If you are considering adoption and reside in Indiana, you may be wondering about the requirements and laws associated with Indiana adoption. In general, adoption law can be divided into three segments, which include the laws and requirements for adoptive parents to be considered eligible to adopt, the laws and that involve a birthparent placing a child for adoption, and the laws that dictate when an adoption may be finalized. In the United States, all laws are determined by the states. There is no one set of federal adoption laws concerning domestic adoption, and each state has its own adoption laws. As an Indiana resident, you’ll want to work with an adoption agency or attorney who is very familiar with Indiana adoption laws and policies. These legal guidelines for families adopting in Indiana apply whether you’re adopting a newborn through domestic adoption, an infant or older child from U.S. foster care adoption, or a child through international adoption. Here is an overview of the laws and requirements specifically governing Indiana adoption.
Who Qualifies to Adopt in Indiana?
In Indiana adoptions, single individuals and married couples are both eligible. LGBT individuals and couples are also permitted to adopt. Prospective adoptive parents must have a home study and background checks done, which include criminal, child abuse, FBI fingerprint, and sexual offender checks. Indiana has a residency requirement, which means that only residents of Indiana may file a petition to adopt in Indiana. Non-residents of Indiana may adopt a child born in Indiana, but the adoption must be filed in their state of residence. There are no age requirements and no requirements for how long you must be married before you can adopt. The Indiana adoption requirements are very favorable for adoptive parents.
What Is a Home Study?
The home study is an area that many new prospective adoptive parents worry a great deal about. They worry that in order to pass the home study, their home needs to be pristine and perfect, but this isn’t the case. The home study’s primary purpose is to make sure your home is safe for any child that might reside there. It also helps the social worker get to know you and your family better. They can help you in deciding what type of adoption to pursue, what special needs you would be able to accommodate, and how many children you could consider adopting at once. If you are adopting through the foster care system, for example, if you are open to the idea, you could end up adopting a sibling group. Your home study social worker is your ally in this process. They are not looking to disqualify people for having a home that looks like most homes do—like someone lives there! In fact, they can be a great source of support throughout the process and provide you with valuable information and insight as you complete your adoption.
What are the Laws Affecting the Placement of a Child?
In an Indiana adoption, the birth mother (in a domestic infant adoption), can consent to the placement of her child any time after birth. If there is an identified birth father, he can consent to waive his rights prior to or after the child’s birth. There is a 30-day revocation period in Indiana. This means that the birth parents have 30 days after signing their intent to place, known as the termination of parental rights (TPR), to inform the court if they wish to revoke their placement and the termination of their rights. They have to inform the court in writing via an attorney and then attend a court hearing where they must prove that it is in the child’s best interest to be returned to them.
When and How Can The Adoption Be Finalized?
The Indiana adoption finalization hearing is the last step you will need to complete to formally finalize your adoption. The hearing is a court appearance before a local judge in the county where you have filed your petition for adoption. This hearing normally takes 30 minutes to an hour and is designed to demonstrate that the adoptive parents are a good fit for their child. Generally, these hearings are more ceremonial and celebratory, and your attorney can prepare you easily for how to answer the few questions the judge will ask of you. In an open adoption, sometimes birth family will also attend this court hearing. After finalization, many families take the opportunity to have a gathering that is a celebration of their new family member becoming a permanent addition to their family.
In examining the requirements and laws for Indiana Adoption, it appears the requirements and laws give both birth parents and adoptive parents reasonable treatment. They are non-discriminatory and allow all kinds of families to pursue adoption, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. The home study and pre-adoption requirements are fairly consistent with other states, and adoptions can be finalized rather quickly, which is in the adoptive parents’ best interest. Overall, Indiana can be seen as a relatively adoption-friendly state. If you are interested in adopting in Indiana, your first step would be to decide if you wish to adopt privately (through an agency or attorney) or through foster care.