How to Adopt a Child in South Carolina
For those who are learning how to adopt a child in South Carolina, the following guide will help you to better understand the process of adoption in South Carolina and whether adopting a child is the right path for your family.
Remember, you can always reach out to an adoption specialist at American Adoptions by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or request more information online.
Step 1: Choose Adoption
While the South Carolina child adoption process is the right family-building option for many, it’s not the right one for everyone.
Educating yourself about the unique challenges and benefits of adoption in South Carolina should be your first task in deciding whether or not pursuing adoption is right for you.
Couples considering the newborn adoption process must both be equally and fully committed to adoption before beginning the process of adopting a child in South Carolina. This may include taking steps to resolve lingering emotional issues from infertility, or releasing the dream of having a biological child before you can fully focus on the dream of completing the SC child adoption process.
Step 2: Choose Which Type of South Carolina Adoption is Right for You
If you’ve decided that you’re ready for adoption, you’ll need to determine which type of South Carolina adoption is right for your family, as the different types of adoption have different adoption requirements and different child adoption processes.
The three ways to adopt South Carolina kids that most families choose are:
Domestic agency adoption
Domestic adoption agencies like American Adoptions focus on the adoption of infants within the United States.
National adoption agencies are able to provide all the services needed to begin the process to adopt a child in South Carolina, and are also able to work with birth and adoptive parents in S.C. and throughout the U.S. Smaller local agencies, on the other hand, are limited to their immediate region.
Foster care adoption
While most children who enter foster care in South Carolina will be reunited with their biological family, 25 percent will eventually become eligible for foster care adoption. These children are often part of sibling group that they wish to be adopted with, are older, or have additional needs.
Depending on the country you adopt a child from and the South Carolina international adoption agency you work with, there will be different requirements, restrictions and costs to consider when adopting a child internationally.
Step 3: Choose Which South Carolina Adoption Professional You Should Work With
In most cases, it’s recommended that you work with a trusted licensed adoption professional rather than attempting to complete parts of an adoption on your own. This is for everyone’s safety: yours, the expectant parents’, and most importantly, the protection of children.
Here are some tips that can help you choose which agency should complete your adoption in South Carolina:
Don’t choose a S.C. adoption professional solely because they claim to have lower cost. Different agencies offer different levels of services and protection, meaning cheaper agencies often cut corners that put your adoption at risk.
Only licensed adoption agencies, the Department of Social Services, or attorneys may advertise regarding the adoption of children in South Carolina, making independent adoptions even more challenging.
Searching for an adoption in South Carolina without a professional agency to provide you with their experience and protection puts you at risk for adoption fraud and related financial loss.
Choose an adoption professional that can provide the services you need and that makes you feel comfortable with the adoption process. National adoption agencies like American Adoptions tend to provide the most robust adoption services in South Carolina and can offer minimal adoption wait times, lower financial risk and other benefits.
Continue to educate yourself about the different types of South Carolina adoption professionals, including their pros and cons, services and costs. Doing so will give you the information you need to make a fully informed decision about which route is best for your adoption.
Step 4: Become a “Waiting Family” in South Carolina
To become an active waiting family in the South Carolina adoption process, you will need to complete some paperwork! For adoptive parents with American Adoptions, this means filling out an Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ), making an adoption profile, undergoing the South Carolina adoption home study and more.
Once all of those steps have been completed and you’ve been approved to adopt in South Carolina, your adoption profile will be able to be viewed by expectant mothers who are looking for adoptive parents.
Step 5: Enter Into an Adoption Opportunity with Expectant Parents
Once your adoption profile begins being shown to expectant parents, it may take a few weeks or a few months for you to enter into an adoption opportunity with an expectant parent who has chosen you.
Adoption wait times vary depending on a number of variables. Wait times are most affected by an adoptive couple’s openness to a wide range of potential birth mothers, post-placement communication with birth family, and of course, the individual preferences that an expectant mother has when looking for prospective parents for her child.
For 75 percent of people who adopt through American Adoptions, they’re placed with a child within 1 to 12 months after their adoption profile becomes active on our website.
Step 6: Finalize Your Adoption in South Carolina
Consent to an adoption in South Carolina may be given by a baby’s biological parents at any time after his or her birth, and must be given in the form of a sworn document signed in the presence of two witnesses, one of whom must be the birth parent’s attorney (and must not also represent the adoptive parents), or a judge of any family court.
American Adoptions provides birth and adoptive parents with their own legal representation, so an expectant mother’s attorney can talk her through the full adoption consent process prior to signing consent paperwork.
If you’re adopting a child outside of South Carolina, as many adoptive parents who work with a national adoption agency like American Adoptions ultimately will, you must adhere to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) laws before you can return home to South Carolina with your baby. If you adopt a child in South Carolina and also reside within the state, then ICPC will not be required for your adoption. Parents who adopt a child across state lines must always comply with ICPC, including out-of-state parents who adopt a child born in S.C.
Once you’ve returned home, you’ll need to complete the required post-placement visits before the final legal step of adoption finalization can occur.
Adoption finalization hearings are scheduled several months after your child’s placement and will occur at your local family court, which holds jurisdiction for all adoption matters within the state of South Carolina. An adoption finalization grants you your legal parental rights with a final adoption decree and legally completes the South Carolina adoption process.
Step 7: Continue Your Adoption Journey for Life
Although adoption finalization is the final legal step of adoption in South Carolina, the journey of how to adopt a child in South Carolina is one that continues for a lifetime for everyone involved.
Studies have shown that open adoptions are highly beneficial for everyone involved in an adoption, particularly the adoptee, and American Adoptions encourages open adoptions whenever situations allow. An open adoption in South Carolina means that birth and adoptive families maintain direct contact throughout the adoptee’s life, and the two parties can have whatever kind of post-adoption relationship everyone feels happy with.
Want to learn more about every step in our agency's process of how to adopt a baby in South Carolina? Call 1-800-ADOPTION to talk to an adoption specialist now, or request free South Carolina adoption information online.
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