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Adoption in Alaska

Adoption in AlaskaAdoption in Alaska

Are you an Alaska resident looking to adopt or place your child for adoption? Are you unsure of where to begin? We’ve got you covered. The following information will help you navigate the process in Alaska and answer some frequently asked questions about adoption, as well as provide some resources to help guide you along the way.

If you don’t find the information you’re looking for after reading, click here to navigate through the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

What You Need to Know About Giving up your Child for Adoption in Alaska

Making the decision to place your child for adoption can be one of the toughest, but selfless choices you make, but being well-informed about the process may help ease some of your stress. The following information will provide some important factors to think about when considering placing your child for adoption in Alaska.

Who must consent to an Alaska adoption and how does it work?

In Alaska, consent to adoption must be given in writing by the following:

  • The Birth Mom
  • The father, if he was married to the mother when the child was conceived or he is the child’s father by adoption
  • Any person having custody of the child
  • The spouse of the minor being adopted
  • The court having custody of the minor, if the child’s legal guardian is not entitled to consent to the adoption
  • The child being adopted if they are at least 10 years old

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Alaska?

Consent to an Alaskan adoption is not required from the following:

  • A parent whose parental rights have been terminated
  • The parent of an adoptee who is 18 years or older
  • A parent who has abandoned his or her child for 6 months
  • A parent who has surrendered his or her right to consent
  • A parent declared mentally incompetent and unable to consent, by the court
  • A person having custody of the child who has failed to respond to a request for consent within 60 days, or is found to be unreasonably withholding consent
  • The parent of the child who is in the custody of someone else, if he or she has failed to communicate with the child for 1 year
  • The parent of the child who is in the custody of someone else, if he or she has failed to provide care and support for the child for 1 year

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption?

In Alaska, consent can only be revoked before the entry of decree of adoption under the following conditions:

  • By written notice within 10 days of the initial consent being given
  • After the 10-day period, if the court finds the withdrawal is in the child’s best interest

After the final entry of decree of adoption, consent cannot by withdrawn.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process?

The Birth Father of a child is entitled to his parental rights in Alaska if a voluntary acknowledgement is signed by both parents or through a lawsuit if the Birth Mom and Presumed Father cannot agree on the paternity of the child.

What You Need to Know About Adopting a Child in Alaska

Adoption is no easy decision, but it is a life-changing one, so it is important that you understand the process before you begin your journey. Continue reading from more information about the adoption process in Alaska or scroll to the end of the article for a list of adoption agencies to help get you started.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a child in Alaska?

In Alaska, a single person or married couple may petition to adopt a child. In order to be eligible, you must first go through any adoption-related training required by your agency.

How much does it cost to adopt a child?

Alaska adoption expenses may vary depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. International adoption will be different from a domestic adoption, and adoption from a private agency will be different from a government agency. Regardless of the type of adoption you decide to pursue, here are a few expenses you may need to consider when becoming an Adoptive Parent:

  • Medical expenses for the Birth Mom and child
  • Counseling services
  • Rent for the Birth Mom
  • Travel expenses related to the adoption
  • Legal representation and agency fees

How do you Become a Foster Parent?

In order to become a foster parent in Alaska, you must be at least 21 years old and obtain a foster care license. To get this license, you must:

  • Attend orientation and information sessions
  • Fill out an application
  • Get fingerprinted and pass criminal background checks
  • Complete a home study
  • Attend foster parent training

For more information about the process, click here.

Can You Finalize an International Adoption in Alaska?

In order to adopt a child internationally, the child must be from a country that is a part of the Hague Convention, which is an international agreement that establishes standard adoption practices for inter-country adoptions.

In Alaska, and all other states in the U.S., Prospective Adoptive Parents must meet the State adoption laws in addition to the following Federal adoption requirements:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • If married, your spouse must also be a U.S. Citizen or have legal status and together you must file for adoption
  • Pass criminal background checks, the home study process and fingerprinting
  • If unmarried, be at least 25 years old

Home Study and Post Placement Requirements in Alaska

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

Before adopting a child, a Prospective Adoptive Parent and his or her family must undergo a home study to assess their ability to care for a child and provide a safe, stable home environment. This process will also help determine what kind of adoption is appropriate for the family and what child will fit best within their lifestyle.

In Alaska, the home study process will include and require the following:

  • In-person interviews with each individual living in the home
  • At least one home visit
  • An assessment of the Prospective Parents willingness and readiness for adoption
  • A minimum of 3 written references, 2 of which must come from persons unrelated to the Prospective Parents
  • Each adult living in the home must complete and pass both State and Federal criminal background checks

The following information about the Prospective Parents is also included in the home study:

  • Physical, mental and emotional health status
  • Attitude and practice toward child care and discipline
  • Motivation/Reason for choosing to adopt
  • Financial status and ability to support the child
  • Any personal history of child abuse or neglect from their childhood
  • Quality of relationships with family and friends
  • Attitude of friends and family regarding the adoption
  • Sensitivity to different socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, and ethnic groups

While this process is to ensure that adoption is in the best interest of both the child and family, it is also a time for the family to ask questions, make any necessary adjustments, and prepare for a new member to the family.

Who Oversees a Home Study in Alaska and Who is Included in it?

In Alaska, the home study process and investigation will include all people living in the Prospective Adoptive Home. It will be facilitated by a representative from the Department of Health and Social Services or a court-appointed individual.

Why would my home study not be approved?

In Alaska, the following may be grounds for disapproval of your home study and eligibility to adopt.

  • The Prospective Parent or any other adult living in the home:
    • Has a record of committing a barrier crime
    • Is on the Alaska Sexual Offender Registry
    • Has a severe physical or behavioral problem that may be a risk to the health and safety of the child
    • Has had a previous license to foster or care for a child revoked

What are the home study requirements for adopting a child from another state?

If you are a resident of Alaska, but are presented with the opportunity to adopt a child who was born in another state, you must comply with the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, which is a contract among the states to ensure safe adoptions across state lines.

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions?

In Alaska, a home study is not required for stepparent and relative adoptions, unless otherwise requested by the court.

What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

A post placement assessment is an evaluation of the child’s integration into the adoptive family’s home that takes place before the adoption can be finalized. It is meant to ensure that the child and family were a good fit for adoption. In Alaska, any changes to the family’s health or financial status that may affect the child will be documented during this process.

Alaska Adoption Agencies and Professionals

Going through the adoption process can feel overwhelming at times, but the adoption professionals in Alaska are eager to help you throughout your journey. Whether you are looking to adopt a child or deciding to place your child for adoption, the following agencies are ready to offer you support, advice, and answers to your questions as you pursue the adoption process:

Adoption Network Law Center

1-866-595-9317

Office of Children’s Services

1-800-478-7307

World Association for Children and Parents

(907) 338-7253

Fairbanks Counseling and Adoption

(907) 456-4729

Visit Alaska

Is your adoption journey bringing you to the beautiful, untouched state of Alaska? Here’s a list of some of Last Frontier States’ exciting spots to visit while you await the process:

Glacier Bay National Park

North Lights tour in Fairbanks

National Historic Totem Park in Sitka

Helicopter and Dog Sledding excursion in Juneau

 

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