How to Adopt a Baby in Arizona
7 Steps to a Successful AZ Adoption
Adopting a baby is an amazing, life-changing journey. It is also, at times, an overwhelming one. If you want to adopt a baby in Arizona, but don’t know where to start, we are here to help. Most hopeful parents in your position begin with a lot of questions. This guide will leave you with some of the most important answers.
Of course, if you have more questions about adoption with our agency that aren’t answered here, or if you are ready to begin your journey to adopt a child in Arizona now, you can always reach us at 1-800-ADOPTION or request more free information online.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about how to adopt a baby in Arizona.
Step 1: Decide if You Are Ready to Commit to Adoption
There are many ways to become a family, and the Arizona adoption process is one of them. However, it is not the right family-building option for everyone.
Adopting an infant is a major commitment that will require a lot of work, patience and perseverance. Before you begin the process to adopt a baby in Arizona, take time to explore your options, learn more about this journey and be certain this is something you’re ready to pursue.
Adoptive parents may have already faced loss and disappointment due to complications with infertility, and it’s important to acknowledge and work through any lingering feelings of grief and loss before moving forward. Other hopeful parents come to adoption out of a sense of calling, or simply a strong belief that adoption is the right way to grow their family. Regardless of the circumstances, you need to be clear on your motivations and confident in your decision before you can adopt a newborn in Arizona.
Step 2: Understand Your Options and Requirements to Adopt a Child in Arizona
Once you’ve committed to adopting a child in Arizona, the next step in the process is to decide which type of adoption you want to pursue. While our agency specializes in the domestic placement of infants across the U.S., there are three main ways to adopt children in Arizona:
Domestic Infant Adoption
Families who are specifically looking to adopt a baby in Arizona (or another state in the U.S.) should work with a private agency to complete a domestic infant adoption. Domestic adoption agencies provide all the services you will need to adopt a newborn in Arizona. This includes professional counseling for prospective birth parents and adoptive parents, screening services and help finding an adoption opportunity, home study services and more. American Adoptions is just such an agency in Arizona. Working with a full-service agency like American Adoptions gives you the ability to work with one adoption professional to complete all steps necessary for an infant adoption in Arizona.
Children of all ages can be adopted internationally. If you are comfortable adopting an older child from another culture, this can be a good option. Regulations and costs vary based on the country you choose to adopt from, as well as which international adoption agency you choose to work with. Families adopting internationally should be prepared to provide their child with connections to their ethnic and cultural heritage. Read more about international adoption in Arizona here.
Adoption from Foster Care
The primary goal for children placed in Arizona’s foster care system is to be reunited with their biological family. However, about 22 percent of children in foster care become eligible for adoption in Arizona. Many of these children are older, part of a sibling group, or have additional needs. If you are comfortable adopting children with “special needs”, foster-to-adopt may be something to consider. Learn more about foster care and adoption in Arizona here.
Step 3: Choose Your Adoption Professional
This may be the most important decision you make during the entire process. Your adoption professional will define the quality of adoption experience you’ll have. It is essential you do research and ask questions before choosing this professional.
Some things to consider:
Do not compare adoption professionals solely by price. Agencies offer varying levels of services and financial safety, so choosing a less expensive agency may not provide you the same quality of service. This could put you at risk financially and emotionally. Instead, ask the professionals you’re considering detailed questions about their fee structures and the services included in those fees to get a true value comparison.
Pursuing adoption without an agency in Arizona may put you at risk for adoption scams and financial loss. The experience of an adoption specialist will protect you from these occurrences.
Ask questions of other families who have used the adoption agency before. Talk to several families about their experience with the adoption professional.
The most common types of adoption professionals include:
These professionals are entirely illegal in Arizona and several other states due to their predatory practices. Be wary of any unlicensed company or individual claiming to provide adoption services and stick to Arizona-licensed agencies (like American Adoptions) to avoid the possibility of unknowingly working with a facilitator.
Adoption Law Firms
These groups of adoption attorneys may assist and participate in direct adoption placements and may receive compensation as deemed reasonable by the Arizona courts. An attorney is required in every adoption to provide the necessary legal services, and families who work with an adoption agency will be referred to a trusted local attorney. However, some adoptive parents may choose to work solely with an attorney to complete their child adoption in Arizona (especially if they have already found an adoption opportunity on their own); this is known as an independent adoption.
Adoption Law Centers
Adoption law centers should not be confused with adoption law firms. These centers are usually not reviewed regularly, and may not be properly certified. They generally operate in a manner similar to adoption facilitators, which are not legal in Arizona. This could put birth and adoptive families at risk.
