Located in the South Pacific Ocean, American Samoa consists of five islands that are home to over 55,000 people. Among these residents are both families looking to adopt a child and pregnant mothers considering adoption for their unborn baby. If you are interested in adopting or placing a child for adoption in American Samoa, the following page will give you the basic information you need to get started.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in American Samoa
All states and U.S. territories have specific laws that govern the adoption process for hopeful parents. Here, you can find the eligibility requirements and other laws that pertain to hopeful parents in American Samoa.
What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in American Samoa?
In American Samoa, anyone who is 21 years old or older may adopt. A minor may also adopt with approval of the court.
What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in American Samoa?
The only expenses that adoptive families may cover in American Samoa are attorney fees and expenses explicitly approved by the court. All other types of payment are prohibited.
What are the laws to become a foster parent in American Samoa?
The government of American Samoa has a Child Care Division
that oversees children in need of temporary care. Return to this page for up-to-date information on the Social Services Division and foster care information.
What are the requirements to finalize an international adoption in American Samoa?
American Samoa does not address international adoptions in its adoption laws. If you have questions, speak to a qualified adoption professional.
Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in American Samoa?
The statutes in American Samoa do not address advertisement but prohibit the use of facilitators. Any fees that change hands related to adoption must be attorney fees or other court-approved expenses.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in American Samoa
If you wish to place a baby for adoption in American Samoa, you should be aware of the laws that dictate the process and protect your parental rights. Read on to find information on important birth parent laws in American Samoa.
When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?
American Samoa adoption laws do not discuss the topic of when consent can be executed. Speak to an adoption professional if you have any questions or concerns.
Written consent of the adoption will be filed with the adoption petition, unless the placement is made by the court or under the jurisdiction of another state or territory.
Who must consent to the adoption?
Before an adoption can take place, written consent must be given by the following parties when applicable:
- The parent(s)
- A court-appointed guardian
- An adoption agency
- The Department of Health
When is parental consent not needed?
The laws do not address this topic. Speak to an adoption attorney or other qualified adoption professional for detailed information.
When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable?
Consent is completely irrevocable when two years have passed since the date the adoption decree was entered.
What rights does the father of the baby have in American Samoa adoptions?
The law defines “parent” as the natural parent of a legitimate child, an adoptive parent, or the natural parent of an illegitimate child. If a man is married to the mother at the time of conception, he is presumed to be the legitimate father except in special circumstances.
In American Samoa, the father of a child born out of wedlock has no parental rights to the child unless he has done the following before the entry of the adoption decree:
- Allowed his name to be added to the birth certificate
- Paid medical or hospital bills related to the child’s birth
- Paid other types of support for the child
- Asserted his paternity in writing
Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in American Samoa
The home study is a series of background checks, home inspections, and interviews to determine that you are ready to adopt a child. Below, you will find information on the home study process in American Samoa.
What is included in the American Samoa home study process?
The home study will assess the following elements:
- The parents’ physical and mental health
- The moral integrity and character of the parents
- The parent’s ability to promote the child’s wellbeing
- The safety and suitability of the home
Who is included in the home study process?
The home study will include the parent or parents hoping to adopt.
Who will conduct the home study?
In American Samoa, home studies will be conducted by the Department of Health, the Probation Department of the court, or an adoption agency.
On what grounds will the home study not be approved in American Samoa?
Home study approval will be withheld at the discretion of the court. The court may deny a home study approval upon finding that the applicants lack the character, suitability, or resources to provide for the needs of the child.
When should the home study be completed?
The home study must be filed with the consent to adoption.
What are the post-placement study requirements for American Samoa?
American Samoa laws do not address post-placement requirements.
What are the home study requirements for stepparent or relative adoptions in American Samoa?
Stepparents and other court-appointed guardians are exempt from the home study requirements.
What are the home study requirements to adopt a child from another state?
The issue is not addressed in American Samoa’s laws.
What are the requirements to adopt a child that is currently in my care?
The issue is not addressed.
American Samoa Adoption Professionals
If you are interested in adopting a child in American Samoa, speak to the government Child Care Division.
Things to do in American Samoa
If you find yourself in American Samoa to adopt, here are some of the places you might also want to visit: