How to Adopt a Baby in Arizona
What You Need to Know About Adopting in Arizona
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 way for everyone.
While all parents face similar highs and lows, each family is unique, with its own set of ups and downs. Adopting a baby in Arizona brings a whole new set of challenges that biological parents won’t have. However, the end result is the same in both situations — you get to raise and love a child.
Before you begin the process to adopt a baby in Arizona, you need to be certain this is something you’re ready to pursue.
Adoptive parents may have already faced loss and disappointment due to complications with infertility. They may have jealousy toward others who can have a baby biologically. Regardless of the circumstances, you need to have your feelings acknowledged and addressed before taking on the stress of the adoption process.
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 adoption process is to decide which type of adoption you want to pursue. While American Adoptions specializes in the domestic adoption of infants across the U.S., there are three main ways to adopt children in Arizona:
Domestic Agency Adoption
U.S. adoption agencies (also known as domestic adoption agencies) provide all the services you will need to adopt a newborn in Arizona. This includes professional counseling for birth parents and adoptive parents, financial protection for adoptive parents, and home study services. 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 within the United States.
Children of all ages can be adopted internationally. If you are comfortable adopting an older child, this is 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 in Arizona. 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.
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.
3. Choose Your Adoption Professional
This may be the most important decision you make during the adoption 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 an adoption professional in Arizona.
Some things to consider:
Do not compare adoption professionals 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.
Pursuing adoption without an agency in Arizona may put you in jeopardy of adoption fraud and financial loss. The experience of an adoption specialist will protect you from this occurrence.
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 other states, due to their predatory practices.
Adoption law firms
This group of adoption attorneys may assist and participate in direct adoption placements and may receive compensation as deemed reasonable by the Arizona courts. An attorney may not be involved in the choice of a specific adopting parent. Before the adoption petition is granted, the assisting attorney must file an affidavit stating that there has been compliance with these requirements.
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. This could put birth and adoptive families at risk.
Local/regional adoption agencies
These organizations are licensed and regulated by the state of Arizona. The may have a smaller staff that works with birth families and adoptive families that reside within the area. This may make for longer wait times for Arizona kids adoption, but does allow for more in-person interaction.
National adoption agencies
These agencies are licensed, reviewed and regulated by the state of Arizona and often several other states. They work with birth and adoptive families across all 50 states. Often these agencies have a shorter wait time for adopting an infant and lower financial risk. American Adoptions is an example of just such an agency.
It is important to learn about all aspects of the different Arizona adoption professionals in order to make the best decision for your family.
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.
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.
5. Find an Adoption Opportunity
Finding an Arizona infant adoption opportunity with a birth mother is one of the most important and emotional parts of the adoption process. Entering into an opportunity through private domestic adoption can take a few weeks or a few months after expectant parents view your adoption profile. A variety of factors are considered when matching birth mothers and potential adoptive families.
Once a match is made, the birth parents and the prospective adoptive family 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.
6. Legally Finalize Your Adoption
In Arizona, the birth mother must wait at least 72 hours after the birth of the child to give 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 outside of Arizona, you will need to follow the travel guidelines established by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). This 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 Arizona adoption specialist 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 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.
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. 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? Call 1-800-ADOPTION now.
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