adoption if you’re still set on the idea of somehow having a child biologically.
Are both spouses fully committed to growing the family through adoption?
Are you ready to handle the highs and lows that come with adoption? The adoption process is an emotional rollercoaster; it’s not easy. You’ll need to trust your adoption professional to help you navigate it.
Of course, these are not the only requirements to adopt a child in Arkansas with American Adoptions. To speak with an adoption specialist who will be able to go over additional requirements for adoption with you, call 1-800-ADOPTION.
If you’re more interested in becoming a foster parent or adopting from the foster care system, there are different Arkansas requirements for adoption. To get involved with the foster system, you must:
Be at least 21 years old
Have no more than a 45-year age difference between you and the child you wish to adopt
Not have a health condition or disability that would make it difficult to parent a child
Complete a physical exam
Have a healthy, safe home with at least 50 square feet of space per occupant in each bedroom
Keep any firearms locked away and stored separately from ammunition
Be able to provide children of opposite sexes with their own separate bedrooms if the kids are 4 years old or older
Not smoke in front of children or permit others to do so
Have sufficient resources to meet a child’s needs without relying solely on financial assistance from the government
Pass a background check
Complete CPR, Standard First Aid certification, and 30 hours of pre-service training
The emotional requirements for adopting a child from foster care are, of course, the same as if you were adopting a baby through private domestic adoption. If you aren’t completely finished grieving infertility, or if you have significant doubts, don’t rush the process.
If you’re more interested in adopting internationally, there are separate requirements to adopt a child from another country. You should check the U.S. Department of State’s website to learn about the area you’re interested in adopting from.
For more information about adoption, or to speak with a social worker about whether or not you’re truly ready to take that step, call 1-800-ADOPTION, or request free information here.
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