The Green Mountain State may be one of the least populous states in the country, but that hasn’t stopped countless families from successfully adopting there. If you are considering adoption in Vermont, either as an expecting mother or a hopeful family, you likely have many questions about state-specific laws, processes, and resources. Here, you can find everything you need to know about adoption in Vermont.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Vermont
All adoptive families in Vermont must meet the state’s eligibility criteria and follow the proper legal processes. In the following sections, you will find information on the most important Vermont laws for adoptive parents.
What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in Vermont?
In Vermont, any individual or partner of a biological parent may adopt a child.
What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in Vermont?
Each state has unique regulations regarding what expenses a family can pay on behalf of a birth mother. In Vermont, the following expenses can be paid in a reasonable amount:
- Medical expenses for the mother or the child
- Counseling services
- Transportation for adoption services
- Additional expenses deemed necessary by the court
These payments may continue for up to 6 weeks after the birth of the child.
What are the laws to become a foster parent in Vermont?
In Vermont, you must meet the following requirements to be eligible as a foster parent:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Have a home with enough room for a child
- Show proof of sufficient income
For more information, visit the Vermont Department for Children and Families.
What are the requirements to finalize an international adoption in Vermont?
Vermont recognizes a properly obtained foreign adoption decree the same as they recognize an adoption in the state. Therefore, no additional steps must be taken to finalize the adoption. However, if you would like to obtain a U.S. birth certificate for purposes of changing your child’s name, you may do so through the Supervisor of Vital Records. To do this, you must send a written request for a new birth certificate and a record of the adoption.
Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in Vermont?
Vermont laws do not contain any information on advertisement got adoption. However, birth parents and adoptive parents may both receive assistance in finding a placement for adoption.
No money or anything of value may be exchanged for:
- The placement of a minor for adoption
- Consent to adoption or relinquishment to an agency
- Recruitment of nonresident birth mothers to Vermont for adoption
If you have any questions or concerns, speak to your adoption professional.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in Vermont
Each state has laws to protect the parental rights of women who are considering adoption for their babies. As you begin your adoption journey in Vermont, here are some of the things you need to know.
When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?
Birth parents may not give legal consent to an adoption until at least 36 hours after the birth of the baby. Consent must only be executed after the parent has been informed of the permanence of an adoption decision as well as other information and procedures. Then, consent shall be executed in writing in the presence of a judge or other person appointed to take consents.
Who must consent to the adoption?
In Vermont, the following individuals must consent when applicable:
- The birth mother
- The father as identified by the mother or otherwise established by court
- A man who is or was married to the birth mother within 300 days of the birth
- A man who is not married to the mother, has acknowledged paternity, and have expressed a commitment to parenthood
- Any other guardian or adoptive parent authorized to give consent
- The child, if over 14 years of age
When is parental consent not needed in Vermont adoptions?
An adoption does not require the consent of these individuals:
- Anyone who has relinquished parental rights or whose rights have been terminated by a court
- A man who has not been married to the mother and issues a statement denying paternity or interest in raising the child
- The representative of a deceased parent’s estate
- A parent who fails to respond to a notice of adoption
- A child over 14 when it is found that adoption is in the best interests of the minor
When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable?
Except in extenuating circumstances, consent becomes irrevocable 21 days after being executed.
What rights does the father of the baby have in Vermont adoptions?
A parent is defined as a child’s legal mother or father, or anyone whose consent is required and whose parental rights have not been terminated.
Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in Vermont
The home study is one of the major landmarks on any adoptive family’s journey, as it shows that they are officially ready to receive an adoptive placement. To complete a home study in Vermont, you will need to follow the guidelines and requirements listed below.
What is included in the Vermont home study process?
In a Vermont home study, the home study provider will acquire the following information through home visits and interviews:
- Basic information on the family (age, race, etc.)
- Marital status and age of other children in the household
- Parenting experience
- Physical and mental health checks
- Proof of home and financial security
- Child abuse and criminal background checks
- Motivations and attitudes toward adoption
- Any other relevant information that might affect the wellbeing of the child
Who is included in the home study process?
The Vermont home study provider will assess all members of the family.
Who will conduct the home study?
In Vermont, only a qualified, licensed, and court-appointed provider may conduct a home study.
On what grounds will the home study not be approved in Vermont?
A home study provider may deny approval to prospective families if it is determined to be in the best interests of a child, for reasons of physical or emotional wellbeing.
When should the home study be completed? When must the home study be renewed?
Home studies must be completed before parents receive placement of a child. A completed home study is valid for 12 months.
What is a post-placement study in the adoption process? What are the post-placement study requirements for Vermont?
A post-placement study is a series of assessments after the placement of a child, ensuring that the child and the family are doing well. In Vermont, the post-placement assessment should take place within 5 days of placement. If there are any changes in the home environment, they will be noted here. From there, a written evaluation will be sent to the court within 60 days.
What are the home study requirements for stepparent or relative adoptions in Vermont?
A preplacement study will not be required in the case of relative adoptions. In stepparent adoptions, a less intensive version of a family assessment may be conducted.
What are the home study requirements to adopt a child from another state?
Interstate adoptions must comply with Vermont state laws as well as requirements for the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).
What are the requirements to adopt a child that is currently in my care?
Vermont statutes do not address foster-to-adopt placements. To learn about this process, speak to your nearest foster care professional.
To learn more about the Vermont home study or get started, contact one of the following professionals:
- Wide Horizons for Children
At WHFC, you can complete a domestic or international home study regardless of where you live in the country.
Vermont Adoption Professionals
You have many options for adoption professionals that can help you on your journey. Here, you can find a list of adoption professionals licensed in Vermont:
- American Adoptions
- Vermont Department for Children and Families
- Friends for Adoption
- Murdoch, Hughes, & Twarog, Attorneys at Law, PC
Things to do in Vermont
If you are travelling to Vermont for Adoption, you may find yourself in the state for an extended period of time, either visiting a birth mother or waiting for ICPC clearance. During that time, here are a few places you may want to visit: