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Adoption Requirements in South Dakota

What Do I Need to Adopt a Child in South Dakota?

The requirements for adopting a child in South Dakota will vary depending on what type of adoption you choose to pursue. The steps you need to complete will change whether you are pursuing a domestic infant adoption with American Adoptions, an international adoption or an adoption through foster care.

Because every adoption is different, contact one of our adoption specialists at 1-800-ADOPTION for any questions on how to adopt a baby in South Dakota with our agency.

In the meantime, here are a few of the common questions prospective adoptive families have about the requirements to adopt a child in South Dakota.

Do you have to be married to adopt in SD?

There are no marriage requirements for those wishing to complete a domestic adoption in South Dakota. If you are married and interested in pursuing a domestic adoption, you must have the consent of your spouse. The only exception is if you are legally separated.

In South Dakota, single individuals may petition to adopt. Married LGBT couples and singles are also able to adopt.

How old do you have to be to adopt in South Dakota?

The only South Dakota adoption age requirement is that the adult person must be at least 10 years older than the child they wish to adopt. If you are pursuing an adoption through foster care, you will need to be at least 21 years old.

What are the SD adoption requirements for adopting a child through American Adoptions?

There are two different programs when adopting through American Adoptions — agency-assisted and identified. The type of program that you choose will depend on what child you wish to adopt. The requirements to adopt a child in South Dakota through each program include:

  • Agency-Assisted: Most adoptive parents who work with our agency choose our agency-assisted path. This means they receive agency guidance from start to finish, with a personal adoption specialist who will manage every detail of their case. As a licensed, national agency, American Adoptions can take care of every service in your adoption journey. Most families wait an average of 12 months for placement. You must be at least 25 years old, and the adoption age limit for this program is 50 years old. 

  • Identified Adoption Program: This program is for adoptive families and potential birth mothers who have already connected with one another and committed to an adoption. American Adoptions can help support the adoptive family and prospective birth mother with legal assistance, 24/7 counseling and any additional support needed to finalize an adoption.

American Adoptions does make exceptions to our requirements to adopt on a case-by-case basis. If you would like to pursue an adoption even if you don’t meet the qualifications to adopt a child in South Dakota, an adoption specialist will be able to review your case and give you more information on the exception process.

What do I need to adopt a child in South Dakota, and how hard is it to adopt a child?

In addition to the legal requirements needed to adopt a child in South Dakota, your adoption agency will also be looking for the following:

  • Health: In addition to your required documents, your home study provider will require that you have recent medical statements that prove you are physically and mentally ready to care for a newborn.

  • Finances:  You don’t need to be the richest person in the world or own your home to adopt a child. But, you will need to show that you are able to take care of the newest member of your family. You may be asked to provide proof of income via tax returns or pay stubs.

  • Emotional Readiness: Adoption is an exciting journey, and while the end is always worthwhile, there will be a lot to consider beforehand. Emotional readiness requires you to be fully committed and excited about adoption, have the same goals for adoption as your spouse, and more. The best resource for determining your emotional readiness is by talking with your adoption specialist. They will be able to discuss the process with you and provide any educational resources you may need.

If you are ready to begin the adoption process, or if you would like to learn more about our agency's adoption qualifications in South Dakota, please call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time for more information.

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