1. Who can adopt?
Any adult person may adopt another person who is younger than them, unless that person is his/her:
c. Uncle or Aunt
There is no maximum age limitation and if the petitioner is married, their spouse must join in the petition to adopt as well or the adoption will not be allowed.
2. Whose written consent is required as a prerequisite to adoption?
a. Subject child if over 12 years old
b. Child’s spouse if married
c. Lawful parent’s
d. Surviving parent if one is deceased
e. Mother’s, if child was born out of wedlock. Father’s is not necessary.
Consent may not be given until 4 days after the birth of the subject child.
Consent must be written and signed before two impartial witnesses and a notary public.
Consent may not be revoked.
If consent is not given from one of these sources it may be dispensed with upon the child becoming an adult or the court finding that the adoption would indeed be in the best interest of the child.
3. What is the role of D.S.S. or other approved adoption agencies?
It is not necessary where the petitioner is a blood relative, step-parent, or nominated guardian in the will of the child’s parent. Also not necessary if the child is over the age of 14.
In all other cases they must have either placed the child with the petitioner or approved it in writing, neither of which would occur without the complete investigation of the case so that the agency is satisfied the adoption is in the best interest of the child.
4. Who is entitled to notice of a prospective adoption?
a. Those persons whose written consent is still required.
b. D.S.S. or any other agency when their participation is necessary.
c. Father of the child if born out of wedlock.
d. Any other person who has exerted a parental responsibility claim. (For example, someone who believes they are the father and is in the process of proving it.)
5. What are the factors to be considered by the court in making an adoption decision?
a. The needs of the child.
b. The ability of the petitioner to meet them.
c. Unfitness of natural parents if that issue has not been previously addressed.
d. Religion of the child and the petitioners where the natural parent (s) have addressed this issue in their consent.