Local Adoption Agencies
These organizations are licensed and regulated by the state of Arizona and typically serve birth families and adoptive families that reside within the area. Local adoption agencies can often provide all the services needed for a baby adoption in Arizona and are much safer to work with than a law center or facilitator. This type of professional might also allow for more in-person meetings throughout the process. However, because of their limited geographic reach, their wait times can sometimes be long. They also tend to have a small staff of employees, which can mean they don’t offer as many adoption services or as much round-the-clock availability as larger, national agencies.
National Adoption Agencies
These agencies are licensed, reviewed and regulated by multiple states, which means their files are reviewed by those states’ licensing authorities several times annually. As a result, these agencies are effectively held to the highest standard of any adoption professional, which creates an added layer of protection for their clients. National adoption agencies work with birth and adoptive families across all 50 states, often resulting in more adoption opportunities and lower wait times. And, because of their scope and size, they are often able to provide additional services not found at smaller adoption professionals, such as financial protection for adoptive parents and 24/7 availability to prospective birth mothers.
American Adoptions is just such an agency, with the added benefit of being licensed specifically in Arizona (among several other states). This means our staff is well-versed in local adoption laws and processes and can provide every service you’ll need to adopt a newborn baby in Arizona.
It is important to learn about all aspects of the different Arizona adoption professionals in order to make the best decision for your family.
Step 4: Become a Waiting Adoptive Family
Once you have determined what type of adoption you’d like to pursue, you can begin to envision how you’d like your adoption to proceed. When you work with American Adoptions in Arizona, you will complete an Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ) so you can be connected with expectant mothers who have the same goals for their adoption. This will outline your preferences for things like your child’s medical history, racial background and more, and will determine which adoption opportunities your profile will be shown for.
In addition to filling out paperwork, you will create an adoptive family profile for expectant mothers to view. You will also complete your Arizona adoption home study, participate in newborn adoption training classes for the state of Arizona, and more.
Step 5: Find an Adoption Opportunity
Finding an infant adoption opportunity with a prospective birth mother is one of the most important and exciting parts of the adoption process. Once you have gone “active” as a waiting adoptive family, entering into an opportunity can take a few weeks or a few months. A variety of factors can influence your adoption wait time, but it is ultimately up to each prospective birth mother to pick the family she wants to adopt her child.
When you work with a national agency like American Adoptions, you might be selected for an adoption opportunity in Arizona or somewhere across the country. The prospective birth mother might choose you to be her baby’s parents during her pregnancy or shortly after the baby is born — every situation is different, and “the call” could come at any time. That’s what makes adopting a newborn so exciting!
Once a family has been selected for an adoption opportunity, the prospective birth mother and adoptive parents will get to know each other to whatever extent both parties want. American Adoption specialists can help facilitate the communication between the two families. This will help ease awkwardness and hopefully build a strong relationship to last a lifetime.
Step 6: Legally Finalize Your Adoption
When it is time for your baby to be born, your adoption specialist will notify you to travel to the prospective birth mother’s hospital. Depending on your relationship with her, this might be an opportunity for you all to meet in person and spend time together before she and the baby are discharged.
In Arizona, the prospective birth mother must wait at least 72 hours after the birth of the child to give her consent to adoption. The consent must be in writing and witnessed by two people who are at least 18 years of age. Upon signing, the birth mother’s parental rights are terminated, and her consent is irrevocable.
If you are adopting a child born outside of Arizona, you will need to follow the consent laws of that state, as well as the travel guidelines established by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). You may be required to stay in your baby’s birth state for up to a few weeks while you wait for ICPC clearances. (ICPC will not affect you if you adopt a child in Arizona).
After placement, your Arizona home study professional will arrange to come back for the post-placement in-home visits that must occur before your adoption is finalized in court. Your home study worker will visit within 30 days of placement, then once every three months until the adoption is finalized. This is to ensure that everyone is adjusting well to the new family arrangement.
An adoption finalization hearing will be scheduled approximately six months after the initial placement of your child. This will take place in Arizona Superior Court, and your adoption attorney will attend with you. This is when the judge reviews your adoption and officially gives you parental rights.
Read more about how to finalize your adoption in Arizona here.
Step 7: Adapt to Post-Placement Life
Once your Arizona child adoption is finalized, the lifelong journey for your family and the birth family is just beginning. Whenever possible, open adoptions are always encouraged, as studies show there are many benefits to be gained by everyone involved, especially the adopted child.
The amount of communication between birth and adoptive families varies depending on what was established in the adoption plan. This can be in the form of letters, emails, calls or visits. The frequency may be often or occasional. It is up to the parties involved. If needed, American Adoptions will continue to facilitate post-placement contact for 18 years following your adoption.
For adoptive families, this is the time to help your child understand that their adoption is a wonderful part of their history, and they should feel free to ask any questions they may have. Adoptive families can also find ways to incorporate their child’s heritage into their lives and celebrate their identity.
Are you ready to begin the process to adopt Arizona kids with our agency? Call 1-800-ADOPTION now to speak with an adoption specialist, or request more free information online.
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