Adoption is a common practice in the United States. About 135,000 children are adopted every year, and the number is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. But what exactly does adoption entail? What is the legal framework that guides adoption specifically in New York?
An adoption occurs when one or two individuals (usually couples) take a child belonging to someone else to be their own. When you decide to adopt a child legally in New York, you will have all the responsibilities and rights biological parents have. The child, on the other hand, will have all the rights he would have had if he had been raised by his biological parents. Once you complete the adoption process, the child adopted will be provided with a new birth certificate with his last name the same as yours.
According to the domestic relations laws of New York, a single individual, intimate couples or married people are allowed to adopt a child. The adoption can be done in a private placement, regardless of the type of person who wants to adopt. If you want to adopt a child in New York, it is advisable you talk to an experienced family lawyer to know about your rights.
Types of Adoption in New York
There are different categories of adoption that are allowed in New York. These include agency adoption and private placement adoptions. The state officials closely monitor every category of adoption to ensure all the guidelines are followed.
In agency adoption, the child to be adopted is under the care of the state or a private agency licensed by the state. Children found in adoption agencies are there because of the decision of their parents or as a result of a court order due to a family dispute, neglect or violence.
The private placement adoption does not involve the state or agencies. Instead, it occurs due to private arrangements between the biological parents of the child and the adopting parents. The process may go beyond the parents and involve other family members. In order for a private placement to be valid, the adopting parents must obtain a permit or certificate from the court indicating that both parties agreed to the adoption terms. If the child already lives with the adopting parents, then they must apply for certification while they continue with the process of filing the petition for adoption.
Giving Notice of Adoption in New York
The New York adoption laws require the adopting parents to give a notice to everyone who might be entitled to information about the pending adoption. These may include the person the mother was married to, anyone who has filed an acknowledgement of paternity, the father of the child, anyone who intends to file an acknowledgement of paternity and guardian. In case the mother of the child was married to someone, a notice should only be given if the marriage lasted within six months before the child was born.
Once the adopting parents have given a notice and met all the requirements, the court will order for further investigations if the adoption involves private placement. The court usually hires someone who a strong background knowledge of adoption and child welfare. In most cases, psychologists and child welfare social workers are hired. The investigators will look into the family history of the adopting parents, their financial capability and criminal history and compile a comprehensive report. The report will be presented to the judges who will then carefully weight in several factors and look at the issues raised before giving their final judgement.
The Adoption Process
The process of adopting a child is time consuming and tiresome. There is a lot of paperwork involved. As part of the process, you will have to get a social worker to come and conduct a home study. You will then be required to give your fingerprints for further background check.
In an adoption agency, all the costs of adoption are taken care of by the state government. However, in private placement, the adopting parents will incur all the costs. These costs must be highlighted in the adoption documents and presented before the judges. They include the fees charged by the private agency, expenses to cover the cost of child birth and legal fees.
Adoption petitions can be filed in the Surrogates Court or New York Family Court. The petition should contain the names of the adopting parents, their home address, contact, religious inclinations, ages and marital status. Some background information on the child must also be provided, including any medical conditions during birth and thereafter and any hereditary illnesses.
Get a Family Lawyer
Handling a divorce is an overwhelming experience. You need to get an experienced New York family lawyer to help you out. A lawyer will help you navigate the complex legal process associated with adoption and ensure everything works in your favor. You should hire a lawyer even if you want to adopt through private placement.