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Adoption in Arizona

Adoption in Arizona

Are you an Arizona 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 Arizona 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 Placing your Child for Adoption in Arizona

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 Arizona.

Who must Consent to an Arizona Adoption and How Does it Work?

Consent may be given, in writing, no sooner than 72 hours after the child’s birth, and it must be given before two witnesses who are at least 18 years old.

Adoption consent in Arizona is required from the following:

  • The Birth Mom
  • The Father if:
    • He was married to the Birth Mom at the time of the child’s conception
    • Has legally established his paternity
    • Is the child’s current Adoptive Father
  • The agency called to place the child for adoption
  • The adoptee if they are 12 years or older

When is Consent Not Necessary for Adoption in Arizona?

In Arizona, consent to adopt is not required from the following:

  • A parent whose parental rights have been terminated by the court
  • An adult parent for whom a guardian is currently appointed
  • A parent who has previously consented to an agency’s placement of the child for adoption
  • A Presumed Birth Father who fails to file a paternity action within 30 days of receiving notice

Can a Birth Parent Revoke their Consent to Adoption?

Once consent is given in an Arizona adoption, it becomes irrevocable unless it is found to be obtained under fraud, duress or undue influence.

What Rights do Birth Fathers Have in the Adoption Process?

A man in Arizona who is presumed to be the Birth Father will be granted parental rights if:

  • Both he and the Birth Mom sign the child’s birth certificate and they are out of wedlock
  • A genetic test confirms at least a 95% probably of his paternity
  • A statement acknowledging is paternity is signed by both him and the Birth Mom
  • He and the Birth Mom were married at any time in the 10 months immediately before the birth
  • The child is born within 10 months after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity of marriage, or after the court enters a decree of legal separation

A man claiming to be the father of a child who wants to receive notification of any adoption proceedings must file a notice with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics in the Department of Health Services stating the following:

  • A claim of his paternity
  • A claim of his willingness and intent to support the child

What you Need to Know About Adopting a Child in Arizona

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 Arizona 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 Arizona?

In Arizona, any adult, regardless of marital status may adopt a child if they are found to be capable of meeting the social, emotional, and physical needs of the child.

How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Child in Arizona?

Arizona 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 Mother and child
  • Agency and legal fees
  • Counseling services for the Birth Mother
  • Adoption-related travel expenses
  • Rent and general living expenses for the Birth Mother up to $1,000, unless the court permits more

All expenses paid in relation to the adoption must be found reasonable and approved in court.

How do you Become a Foster Parent in Arizona?

To become a foster parent in Arizona, you first must meet the minimum eligibility requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a legal U.S. and Arizona resident
  • Own or rent an apartment or home
  • Pass a fingerprint-based criminal background check

If you meet these requirements, you then must complete the following:

  • attend an orientation
  • choose a licensing agency
  • complete a home study and home safety evaluation
  • attend foster parent training

Can you finalize an international adoption in Arizona?

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 Arizona, 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

Who can legally facilitate an Arizona adoption?

There are many agencies, attorneys, and facilitators offering adoption services in Arizona, so it is important to understand the differences between them.

Agencies are regulated businesses and attorneys are experts in adoption law, both licensed and trained in adoption processes.

Adoption Facilitators are individuals who are usually unlicensed and unregulated that match Prospective Adoptive Parents with expectant Birth Mothers. A facilitator will help advertise and match his or her client with an expectant Birth Mom, but once they have made a match, the facilitator will then refer their clients to a licensed adoption professional to complete the process.

In Arizona, the rules and regulations do not specify who can legally facilitate an adoption.

