Adopting a child in Arizona provides an excellent option for prospective parents because it lets you give a home to a waiting child while expanding your family.
If you’ve though of adopting a child in Arizona and conducted a little research, you’ve probably learned that the adoption process in Arizona is complicated. You likely have many questions, such as:
- How do I adopt a child in Arizona?
- Is adoption the right choice for my family?
- What are the types of adoption?
- What are the steps in the Arizona state adoption process?
- What does it cost to adopt a kid in Arizona?
Some of these important questions will be answered in this guide. If you still have questions after reading, contact the professionals with Arizona adoption agencies to learn how to begin the process of adoption in Arizona.
Adopting a Child in Arizona [A Complete Guide]
Step 1: Determine Whether Adoption is Right for Your Family
Adopting a child in Arizona should never be taken lightly. It’s a long-term commitment that involves great responsibility.
Every adoption is unique. It’d be hard to find two adoptions that were alike in every detail. Therefore, prospective adoptive parents must know that though adoption of children in Arizona can be challenging, it’s also rewarding.
Each prospective adoptive family has its reasons for adopting a child in Arizona. Some prospective parents experience infertility, while others may feel called to legally adopt a child in Arizona. Some families want to provide a home to a waiting child in the foster system.
Step 2: Choose a Type of Adoption in Arizona
There are three methods of adopting a child in Arizona. They are:
Before you decide which of the three Arizona adoption procedures makes sense for you, you should set your adoption goals. That will lead you to the right type of adoption for your family.
Once you’ve chosen which of the Arizona adoption procedures is best for your family, you must identify the right adoption professional to assist you. Each type of adoption warrants its own areas of specialty, so find a corresponding agency.
Some agencies focus on one specific part of the adoption process in Arizona, such as the home study. Others offer full service and assist with an array of adoption procedures in Arizona.
Step 3: Create an Adoption Plan
Successfully adopting a child in Arizona requires a plan. No matter which adoption method you choose, there are things you should include in your plan to boost your chance for a successful adoption.
Here are some factors to consider when creating a personal adoption plan:
- Choosing an Adoption Professional: When beginning the adoption process in Arizona, you must choose the perfect adoption professional. Your adoption agency will be your ally throughout the adoption process, so choose wisely.
- Create Your Adoption Team: Each journey when adopting a child in Arizona is unique. You’ll need support from your family and friends, and you’re in control of who’s involved. Create a support system to get you through the process.
- Consider the Needs of Your Adoption Method: The requirements for each type of adoption differ. You should focus on what’s needed for your chosen adoption method. Think about adoption professionals, budgetary concerns, or pre-birth and post-birth communication with birth parents.
Adoption in Arizona is complex, with many details to manage. It’s also emotionally complicated for expectant birth parents and prospective adoptive families. By developing a solid plan and finding the right adoption agency in the early stages of the process of adoption in Arizona, you can improve your adoption experience.
Step 4: The Adoption Home Study
Families adopting a child in Arizona must complete a home study. It evaluates the quality of a prospective adoptive home. Licensed professionals conduct the home study. If you are working with a full-service agency, then your agency will be able to provide the necessary services. If not, you’ll need to find a home study provider.
The home study process includes in-home interviews, reviews of financial records, and criminal background checks to ensure the stability and safety of the potential adoptive home.
Step 5: Seek Adoption Opportunities
Finding an adoption opportunity is a critical step in the process of adoption in Arizona. Whether you pursue international adoption, foster care adoption, or private domestic adoption, your adoption professional will work to identify a great opportunity for your family.
Adoption Opportunities in Private Domestic Adoption
If adopting a child in Arizona through private domestic adoption, you’ll complete a questionnaire provided by your agency. That helps your adoption specialist know what to look for. Some services use an Adoption Planning Questionnaire, or APQ.
Many agencies encourage prospective parents adopting a child in Arizona to create portfolios including videos, photos and narratives. These materials help expectant birth parents learn about your family.
While less common, some private domestic adoptions are conducted independently. Such adoptions are performed without an adoption agency. Opportunities are identified through your personal network because in independent adoptions, those involved usually know one another.
Finding a Match in the Foster Care System
If you’re adopting a child in Arizona through the foster care system, there are additional steps necessary to identify an adoption opportunity. They include:
- Foster family licensing
- Participation in a preparation course
- A foster care adoption home study
Prospective adoptive families must meet the Arizona requirements to foster. To do that, they must complete a licensing study. When the required steps to adoption in Arizona are completed, prospective foster parents undergo the required home study. It usually takes between six and eight months for potential adoptive families to gain eligibility.
