Date Posted April 24, 2020

Who Can Adopt?

Keith Morrison

Any individual may be adopted. Adoptees can range from an infant being adopted straight from the hospital at birth all the way to an elderly individual being adopted in order to carry out their estate planning needs. While it is fairly simple to understand who can qualify as an adoptee, one of the more complex questions to answer is, “Who can adopt?”

Categories of People Who Can Adopt

The material issue is what classifications of people can adopt. Under Arkansas law, the following individuals can adopt in Arkansas:

  • A married couple can adopt together. After a number of federal court rulings in 2017, adoption by same-sex married couples is now legal in all 50 states.
  • An unmarried adult can adopt. Single parent adoptions have become more common in recent years.
  • The unmarried father or mother of the individual to be adopted can adopt his or her own child. This is sometimes done in order to cut off the rights of the other biological parent.
  • A married individual may adopt without the other spouse joining as a petitioner, if the other spouse is a parent of the individual to be adopted and consents to the adoption. This is usually a stepparent adoption.
  • If an individual and the other spouse are legally separated, then one spouse can adopt.

Race cannot be a factor in an adoption placement. Arkansas adoption laws prohibit an individual from being denied the opportunity to become a foster parent or adoptive parent on the basis of the individual’s race, color, or national origin.

Home Study

Once basic eligibility to adopt exists under the law, the prospective adoptive parent(s) must still be approved for the adoption of a minor to whom they are not closely related. This process is called a home study. Such a study is conducted by a licensed social worker or adoption agency and includes an assessment of many things, including anything that might affect the safety of the minor in the placement.

Documents and information that will be required include a marriage license, birth certificates, current health exams, criminal and child maltreatment history, tax returns and proof of personal finances. In addition, you will be asked questions about the motivation for and attitudes toward adoption and all aspects of the family’s emotional stability.

The adopting couple or individual member of the adoptive household must also have health exams to ensure that there is no condition that would interfere with the safety or parenting of the minor. Similarly, members of the household must also have background checks.

Let Us Help

If you have questions regarding whether you can adopt, or questions about the home study or adoption process, please call us at 479-521-5820 or email to discuss. With offices in Fayetteville and Little Rock, our adoption attorney can assist families throughout the state of Arkansas.

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