Adoption by State
Your Complete Guide to Adoption Laws By State
It’s no secret: Adoption can be complicated. But, if you’re searching for adoption information by state, you’ve come to the right place.
American Adoptions is a national adoption agency that works with both prospective birth parents and adoptive families from across the country. That means that our staff are trained in and highly experienced with the different state adoption laws in the U.S. No two adoptions are the same, but we bring the same quality and quantity of adoption expertise into each journey, no matter the circumstances.
To aid you in your research, we’ve created this guide to adoption laws by state. Below, you’ll find a list of states. Find yours, and you can learn all about adoption there — laws, requirements, costs, processes and more.
We are also happy to answer your questions about U.S. adoption laws by state when you contact us online. Please note: None of the information below is intended to be or should be taken as legal advice. If you are interested in what adoption looks like for you, please contact a professional like American Adoptions or an experienced adoption attorney.
Adoption Information By State: Chart Below
Adoption Laws by State: What to Know First
Before we get into the details of adoption regulations by state, there’s some important information every prospective birth parent and adoptive parent should know.
It may surprise you to know that there are only a few federal adoption laws in the United States. Adoption, for the most part, is regulated by individual state laws, which is why adoption across state lines can initially seem overwhelming. However, professionals like American Adoptions have been working with adoption rules by state for years — and we make interstate adoption a simple, easy-to-understand process.
Because adoption is regulated by state adoption policies, adoptive parents and prospective birth parents are best served working with a national agency like American Adoptions. We employ trained professionals across every state of the U.S., and we have the expertise in adoption information by state that other professionals lack.
Whichever U.S. state or territory you live in, our team is happy to help you move forward. Request free information online or call us anytime at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more about your state adoption laws and policies.
Below, read more about adoption in your particular state.
Different Kinds of State Adoption Laws in the U.S.
So, how does adoption differ by state? What are some adoption laws by state to know?
As mentioned, the best resource for adoption information by state will always be a national professional or a local adoption attorney. They can answer your personal questions and provide the guidance you need moving forward.
In the meantime, here are the major adoption regulations by state that will impact your upcoming adoption journey.
1. Adoption Requirements by State
Every state establishes its own set of requirements for who can adopt and who can be adopted. Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 18 years old to adopt in all U.S. states, although some states require adoptive parents to be 21 or 25 before starting this process. Other states require a minimum age gap between the adoptive parents and the child being adopted
Certain states also have rules on whether or not married persons can adopt singly, without their spouse’s consent. Still other states have laws on residency before a parent can adopt a child there. And every state requires an adoptive parent to complete a home study investigation, although how often it must be renewed will vary.
In addition to varying state adoption laws, many adoption professionals set their own requirements to adopt. For example, anyone adopting through American Adoptions must be between 25 and 50 years of age and have been married for a minimum of two years. Read our full agency requirements here.
2. Adoption Relinquishment Laws by State
Just as state laws determine who can adopt and who can be adopted, they also decide who can place a child for adoption and when. As a private domestic infant adoption agency, American Adoptions works with prospective birth parents who voluntarily place their children with different families — but how they go through this process will be slightly different based on where they live.
During adoption, birth mother rights by state will dictate when a woman can give her consent for adoption. Often, she will be required to wait a certain amount of time (at least 36 or 72 hours, for example) after a child’s birth before signing her adoption consent. You can read about adoption waiting periods by state here.
American Adoptions and our network attorneys are knowledgeable in the adoption consent laws by state, and we ensure every prospective birth mother understands those laws prior to moving forward with adoption.
3. Adoption Revocation Period by State
We also ensure every prospective birth mother understands the adoption revocation period by state — that is, her right to change her mind after her adoption consent is signed. This period varies wildly by state; adoption consent in some states is irrevocable, while other states give a birth parent weeks to change their mind after signing their consent.
American Adoptions works closely with prospective birth parents throughout the adoption process to ensure they are making the decision that is best for them. A prospective birth parent is never pressured into adoption, and our specialists provide counseling and support from start to finish to help birth parents process the grief and loss associated with placing a child for adoption.
Whether you are a prospective birth parent or adoptive parent, rest assured that your adoption specialist will make you aware of any adoption revocation periods by state that may apply to your journey.
4. Adoption Assistance by State
There are two kinds of laws regulating adoption assistance by state: birth parent living expenses and adoption subsidies for adoptive parents.
Here at American Adoptions, we are primarily concerned with the former. A prospective birth mother can receive certain financial assistance during her adoption journey. This minimizes the financial stress of adoption and helps her focus on a healthy pregnancy while making this difficult decision. Adoption is always free for a prospective birth mother, and any living expenses received do not obligate her to choose adoption. How much and when she receives adoption assistance will vary based on her state laws.
If you’re interested in information on adoption subsidy by state, please reach out to a foster care professional. They can better explain how adoption subsidy rates by state will impact your foster care adoption costs.
5. Adoption Costs by State
Many parents wonder if there are differences in adoption costs by state. Because living expense laws vary by state, there is the potential for a state’s laws to affect your overall cost of adoption — but your costs will also be heavily dependent on the adoption opportunity you’re presented.
When you work with American Adoptions, you will have the ability to set your own “adoption budget” within our agency range. You will only be presented with adoption opportunities estimated to fall within that budget, so you can do what is financially best for your family.
In short, there’s no single state that’s “cheaper” than others. Instead, your adoption costs will often be determined by the professional you choose to work with and the services they provide. For example, while a full-service agency like American Adoptions may seem to cost more upfront, the level of services we provide before, during and after the process are well worth it.
Learn more about our agency’s cost structure here.
6. Adoption Advertising Laws by State
In order to protect prospective birth and adoptive parents, many states have implemented adoption advertising laws. These regulate exactly who can advertise for adoption situations and how they can do so. Specifically, many states either prohibit or regulate the use of facilitators — unlicensed professionals who only connect prospective birth and adoptive parents with providing any additional services.
Fortunately, when you work with American Adoptions, you can know you’re working with a professional that is licensed and proven to complete ethical and safe adoptions. You’ll also receive cutting edge adoption advertising services, including print and video adoptive parent profiles.
When it comes to knowledge of adoption laws by state, you’ll find the best guidance from the trained team of professionals at American Adoptions. To learn more about adoption in your state and how we can help, please reach out at 1-800-ADOPTION or contact us online anytime.
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