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Rhode Island Adoption Laws

What You Need to Know

Becoming familiar with your state laws is essential to any adoption, and Rhode Island is no exception. The laws can vary depending on which type of adoption in Rhode Island you are interested in pursuing, so it can be tricky to know where to start. If you’re ready to talk to one of our adoption specialists, you can contact us today by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or filling out our free online form.

But, if you want to find out more about adoption laws first, the following information should give you a better understanding of adoption in Rhode Island.

Who Can Adopt in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, any adult resident may adopt; a married couple is required to adopt together. Same-sex couples can petition for a joint adoption.

When it comes to foster care, Rhode Island foster parents must be at least 21 years old and be able to provide an approved home study. They will also need to complete the necessary child abuse and criminal background checks.

As a potential adoptive parent, you will need to meet the eligibility requirements of the adoption professional that you are planning to work with, in addition to the requirements of the type of adoption that you wish to pursue — whether that is a domestic, international, or foster care adoption.

For more information on American Adoptions’ eligibility requirements, please contact our counselors at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Home Study Requirements in Rhode Island

No matter what type of adoption you’re interested in pursuing, you will need to complete an adoption home study. This is essentially a process where you will be evaluated on both your emotional readiness for a child and your ability to provide a stable and loving home. If you are a stepparent, or if you are pursuing a relative adoption in Rhode Island, the court may waive your home study requirements.

Just like any state, Rhode Island will have its own home study requirements. This can include:

  • An in-home visit and a home inspection

  • References letters from at least three individuals, two of which must be non-relatives

  • Background checks and clearances

  • Your financial and employment history, which can come from tax returns and pay stubs

  • Your current medical history

During your home study, all family members, including any potential siblings, will take part in an interview. The idea of an interview can cause some adoptive families to worry, but this process is nothing to fear. It is simply a chance for your social worker to get to know your family better. They may ask you about your career, hobbies, any parenting experience that you have, and your goals for adoption.

Your social worker will be there to help educate, guide and support you through this process, so don’t be afraid to bring up any questions or concerns that you have during your in-home visit. 

If you have any additional questions regarding your adoption home study in Rhode Island, you are more than welcome to visit for more information.

What is ICPC, and How Will it Affect My Adoption?

If you are adopting through a national domestic adoption agency, such as American Adoptions, there is a chance that the baby’s birth mother will live in a different state. In this case, you will have to travel across the state line to meet your little one. When you are traveling out of state for an adoption, you will need to comply with the regulations outlined in the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, also known as ICPC

As a part of ICPC, the birth mother’s state of residence and the adoptive family’s state of residence will review each other’s adoption paperwork to make sure that it complies with all state laws and regulations. While your ICPC paperwork is being reviewed, you will need to stay in the birth parent’s state.

While it can be hard to wait, it is important to be as patient as possible until you have been given clearance to take your new family member home. While you are waiting for your approval, you should explore the state that your child was born in, so take advantage of some of the local sights.

The Consent Process in Rhode Island

Before a child can be legally placed for adoption in Rhode Island, consent must be given by the birth parents. Rhode Island law states that the consent for adoption cannot be performed sooner than 15 days after the birth of the child. The consent can be performed by any governmental or child-placing agency in Rhode Island. Unless a petition is filed in court, the termination of parental rights cannot be challenged after 180 days of the court order. After 180 days, the court will deny the challenge of parental rights, unless they find that adoption is not in the best interest of the child.

To learn more about the adoption in Rhode Island with American Adoptions, please call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption specialist.

Please be aware that the content of this article does not serve as legal advice. While American Adoptions has found as much up-to-date information as possible, Rhode Island laws are always subject to change. If you are interested in pursuing an adoption in Rhode Island, it is highly recommended to contact an attorney in your state for more information. 

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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