Adopting a child can be a rewarding and joyful event. A celebration is often in order at the end of what can be a grueling and overwhelming process. There are myriad laws that must be followed to be sure that when the final order is issued. Once your name is on your child’s birth certificate as the legal parent or parents, all of your lives will proceed as though the child has always biologically belonged to you.
Who is eligible to be an adoptive parent under Oklahoma law?Under Oklahoma law, an adoptive parent must be at least 21 years old and fit in one of the following categories:
Different types of adoption
The legal procedure for adoption is slightly different depending on the child you want to adopt. Some of the most common examples are:
The role of an attorney in all adoptive situations is to be sure all legal requirements are met and to make the process go as smoothly and expeditiously as possible.
Termination of parental rights
Before any adoption process can begin, the legal rights of the biological or legal parent must be terminated. This can be done either by consent of both biological parents or by just one in certain circumstances. In some cases, the state may terminate parental rights through a court process where the parent or parents are deemed to be unfit parents.
Overview of the actual legal process
The process is not an easy one, it may take several months and there is “red tape” which has to be dealt with. Some requirements are:
The home study reporter must include at least one face-to-face interview with each prospective parent and one joint interview. The reviewer must also interview each school-age child and any other person living in the home. The reviewer must have made at least one home visit to verify it is a safe environment. Additionally, all information provided by the applicants must be verified, such as employment, income and health.
What personal requirements must be met?
The primary qualification for adopting is that you want to parent and love the child. You may have other children. You do not have to own your home as long as you have space and a safe place for the child to sleep. You do not have to make a lot of money and, in fact, most adoptive parents have every day jobs.
Other than being the age 21 and over, there are no specific age requirements. If you are in good health and it seems likely you will be able to be involved with your school-age children and their activities, and will be able to care for them until they reach adulthood, you may qualify.
What does the adoption process cost?
The only out-of-pocket expenses you will have in order to meet the DHS requirements are the cost of the required medical exams for your family. An attorney’s fees, which provide assistance with the bureaucracy in order to simplify and expedite the process, are usually determined on an individual basis. To begin your future as a parent of an adopted child, consulting with an adoption attorney will ease the process, keep you informed every step of the way, and give all of you the best start possible as you begin your new life together.