Home Study and Post Placement Requirements in Arizona 

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 Arizona, the home study process will include and require the following information or actions of the applicant:

  • Current financial status
  • Social and family history
  • Religious background or affiliation
  • Physical and mental health conditions
  • Interviews with the Prospective Parents
  • Any history of child abuse, abandonment of children, or termination of parental rights
  • Any other facts to determine the fitness of Prospective Parents
  • State and Federal criminal background checks
  • Child abuse and central registry record checks including:
    • Record of child welfare referrals

In addition to the home study process, a social study will be submitted to the court after the child is placed into the home and before the final adoption hearing that provides information regarding the following:

  • The child’s adjustment to the adoptive home
  • An assessment of the Prospective Parent’s suitability to adopt
  • Any existing arrangements regarding the custody of the child

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 Arizona and Who is Included in it?

In Arizona, the home study process will be facilitated by the agency or a social worker designated by the court. In addition to the Prospective Parents, all adults living in the home will be subject to the home study process

Why Would my Home Study Not be Approved?

As an Arizona resident, the following may be potential grounds for disapproval of your home study and eligibility to adopt, although not always:

  • A Prospective Parent has lost his or her parental rights to a child in the past
  • A Prospective Parent has been charged, convicted or is currently awaiting a trial for criminal charges
  • Information found during the home study process are determined to be unfit for the child

In the case that your home study is denied, a written notice explaining the disapproval will be provided and you will be given an opportunity to petition the court for a review and reevaluation.

What are the Home Study Requirements for Adopting a Child from Another State?

If you are a resident of Arizona, 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 Arizona, the home study process will not be required for a stepparent or relative adoption, and the social study process will require only background checks if the Prospective Parent is:

  • The child’s stepparent, who has been legally married to the child’s legal parent for at least 1 year, and the child has lived with the married couple for at least 1 year
  • The child’s whole or half sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or great-grandparent, and the child has lived with him or her for at least 1 year

What are the Requirements for a Foster to Adopt Placement in Arizona? 

“Foster to Adopt” is when a foster parent or family decides to adopt a foster child that is currently in their care.

The goal of foster care is to eventually reunite the child with his or her family, but in the case that reunification is not an option, the foster parents may be eligible to adopt the child.

In Arizona, if the child has been living with the foster parent or foster family for at least 6 months and he or she is eligible for adoption, the social study will only require reviews of the central registry check and any changes that have occurred in the household since the parents’ last license renewal.

For a child who is 5 years or older, he or she must be interviewed about their feelings towards the adoption and give their consent before the adoption can be finalized.

From the time legal consent to the adoption is given until the adoption finalization, a home visit will occur at least every 2 months to ensure the adjustment is going smoothly. If the child has special needs, a home visit will occur at least once every month.

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 Arizona, an initial visit will happen within 30 days of the child’s placement into his or her adoptive home.

After the initial visit, the social worker or case manager assignment to the assessment will:

  • Interview the child about his or her feeling towards the adoption, if the child’s age permits
  • Visit the adoptive home at least once every 3 months until the adoption finalization, unless the adoptive child has special needs; in this case the visits will occur at least once every month
  • Discuss the following issues with the Adoptive Parent if applicable to the child’s age and stage of development:
    • How the child is adjusting to the adoption
    • How the child is adjusting to school
    • How the child and the Adoptive Family’s extended family view each other
    • How the child’s integration into the home has changed familial relationships, if any
    • The role each family member has when it comes to child care and discipline, if any
    • How the Adoptive Parent(s) is coping with the needs of the child
    • How the child challenges the placement and how the family reacts to these episodes
    • How the family perceives the child’s sense of identity and the need to fill in gaps in his or her history

Arizona Adoption Agencies and Professionals

Going through the adoption process can feel overwhelming at times, but the adoption professionals in Arizona 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:

Arizona Adoption Help

(602) 271-9899

Building Arizona Families

(623) 936-4729

Christian Family Care

(602) 234-1935

Visit Arizona

Is your adoption journey bringing you to the cactus-filled state of Arizona? Here’s a list of some of the Grand Canyon States’ exciting spots to visit while you await the process:

Antelope Canyon in Page

Bearizona in Williams

The Grand Canyon

Hiking in Sedona

Horseshoe Bend in Page

 

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