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Adoption in Hawaii

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Are you a Hawaii 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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii

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 Hawaii.

Who Must Consent to a Hawaii Adoption and How Does it Work?

In Hawaii, a Birth Mother can give written consent to the adoption as early as six months into her pregnancy; however, it will not be considered until after the child is born and she provides a written reaffirmation of her consent.

Consent to adoption in Hawaii must be given in writing by the following, as applicable:

  • The Birth Mom
  • The Presumed Birth Father
  • The child’s legal father
  • The person or agency having custody of the child
  • The adoptee if he or she is at least 10 years old
  • The court, if they child’s legal guardian is not able to give his or her consent
  • The Adjudicated Father, whose parental relationship to the child was determined in court
  • The child’s father, even if he is not the legal or presumed father, if he has demonstrated a significant degree of interest and responsibility regarding the welfare of the child:
    • During the first 30 days after the child is born
    • Before the Birth Mother consents to adoption
    • Before the child is placed for adoption

When is Consent Not Necessary for Adoption in Hawaii?

Consent to adoption in Hawaii is not required from the following:

  • A parent who voluntarily surrendered his or her parental rights for at least 2 years
  • A parent whose parental rights have been legally terminated
  • A parent unable to consent because he or she is declared mentally ill or incapable
  • A parent of an adult who is eligible for adoption
  • A child’s legal guardian who is found to be unreasonably withholding consent
  • A parent who has deserted the child, without means of identification, for 90 days or more
  • A parent who has left his or her child in the custody of someone else and has failed to support the child for at least a year
  • A parent whose identity is undiscoverable because of extraordinary circumstances in his or her country of origin when the child has been in the custody of some one else for at least a year
  • The child’s Birth Father who was not married to the Birth Mother and fails to establish his paternity

Can a Birth Parent Revoke their Consent to Adoption?

Once a Birth Parent gives his or her consent to adoption, it becomes irrevocable. The only way consent may be revoked is if the court finds the revocation is in the child’s best interest.

What Rights do Birth Fathers Have in the Adoption Process?

In Hawaii, a man is considered the child’s Presumed Father, and is granted parental rights, if:

  • He acknowledges his paternity in writing
  • He submits court-ordered genetic testing that proves the likelihood of his paternity
  • He is married to the Birth Mother when the child the child is born
  • He is divorced from the Birth Mom, but the child is born within 300 days of the termination of their marriage
  • He receives the child into his home and raises him or her as his own, while the child is under the age of 18

Adopting a Child in Hawaii

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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii?

In Hawaii, a person hoping to become and Adoptive Parent must be at least 18 years old. Anyone, regardless of marital status, can adopt if they are financially stable, physically and emotionally healthy, have a safe living environment for the child, pass a criminal background check, and complete the home study process.

How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Child?

Hawaii 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 care
  • Living expenses for the Birth Mom
  • Legal and agency fees

All expenses will be regulated in court and must be directly related to the adoption.

How do you Become a Foster Parent?

To become a foster parent in Hawaii, you must obtain a license and to do so, you must complete the following steps:

  • Complete a home study
  • Prove you are financially stable and able to care for a child
  • Complete foster parent training
  • Prove you can provide a safe and healthy environment for the child
  • Meet home safety standards and have enough space for the child
  • Pass a Federal background check, State background check, and a child abuse and neglect registry check

Can you Finalize an International Adoption in Hawaii?

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.

In Hawaii, 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 a Hawaii Adoption?

There are many agencies, attorneys, and facilitators offering adoption services in Hawaii, 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.

In Hawaii, the laws and regulations do not specify who can legally provide adoption services.

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.

Home Study and Post Placement Requirements in Hawaii

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 Hawaii, the home study process will include and require the following:

  • A home safety inspection
  • Interviews with adults living in the home
  • Criminal background and central registry checks
  • Information regarding financial status
  • Any of information considered necessary by the person facilitating the home study

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 Hawaii and Who is Included in it?

In Hawaii, all adults living in the Prospective Adoptive Home will be investigated during the home study. It will be conducted by a social worker who specializes in adoption from the Department of Human Services.

Why Would my Home Study not be Approved?

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

  • A Prospective Parent or other adult living in the home has been convicted of a crime that poses a risk to the child’s wellbeing
  • A Prospective Parent or other adult living in the home has a history of child abuse or neglect

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

If you are a resident of Hawaii, 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.

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

“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 Hawaii, this issue is not addressed in the state’s laws and regulations.

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 Hawaii, the court will determine the length of time and extent of in-home visits and the post placement assessment.

Hawaii Adoption Agencies and Professionals

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

Hawaii International Child

(808) 589-2367

American Adoptions

1-800-236-7846

Family Programs Hawaii

(808) 545-1130

Visit Hawaii

Is your adoption journey bringing you to the tropical state of Hawaii? Here’s a list of some of the Aloha States’ most exciting spots to visit while you await the process:

Dole Plantation in Oahu

Kualoa Ranch in Oahu

North Shore in Oahu

Pearl Harbor Memorial in Oahu

Waikiki Beach in Oahu

 

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