Adoption in Indiana
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What You Need to Know about Placing Your Child for Adoption in Indiana
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 Indiana.
Who Must Consent to an Indiana Adoption?
Consent to adoption in Indiana is required by the following, as applicable:
- The adoptee if they are at least 14 years old
- The legal guardian of the child
- If married, each living Birth Parent of a child born
- The Birth Mother of a child born out of wedlock and the Father of the child who has established paternity
- The court, if the legal guardian or parent is not empowered to give consent
When is Consent Not Necessary for Adoption in Indiana?
Consent to adoption will not be required for the following:
- A parent whose parental rights have been terminated
- A parent who the court determines unfit
- A parent who has abandoned his or her child for at least 6 months prior to filing the petition for adoption
- A parent who has failed to communicate or care for his or her child, who is in the custody of another person
- A parent judicially declared incompetent or mentally defective
- A legal guardian who is found to be unreasonably withholding consent to the adoption
- The Birth Father of a child born out of wedlock who has not established paternity
- A Birth Father who denies his paternity of the child
- The Birth Father of a child who was conceived by rape, sexual misconduct or incest
- A Putative Father who established his paternity of the child after an adoption petition was filed
- A Putative Father who failed to register with the putative father registry
Can a Birth Parent Revoke their Consent to Adoption?
In Indiana, consent to adoption may be revoked up to 30 days after it has been given, if it is determined in court that the revocation is in the child’s best interest. However, consent cannot be revoked after the final entry of the adoption decree.
If a Birth Father gives his consent to adoption before the child is born, he cannot challenge or revoke his consent.
What Rights do Birth Fathers Have in the Adoption Process?
A ‘Putative Father’ is a male of any age who is alleged or claims to be the child’s Birth Father but who:
- Is not presumed to be the child’s father
- Has not established paternity of the child before the adoption petition has been filed, either in a court proceeding or by executing a paternity affidavit
For a Putative Father to be entitled to receive notice of adoption proceedings, he must register with the Putative Father Registry of Indiana before the Birth Mom consents to the child’s adoption, otherwise he will not be entitled to make decisions regarding the adoption.
Adopting a Child in Indiana
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 Indiana 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 Indiana?
In Indiana, any resident may apply to become an Adoptive Parent, but a married couple must apply together.
How Much does it Cost to Adopt a Child?
Indiana 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
- Living expenses, such as housing, utilities, and phone service, during the second and third trimester of the Birth Mom’s pregnancy
- Maternity clothes for the Birth Mom
- Counseling services for the Birth Mom
- Travel expenses related to the adoption
- Reimbursement of wages the Birth Mom lost due to inability to work from any medical condition related to her pregnancy
- Legal and agency fees
- Any other reasonable expenses approved in court
Limitations to the adoption-related payments and compensation allowed by Adoptive Parents include the following:
- Compensation for lost wages will be offset by the living expenses paid and any unemployment compensation that the Birth Mother is entitled to
- Payment of living expenses cannot exceed $1,000 or extend beyond 6 weeks after the child is born
- Total adoption-related expenses paid cannot exceed $3,000, unless approved by the court
How do you Become a Foster Parent?
In Indiana, you must get licensed in order to become a foster parent. To obtain your license, you need to meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Complete the required forms necessary to become a foster parent
- Pass a criminal background check
- Prove you are financial stable
- Complete First Aid and CPR training
- Complete the pre-service training requirements
- Own or rent a home that meets required safety standards, including having an adequate bedroom size for the child
- Provide medical history from a physician for every person living in the home
- Provide positive references
- Complete the home study and home visit requirements from a Regional Licensing Specialist
Can you Finalize an International Adoption in Indiana?
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.
- 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 Indiana Adoption?
There are many agencies, attorneys, and facilitators offering adoption services in Indiana, 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 Indiana, only the following are legally allowed to provide any adoption services to a Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent:
- The Department of Child Services
- The Division of Family Recourses
- A licensed child-placing agency
- A licensed attorney
- A Birth Parent or Prospective Parent acting on their own behalf
Home Study and Post Placement Requirements in Indiana
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 Indiana, the home study process will include criminal background checks, interviews with the Prospective Adoptive Family, and in-home visits to ensure the home will be a safe place for the child. The home study process will not examine the financial condition of 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 Indiana and Who is Included in it?
The home study assessment in the state on Indiana will be conducted by a licensed child-placing agency or the Office of Family and Children. Included in the study will be the Prospective Adoptive Parents and any other adult living in the home.
What are the Requirements for Adopting a Child from Another State?
If you are a resident of Indiana, 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 Indiana, the home study process will only be required in the case of a stepparent or relative adoption if the court determines it is necessary. Otherwise, it will not be required.
What are the Requirements for a Foster to Adopt placement in Indiana?
“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 Indiana, the state adoption laws and regulations do not address this issue.
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 Indiana, the postplacement assessment will be facilitated by a licensed child placing agency and the court will decide how long the assessment will last.
Indiana Adoption Agencies and Professionals
Going through the adoption process can feel overwhelming at times, but the adoption professionals in Indiana 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 Indiana? Here’s a list of some of Hoosier States’ exciting spots to visit while you await the process:
Basilica of the Sacred Heart in South Bend
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Dream Car Museum in Evansville
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
University of Notre Dame in South Bend