Adoption in Arkansas
Are you an Arkansas 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 Arkansas and answer some frequently asked questions about adoption, as well as provide some resources to help guide you along the way.
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What you need to know about placing your child for Adoption in Arkansas
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 Arkansas.
Who Must Consent to an Arkansas Adoption and How Does it Work?
In Arkansas, written consent to adoption must be given by the following:
- The Birth Mom
- The Birth Father if:
- He was married to the Birth Mom at the time of the child’s conception
- The child is his by adoption
- He has custody of the minor
- He proves he had a custodial, personal, and financial relationship before the petition for adoption is filed
- Any person having custody of the child
- The spouse of the minor being adopted
- The court if the legal guardian is not empowered to give his or her consent
- The adoptee if they are 10 years or older
Consent to adoption in Arkansas can be given at any time after the child is born and must be given in one of the following ways:
- If by the court, by appropriate order of certificate
- If by the adoptee, in the presence of the court
- If by an agency, by a representative in the presence of someone authorized to take acknowledgements
- If by any other person, in front of a court or any person authorized to take acknowledgements
If the parent is a minor, the written consent must be signed by a court‑ordered guardian ad litem who has been judicially appointed to appear on behalf of the minor Birth Parent for the purpose of giving consent.
When is Consent Not Necessary for Adoption in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, consent to adoption is not required from the following:
- A parent who has abandoned his or her child
- A parent declared incompetent and unable to consent by the court
- The parent of an adoptee who is 18 years or older
- A parent who has relinquished his or her right to consent
- A parent whose parental rights have been terminated by the court
- A Birth Parent of a child in custody of another adult, if the Birth Parent has failed to communicate with or provide care for the child for at least 1 year
- The legal guardian of the child, who is not the Birth Parent, who has failed to respond to a request for consent within 60 days
- The legal guardian of the child, who is not the Birth Parent, who is found to be unreasonably withholding consent by the court
- The child’s Putative Father who has signed an acknowledgement of his paternity or is listed in the Putative Father Registry, but has failed to establish a substantial relationship with the child before the petition for adoption is filed
Can a Birth Parent Revoke their Consent to Adoption?
In Arkansas, a Birth Parent may withdraw his or her consent to adoption by filing an affidavit within 10 days of signing the consent forms or within 10 days of the child’s birth, whichever comes later. After the entry of decree of adoption, consent may not be revoked.
What Rights do Birth Fathers have in the Adoption Process?
In Arkansas, an unmarried man can be named the legal father of a child if both he and the Birth Mom execute an acknowledgement of paternity of the child.
In Arkansas, a Putative Father Registry is in place to entitle unmarried Birth Fathers to receive notice of any legal proceedings pertaining to his potential child. A Putative Father, which is an unmarried man who is the alleged father of the child, must establish a significant custodial, personal, or financial relationship with the child before he is granted parental rights.
What You Need to Know about Adopting a Child in Arkansas
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 Arkansas 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 Arkansas?
In Arkansas, anyone, regardless of marital status, may petition to adopt a child. A couple trying to adopt must be married for at least 2 years before being eligible.
Anyone living in the home who is 12 years or older must get tested for tuberculosis every 3 years and get a physical exam within 6 months of the home study. Each person must get a physical exam annually after the first exam until a child is placed in their home.
How Much does it Cost to Adopt a Child in Arkansas?
Arkansas 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
- Travel costs associated with the adoption
- Rent and other general living expenses for the Birth Mom
- Legal and agency fees
It is illegal in the state of Arkansas for a Birth Parent to receive any type of compensation or item of value in exchange for the adoption.
How do you Become a Foster Parent?
In Arkansas, you must meet the following requirements to become a foster parent:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Be financially stable and able to care for a child
- Rent or own a home that meets home safety requirements
- Get fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check
- Meet the foster care licensing standards
Marital status is not a factor in determining eligibility to become a foster parent. Anyone meeting the above requirements, whether single, married, divorced, or widowed, can apply to become a foster parent.
Can you Finalize an International Adoption in Arkansas?
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 intercountry adoptions.
- 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 Arkansas Adoption?
There are many agencies, attorneys, and facilitators offering adoption services in Arkansas, 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 Arkansas, state adoption laws and regulations do not address this issue.
Home Study and Post Placement Requirements in Arkansas
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 Arkansas, the home study process must be completed within 1 year prior to any adoption and will include or require the following:
- An assessment of the family’s physical health
- An assessment of the safety of the home
- An assessment of the Prospective Parents mental health and emotional stability
- At least three personal references
- The financial status of the family, including the verification of income and employment
- An assessment of the family’s ability to cope with stress and loss
- Adjustment and well being of minors in the home
- The family’s discipline style
- The family’s religious practices, if any
- The family’s child care skills and experience
- A criminal background check and child maltreatment registry check, to be checked within a year of placement
- Interviews with the Prospective Parents
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 Arkansas and Who is Included in it?
The home study assessment will include all members of the Prospective Adoptive household and will be conducted by a social worker or licensed agency.
Why Would my Home Study Not be Approved?
In Arkansas, an unmarried couple cohabiting together will not be eligible to adopt a child. A couple hoping to adopt must be legally married by state law, and this applies to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
What Are the Requirements for Adopting a Child from Another State?
If you are a resident of Arkansas, 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 Arkansas, in the case of an adoption by the child’s stepparent or relative, the Prospective Parent must still go through the home study process; however, they will not be required to report any adoption expenses in court.
What are the Requirements for a Foster to Adopt Placement in Arkansas?
“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 Arkansas, if the court decides the child’s current foster family is eligible for adoption, they will need to complete a home study within 45 days and will not be required to attend any further trainings regarding adoption.
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 Arkansas, two in-person visits with the Adoptive Family and child must take place before the adoption decree is finalized, and one of those visits must be at the family’s home.
Arkansas Adoption Agencies and Professionals
Going through the adoption process can feel overwhelming at times, but the adoption professionals in Arkansas 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:
Is your adoption journey bringing you to the state of Arkansas? Here’s a list of some of the Natural States’ exciting spots to visit while you await the process:
Blanchard Springs Caverns in Mountain View
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville
Downtown Square and Gardens in Fayetteville
Museum of Native American History in Bentonville
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs