Whether you are hoping to add to your family or are considering an adoption plan for your baby, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about adoption in Puerto Rico. Below, find Puerto Rico adoption and foster care resources, agencies and information about how to adopt in San Juan, Bayamon, Carolina and beyond.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Puerto Rico
Adoption processes and qualifications are determined by state laws. If you are interested in adopting a child in Puerto Rico, the following guidelines will help you better understand the rules and regulations for adoption in the territory.
What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in Puerto Rico?
Hopeful parents interested in adopting in Puerto Rico must meet the following criteria:
- Reside in Puerto Rico for at least six months prior to filing the adoption petition
- Be of legal age
- Have legal capacity to act
- Be at least 14 years older than the adoptive child
In stepparent adoptions, the adopting parent must be married to the adopted child’s parent for at least two years, or be at least 14 years older than the child.
What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in Puerto Rico?
Allowable birth parent expenses are not addressed in Puerto Rico statutes; however, the adoption petition must include information about all financial contributions made to the physical, emotional and intellectual improvement of the adopted child.
What are the laws to become a foster parent in Puerto Rico?
Prospective foster parents in Puerto Rico must:
- Complete an application
- Be at least 21 years old
- Provide proof of income
- Provide proof of household expenses
- Provide three referral letters
- Know how to read and write
- Complete Police Department Certificates and Health Certificates for each member of the household
- Obtain a CPR/First Aid Certificate
Additional information is available through the Administración de Familias y Niños.
What are the requirements to finalize an interstate or international adoption in Puerto Rico?
Once the internationally adopted child is in Puerto Rico, the adoptive parents should file a petition for recognition and validation of adoption with the court. The petition should include the following documents:
- The adoption decree issued by the state, territory or foreign country and a certified translation thereof
- An original or certified copy of the child’s birth registration and a certified translation thereof
- The child’s certificate of citizenship, a permanent residence visa, or U.S. passport
- A report on the social study conducted by a licensed social worker
After the court has evaluated and confirmed the authenticity of the documents, it will issue an adoption decree.
Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in Puerto Rico?
These issues are not addressed in Puerto Rico statutes.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in Puerto Rico
As a prospective birth parent, you likely have questions about the rules and regulations of placing a baby for adoption in Puerto Rico. The following will help answer some of your questions about Puerto Rico adoption laws.
When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?
The time of consent is not addressed in Puerto Rico statutes. Consent must be in writing and attached to the adoption petition.
Who must consent to the adoption?
The following people must consent to adoption before the court:
- The adoptive parents
- The parent(s) of the child possessing patria potestas
- The parent who, due to divorce, does not possess patria potestas
- The father or mother who, on the date the petition is filed, has acknowledged the child to be his or her child
- The Secretary of the Department of Family when a child is under his or her guardianship
- The legal guardian designated for the purpose of consenting to the adoption
- The parents who are minors (under age 21), but over age 18, who are married to each other on the date the adoption petition is filed
- The biological grandparents when the birth parents are unemancipated minors
- In the absence of the biological grandparents, the minor parents’ court-appointed public defender
- The child being adopted, if he or she is at least 10 years old
When is consent not needed?
Parental consent is not required when:
- Both or either parent has been deprived of patria potestas
- The adopted person is an emancipated minor and is duly qualified for adoption
- The father, mother or parents called upon to consent are disqualified by judicial decree or when their whereabouts are unknown or they are declared absent from the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico
When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable?
The adoption decree is voidable when:
- Parties entitled to notice did not receive notice
- There are flaws or defects in the parental consents, or
- There has been fraud
What rights does the father of the baby have in Puerto Rico adoptions?
The father is obliged to recognize his natural child when:
- He expressly acknowledges his paternity in a written statement
- The child has enjoyed the condition of a natural child of the father, justified by his or his family’s actions
- The mother was known to have lived with the father during her pregnancy and at the time of the child’s birth
- The child may present any authentic evidence of paternity
Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in Puerto Rico
Before an adoption or foster care placement can be made in Puerto Rico, the prospective parents must complete an approved home study. The home study assesses parents’ ability to provide a stable, nurturing home to a child. Below, find more information about what to expect throughout the Puerto Rico home study process.
What is included in the Puerto Rico home study process?
The home study report will contain personal information about the adopter, including his or her contact information, employer information, moral character and financial circumstances. It will be accompanied by the following criminal record certificates and written consent of the biological parent(s), when available.
Who is included in the home study process?
The home study includes the adoption petitioner(s).
Who will conduct the home study?
The home study is carried out by the Department of the Family.
When should the home study be completed? When must the home study be renewed?
The home study report should be submitted within 60 days from the date of the notice of the petition.
What are the post-placement study requirements for Puerto Rico?
The Department of the Family will prepare a post-placement report containing background information about the adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptive child, as well as any other material facts in the case, and will recommend whether it is in the child’s best interests for the adoption to proceed.
What are the home study requirements for stepparent or relative adoptions in Puerto Rico?
In stepparent adoptions, it is sufficient that upon the date of the filing of the adoption petition, the adoptive parent has been married to the adoptive child’s mother or father for at least two years or that the adopting spouse is at least 14 years older than the child.
Puerto Rico Adoption Professionals
Whether you are an expectant mother making an adoption plan or hopeful parents considering adoption, your adoption professional can help guide you through the process and offer more information about adoption in Puerto Rico. To learn more about Puerto Rico adoption and to begin the adoption process, please contact the Administración de Familias y Niños.
Things to do in Puerto Rico
If you find yourself spending some time in Puerto Rico, whether you are waiting for ICPC clearances so you can return to your home state, or you are visiting a prospective birth mother, here are a few fun things you can enjoy during your stay:
- Old San Juan (San Juan)
- Flamenco Beach (Culebra)
- San Juan National Historic Site (San Juan)
- El Yunque Rain Forest
- Bioluminescent (Mosquito) Bay (Isla de Vieques)
- Carabali Rainforest Park (Luquillo)
For more information about traveling to Puerto Rico, visit https://www.prtourism.com/dnn/Default.aspx.