Once licensed, you work with foster care adoption agencies or the Arizona Department of Child Safety to find a waiting child for placement. You can begin your search by viewing eligible waiting foster children on the web, working with an adoption professional, or attending events for prospective foster families.
When you find a potential match, you’ll spend time getting to know the child. Your adoption professional will provide the child with information about your family. Visits will be scheduled to determine if the child is a great fit for your family.
Waiting for an International Adoption Opportunity
In international child adoption in Arizona, you’re dependent on a Hague-accredited international adoption agency to locate adoption opportunities abroad. First, you’re required to apply through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to become eligible to adopt internationally.
Prospective adoptive families adopting a child in Arizona internationally must identify a country from which to adopt. Next, an adoption agency operating in the desired country is selected.
You’ll complete a questionnaire for the agency. That document helps identify potential adoption opportunities abroad. It includes questions about your ability and desire to adopt children with special needs.
Step 6: Complete the Adoption
Placement of a child is emotional for everyone involved in the Arizona state adoption process. Remember, no two adoptions are alike, and your type of adoption will determine what comes next.
Private Domestic Adoptions
In the private adoption process in Arizona, placement usually occurs shortly after birth at the hospital. The expectant birth mother creates a hospital plan and birth plan. That requires flexibility from prospective adoptive parents.
The birth plan is important for the prospective adoptive parents because it lends gives order to what can be an overwhelming time. It defines expectations for the adoption, including:
- Whether you’ll be present during delivery
- When to arrive at the hospital
- How much contact you’ll have with the birth mother
- Whether you’ll be allowed to take pictures with the baby
- How you’ll leave the hospital with the baby
- And more
The private adoption process in Arizona mandates that birth parents can’t sign adoption papers until at least 72 hours after the birth.
Arizona is part of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. It requires that adoptive parents stay in the state where the child was born for 7 to 10 business days after the birth.
Foster Care Adoption
In foster care adoption, the adoption process in Arizona is simpler. After you’ve been matched, the child joins your family in a foster care setting. After placement, there’s a supervised period during which an adoption professional assesses the child’s adjustment to your home.
If the adoption professional determines the child is struggling to adjust, other actions may be warranted. The adoption professional may recommend that the child and your family receive additional services to facilitate adjustment.
In international child adoptions in Arizona, the process is sometimes complicated. In an adoption from a Hague Adoption Convention nation, you must first gain custody of the child in their home country.
It also requires prospective adoptive parents to travel to the home country of the child. There, prospective adoptive parents appear at hearings to meet the requirements for adoption in that nation.
Step 7: Finalize the Adoption
Placement isn’t the end of the process for adopting a child in Arizona. It’s the beginning of a lifelong journey for your family.
Once the child is placed in your home, all parties will need time to transition and adjust to the new circumstances.
After placement, the adoption must be finalized. Permanent custody is granted to the adoptive parents by a judge through the final decree of adoption. There is a hearing held for finalization. During this hearing, the adoptive family appears, and the judge makes sure the child adoption process in Arizona was observed.
Post-placement visits are required as part of the Arizona state adoption process. They are meant to ensure that the child is in a safe adoptive home. The first visit happens within the first week of the placement, with at least two more visits within 90 days placement.
The finalization hearing may be between three months and a year after the initial placement. During the hearing, you’ll experience the following:
- You’ll be introduced to the court
- You’ll be asked about your reasons for adopting
- If you’re adopting a child over the age of 12, the child must give consent to the adoption
- The judge may ask about your family and adoption motivations
- The judge finalizes the procedure by decree
In foster care child adoptions in Arizona, the adoption is also finalized in a hearing. The child usually lives with the foster family for at least six months after the initial placement. Once the go-ahead is provided for permanent adoption, your attorney will schedule a hearing to finalize the process.
Finalization of an international adoption comes after custody is granted by the country of origin. The adoptive family obtains an immigration visa for the child through a U.S. embassy or consulate. You must provide several documents, including:
- A new birth certificate for the child that includes your name from the country of origin
- A passport for the child from the country of origin
- A U.S. immigration visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate in the adoptee’s country of origin
Learn More Today
Adopting a child in Arizona isn’t over when the finalization hearing is done. It marks the beginning of a lifelong journey. Adopting and raising a child is a great responsibility but it comes with great rewards.
To find out how to start the adoption process in Arizona, contact adoption professionals in your area to explore your options. Or, contact us today to get connected with a helpful adoption professional.