Every state has its own unique adoption laws. And then there are federal laws (ICPC, ICWA, CCA of 2000, OBRA of 1993, FLMA, MEPA of 1994 and even international laws (Hague). The following information and links will provided valuable resources to laws relating to child adoption. If you are working with an adoption agency or adoption attorney they should help you deal with all of these laws. If you are trying to do this on your own, I suggest you get the advice of an attorney or agency.
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We have provided you with this access to the child adoption law for each of the 50 U.S. states. In a domestic adoption the state child adoption laws of the birth mother, birth father, your state of residence, and the laws of the state where the adoption will be finalized need to be addressed.
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) applies in all interstate adoptions. It controls the movement of any child across state lines when the transfer is being done in relation to an adoption. Accordingly, if you live in one state and take custody of a child in another state with adoption in mind, the child cannot leave the state where the child resides or enter your state of residence until both states have given permission.
The Indian Child Welfare Act is one of the federal laws that applies to adoption in all states. It protects the right of Native American Indians who may be eligible for tribal membership. Given the significant number of children born in the U.S. who have at least some degree of Native American Indian heritage, it is critical for you and your adoption agency to meet the requirements of the ICWA.
The Child Citizenship Act of 2000automatically gives United States citizenship to certain foreign-born children adopted by citizens of the United States.
A section of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation guarantees adopted children the same access to health insurance as birth children. This is an important resource for you since many insurance carriers try to avoid paying adoption related expenses that may in fact be covered.
Every international adoption by a U.S. family, and most international adoptions by citizens of other countries, are affected by the Hague Convention. This is treaty among member countries that sets internationally agreed-upon minimum procedures for all adoptions taking place between member countries.
Information about Adoption Expenses will help you understand the regulation of the fees that adoptive parents are expected to pay when arranging a child adoption placement. Some of the fees and expenses that are typically addressed in the statutes are placement costs, legal expenses for you and both birth parents, and some of the expenses of the birth mother during pregnancy.
The information on Use of Advertising in Adoption deals with the regulation by many states of adoption related advertising, including advertising for birth mothers. You will find that many states have enacted laws that either prohibit or regulate the means of making private child adoption placements.
The FMLA provides that an employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 work-weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for several reasons, including an adoptive placement.
The MEPA was enacted to decrease the time children in foster care wait to be adopted, to prevent discrimination in child adoption placements and to facilitate the recruitment of foster and adoptive parents. While this law addresses many important child adoption issues, knowledge of the specifics of the Act has little practical everyday use for most adopting families.
Child Adoption Laws is a comprehensive site on adoption related laws. It covers U.S. state adoption laws, interstate adoption law, and international adoption law.
Dr Vince Berger
and the staff of Adoption Services
Adoption Services, Inc
28 Central Blvd
Camp Hill, PA 17011