Archives for December 2018

Deciding Whether to Adopt Domestically or Internationally

How to Choose Where Your Adopted Child Will Be From

According to the U.S. Department of State, there were 4,714 children born in foreign countries who were then adopted by American parents in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Therefore, you certainly won’t be alone in your desire to adopt an international child. However, is that necessarily in your best interest?

LGBTQ Couples May Be Banned from Adoption in Some Areas

If you are a part of the LGBTQ community, you won’t be able to adopt a child from China, India or Ethiopia. However, it is legal to do so in all 50 American states. This is based on a series of rulings from the Supreme Court. It may just be easier for you to adopt an American child in such a scenario as opposed to attempting to do so internationally.

How Much Money Do You Make?

Let’s say that you wanted to adopt a child in South Korea. To do so, you would be required to have an income that is higher than the median average in the United States. For the most part, an adoption court in New Jersey would look at whether an individual can reasonably provide for a child. Therefore, you would only need to make a stable income that would be adequate enough to pay for food, shelter and other basic needs that a minor would likely have.

How Old Are You?

If you are between the ages of 30 and 50, you are likely able to adopt a child in most countries throughout the world. In some cases, you can adopt children as soon as you turn 18, assuming that there is a sufficient age gap between you and the child. As a general rule, you would need to be 10 to 15 years older than the child. New Jersey law says that you have to be 10 years older than the child you want to adopt. Our NJ adoption lawyer may be able to explain any other rules that may apply in your case.

Do You Have Time and Money to Visit the Child?

To adopt a child in Haiti, you must take two trips to the island totaling as many as 22 days altogether. The first trip lasts for 15 days while the second lasts for two to seven days. If you want to adopt a child in Uganda, you must first foster that child in the country for a year. If you are a New Jersey resident looking to adopt a child in New Jersey, the child will first be fostered in your home for six months, so there may not be a need to take time off from work or spend thousands of dollars on travel to adopt at home.

What Is Your Adoption Timeline?

In many foreign countries, it can take several months to receive a referral from an adoption agency. After the referral is made, it can take several more months or years before the adoption becomes official. For instance, it can take two months for a referral and another five months before the adoption of a Colombian child becomes official. If you are looking to adopt a child from Taiwan, it can be 16 months for a referral and another nine months for placement.

If you are looking to adopt a child in New Jersey, it may be possible to receive the child within days of a parent signing a surrender document. However, the birth parent may be able to revoke the surrender until parental rights are official terminated. This generally happens at a hearing that takes place three to four months after receiving the child. Regardless, a birth parent or adoption agency may place the child in your care within days or weeks of the adoption being agreed to.

Adopting a child can be a complex process, but our NJ adoption lawyer may be able to make it easier on you. If you are looking to adopt a child at home or internationally, contact Cofsky & Zeidman in Haddonfield by calling (856) 429-5005.

Adopting a Child From the State System in New Jersey

New Jersey Public Adoptions Through the State Agency

There are multiple ways people can adopt children in New Jersey, and these include working with a private agency, making a separate arrangement with the birth parents or adopting through the state’s Office of Adoptions Operations. In most cases, adoptions that take place through the Department of Children and Families, Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCP&P) involve foster parents who have already developed a relationship with the children. The state has a mandate to reunite children in foster care with their birth families, but adoption can be an alternative when reunification is not possible for some reason.

Foster Care and Adoption in New Jersey

In some cases, years of foster care and attempted family reunification may not be prerequisites, and children may be available for permanent placement on a more immediate basis. However, the children who are available often face various challenges. They may be older, have special needs or require placement as part of a sibling group. In some cases, adoption subsidies are available to assist parents with the costs of supporting these children. Adoption subsidies can apply to medical coverage, legal fees or maintenance payments, and around 98 percent of children adopted in this way receive a subsidy. Our NJ adoption attorney can provide you with more information about the advantages and complications of working within the public system.

In order to become a foster parent and move through the state system, you must meet eligibility criteria. You may then specify the types of children you are willing to foster who need homes. The state does not discriminate against prospective parents on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity or marital or domestic status.

Home Studies for NJ Foster Care and Adoption

After you pass an initial review stage, a DCP&P resource family worker will contact you to begin a home study. While a home study is also required for private adoptions in New Jersey, the process associated with becoming a foster or an adoptive parent through the state is more intense.

During the process, the state provides 27 hours of training to parents, including background on the experiences and needs of adopted children. It is important to understand that many aspects of going through the state system can be challenging, and the emotional demands are not the least of these. Children can be reunited with their birth families after a long period of bonding with foster parents. In addition, many children in care face significant personal difficulties. Some have experienced trauma prior to the placement.

A home study involves:

  • Health checks
  • Income verification
  • Child abuse record checks
  • Criminal background checks
  • Personal and employment references
  • Interviews with those living in the home

Whether they plan to adopt or wish to remain as foster parents, all resource families must go through the home study process. In addition, the family and home must be licensed through an inspection.

Matching a Parent With a Potential Adoptive Child

Prospective parents approved after a home study are entered into the system for a preliminary match of available children. If a child is already eligible for adoption, the placement will be supervised for at least six months by a state caseworker. This supervision will include home visits and other kinds of support.

If no issues arise during that time, DCP&P will consent to the adoption. Note that this only applies to children who are already available for adoption; children in foster care normally remain in the system for a much longer time, and depending on their circumstances, they may never be deemed eligible. The state’s consent will be forwarded to the parents’ NJ adoption attorney who can then file a petition for adoption, secure a date for the final hearing and obtain an amended birth certificate for the child.

Parents considering working through the state system to adopt a child can work with our NJ adoption attorney at Cofsky & Zeidman. Attorney Donald C. Cofsky has helped over 1,500 families grow over the years. To set up an appointment for a consultation with an experienced adoption lawyer, call our office in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 or our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555.

 Jump to top