What Are the Legal Requirements for Adoption? 

There are many requirements for adoptive parents to meet before a child is placed with them. These requirements vary by state and country, but they are important to adhere to for the safety of both the child and the adoptive family. 

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Stable medical health:

It’s vital that prospective Adoptive Parents have stable, healthy physical health so that they can care for a child. In addition to a letter from their primary physician stating that they are physically stable and able to parent, all members of the household must also be in good physical health to ensure the home is safe. 

Emotional stability:

The emotional stability of the Adoptive Parents is an important consideration as well. If one or both of the Adoptive Parents have a current psychiatric illness or a history of such an illness, a professional statement from a psychologist or psychiatrist vouching for their emotional stability and ability to parent is required. In addition, a doctor’s statement is needed for all members of the household who may have a mental health problem, including any children in the home. 

Criminal History Checks:

All adoptive families are required to submit to a criminal background check, both state and FBI. This process will determine if you have any prior convictions for crimes against children, or for any other crimes that could negatively affect the welfare of your child. 

Home study: 

Within four months of a family’s Application to Adopt, most New York agencies must conduct a home study for the family. This is a series of meetings, interviews, and training sessions that allow the agency to get to know the family better. The goal of the home study is to assess if the family is ready to adopt and will be a successful match for the child. 

The adoption process can take up to 6 months before the child is formally adopted by the adoptive family. During this time, the adoption agency will provide the adoptive parents with ongoing social services to help them adjust to life as a family with an adopted child. The agency also may provide counseling to the adoptive family and the child if there are any issues or problems. 


When a adoption is finally completed, the adoptive parents go to court to have the adoption decree signed by a judge and finalized. During the hearing, the judge reviews the adoptive family’s home study, asks questions, and generally attempts to make sure that the child is going to a safe and loving home. 


In most cases, the adoptive parents will receive financial support from the state and/or the child’s birth family. This can be in the form of state and/or federal tax credits, as well as other forms of assistance. 

Legal risk:

When adopting a baby, the child’s birthparents are usually given the option to terminate their rights before the child is placed with you. However, if the birth parents are unwilling or unable to terminate their rights, they will be granted an adoption order that prevents them from placing the child with you until these rights are removed.