How to Adopt in Alaska
If you are thinking about starting the adoption process in Alaska — either as a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy or as a hopeful parent looking to adopt a child — you likely have questions about adoption laws, rules and qualifications. The following Alaska adoption information can help answer important adoption questions for women and couples living in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and anywhere else in Alaska.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in AlaskaEach state has laws regulating who can adopt and how the adoption process works. In this section, find information about the Alaska adoption process, adoption laws for prospective parents, and more.
What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in Alaska?An unmarried adult or husband and wife jointly may adopt. A married person may adopt without his or her spouse in the case of a stepparent adoption, legal separation, or if the spouse’s failure to join in the adoption petition is due to prolonged unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity or circumstances constituting an unreasonable withholding of consent.
What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in Alaska?Adoptive parents can pay expenses incurred in connection with the child’s birth, medical or hospital care received by the mother and services related to the adoption. The adoptive parents must file a full accounting report of all disbursements made in connection with the adoption.
What are the laws to become a foster parent in Alaska?In Alaska, foster parents must be at least 21 years old, be physically and emotionally capable of caring for children, provide character references, pass a criminal background check, have no substantiated child abuse or neglect records and complete other home study and training requirements.<
What are the requirements to finalize an international adoption in Alaska?At the request of an adopted person or adoptive parents, the state registrar will issue a certificate of birth for a foreign-born person who was adopted by Alaska residents when it receives an adoption report and information about the child’s date and place of birth. The certificate will state that it is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the child. Upon proof of naturalization, an amended birth certificate will be issued that deletes the statement that it is not evidence of citizenship.
Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in Alaska?This issue is not addressed in Alaska statutes.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in AlaskaIf you are considering adoption for your child, you likely have several questions about the rules and regulations of placing a baby for adoption in Alaska. The following will help answer some of your questions about Alaska adoption law.
When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?Consent can be executed any time after the child’s birth. The consent must be executed in the presence of the court or a person authorized to take acknowledgments.
Who must consent to the adoption?In Alaska, consent to adoption is required of:
- The child’s mother
- The child’s father, if:
- He was married to the mother at the time of conception or any time after conception
- He is the father of the child by adoption
- He has legitimated the child
- Any person lawfully entitled to custody of the child or empowered to consent
- The court having jurisdiction to determine custody of the child if the child’s legal guardian or custodian is not empowered to consent
- The spouse of the child to be adopted
- The child, if he or she is 10 or older, unless the court dispenses with consent in the child’s best interests
When is consent not needed?Consent is not required of a parent who:
- Abandoned the child for at least six months
- Has failed significantly for at least one year to communicate meaningfully with the child or provide for the care and support of the child
- Has relinquished the right to consent
- Whose parental rights have been terminated by court order
- Has been judicially declared incompetent or mentally defective
When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable?Consent may be withdrawn within 10 days after the consent is given if the court finds that revocation is in the best interests of the child. Consent may not be withdrawn after the entry of the adoption decree.
What rights does the father of the baby have in Alaska adoptions?A child born to unmarried parents is legitimated and considered the heir of the putative father when:
- The putative father subsequently marries the undisputed mother of the child
- The putative father and mother sign a form acknowledging paternity
- The putative father is determined by the court to be the parent of the child
Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in AlaskaBefore an adoptive or foster parent may receive a placement in Alaska, they must complete the Alaska home study. The home study evaluates prospective parents and ensures they are able to provide a safe, stable home to a child.
What is included in the Alaska home study process?At minimum, the Alaska home study includes:
- One face-to-face interview with all individuals living in the home
- One home visit
- An assessment of the capabilities and preparedness of the adoptive parents to properly parent an adopted child
- Criminal history checks for each member of the household
- At least three positive written references, including two references from nonrelatives
Who is included in the Alaska home study process?The home study includes all applicants in the family being considered as an adoptive home.
Who will conduct the home study?The home study is completed by the Department of Health and Social Services or any other qualified agency or person designated by the court.
On what grounds will the home study not be approved in Alaska?The home study may not be approved if a person in the home:
- Has committed a barrier crime
- Is listed in the central registry
- Has a physical or behavioral health problem that poses a significant risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of children
- Was the subject of prior adverse licensing action
When should the home study be completed? When must the home study be renewed?The home study must be filed with the court before the hearing on the adoption petition. The home study must be updated annually.
What are the post-placement study requirements for Alaska?During the post-placement period, the agency will document any changes in the adoptive family’s health, financial condition, or composition that may affect the child.
What are the home study requirements for Alaska stepparent or relative adoption?Unless directed by the court, the home study is not required in stepparent adoptions or cases in which the adopted child is related to the petitioner within the fourth degree.
What are the home study requirements to adopt a child from another state?Any interstate placement is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
What are the pre-placement requirements to adopt a child that is currently in my care?This issue is not addressed in Alaska statutes. For more information about foster care and foster-to-adopt placements, visit the Office of Children’s Services. To begin the home study process, contact a trusted local home study provider:
- Fairbanks Counseling/Adoption 907-456-4729 Fairbanks Counseling & Adoption provides adoption services including Alaska home study services.
- Catholic Social Services 907-222-7316 CSS provides home study services for families adopting from its infant adoption program, international adoption program or through the Alaska Office of Children’s Services.
Alaska Adoption ProfessionalsWhen you are ready to begin your adoption journey, your adoption professional can help guide you through the process. These licensed professionals are experienced in completing local adoptions and can help ensure that you meet all Alaska legal and home study requirements:
- Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
- Alaska Center for Resource Families
- Hope Community Resources
Things to do in AlaskaBetween visits with prospective birth parents and waiting for ICPC clearances, you may find yourself in the Last Frontier at some point in your adoption journey. Here are a few fun ways to spend your time in Alaska:
- Tracy Arm Fjord (Juneau)
- Mendenhall Glacier (Juneau)
- Kenai Fjords National Park (Seward)
- Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
- Hubbard Glacier
- Prince William Sound