Review of Qualification Requirements for Prospective Adoptive Parents, pg 2

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Examples of Areas Under Scrutiny

In general terms, some of the factors that will be considered as part of the evaluation process (homestudy) that adopters will undergo when they seek to adopt will be the following, which focus on determining if a child placed with these parents will be in a safe and stable environment, with loving and supportive parents who will be available to parent and nurture the child:

Marital Status: Generally, it will be easier for you to adopt if you are married than if you are single. This is more of a practical consideration than it is a legal one, because one of the predominant reasons that many parents give for wanting to place their children for adoption is that they feel as single parents, they will not be able to give their children the attention, care and opportunities that it could have if it were raised in a two-parent family. So even though single parents are some of the hardest working people in the world, if birthparents feel it is important for their children to be placed in two-parent families, that is what will happen.

Length of Marriage: If an adopting parent is married, a minimum of a three year marriage is a common requirement.

Previous Marriages: Generally, divorced persons are legally permitted to adopt. From a practical point of view, this will generally not be a problem as long as the current marriage is stable and the current spouse is supportive and also eager to adopt.

Age of Adoptive Parents: The minimum legal age for adoptive parents is generally 18 years of age. The upper age limit that is used by most agencies is 40 years old, although some agencies will now consider adoptive parents who are older. In most situations, there will be a requirement that the adopting parents must be at least 20 years older than the child they are seeking to adopt, although there will always be exceptions to these rules under certain circumstances.

There is also a general rule of thumb that there should be an age differential of no more than 40 years between the child and the adoptive parents, although exceptions may be made if the adopters are very active and healthy. The rationale behind this is that one of the most trying times in the life of an adopted child can often be the teen years, when identity struggles tend to emerge. It is thought by many agencies that at this time in a child's life, the child will especially need the help of healthy, involved, and active parents, who will still have enough energy left to accommodate the physical and emotional needs of the child. It is also the feeling of some birthparents that they don't want their child adopted by someone who looks and acts like their own parents, because it feels like they are jumping a generation for the child. On the other hand, some mothers actually value wisdom and experience in adoptive parents, and may actually prefer a more mature couple to adopt their child, especially if the birthmother has already been involved in the parenting process herself and appreciates what it takes to be a good parent.

Maximum Age Exceptions for International Adoptions: In many foreign countries where children are available for adoption, age and maturity are often considered sought-after virtues in adopting parents, rather than an impediment to an adoption. I these situations, more mature adoptive parents may actually have an advantage over younger and less experienced adopters.

Health Issues: The health of the adopting parents must be good. Some agencies will have rules that prevent adoption by those who are obese or underweight, although there are also exceptions to this rule. The primary reason for this is that agencies consider that adopted children need an opportunity to be able to grow to maturity with both of their parents around, since the premature loss of a parent will be traumatic for any child.

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