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What are the Responsibilities of an Adoptive Parent?

Adoption is a way for families to give children love and support for their entire lives. It is estimated that up to 4% of U.S. families include an adopted child. In 2020, there were 95,306 children adopted domestically in the United States. Public adoptions comprise 58% and private adoptions 42% of domestic adoptions in the U.S.  Some adoptions are made by family members or by a stepparent. Regardless of the type of adoption, adoptive parents need to know their responsibilities and what is expected of them before they make an adoption.

What is Adoption?

Adoption is defined as the act where an adult formally takes over parental responsibilities of a child. Adoption refers to the process of becoming a legal parent of a child. Adoption is different from guardianship. Guardianship is generally a temporary situation that can occur when there is a possibility that the child and natural parents will reunite. Temporary guardianship can lead to adoption in cases where the natural parent terminates their legal rights.

Once the process is complete, the child’s natural parents must give up their rights and are, therefore, no longer legally obligated once an adoption is finalized. The adoption process can take some time and requires the review and approval of the adoptive parents. After adoption is final, the adoptive parents have all the same rights and responsibilities as biological parents.

Responsibilities of Adoptive Parents

Adoptive parents have the same responsibilities and are entitled to the same rights as natural parents. When adoption occurs, the natural parents of the child legally give up their rights and responsibilities, and these then go to the adoptive parents. An adoptive parent has legal custody of the child. The parent must provide all the necessities for the child, including but not limited to food, housing, and clothing. The adoptive parent is now responsible for giving the child everything he or she needs, now and in the future.

In addition to providing for the physical needs of a child, an adoptive parent also has the legal obligation to make decisions on behalf of the child. These may include decisions about education, religion, and health care, for example. The adoptive parent takes responsibility for the physical well-being of the child and must provide medical care when needed. Generally, legal parental responsibilities end once a child reaches the age of 18.

Qualifications to Become an Adoptive Parent

In order to become an adoptive parent, you must meet the qualifications. You must show that you have the ability to provide for a child, both emotionally and financially. An agency will typically conduct a thorough home study to ensure that the environment is good for a child. You will go through interviews in order to make sure that you are able to be a good parent. Most importantly, you must be able to provide for the child throughout his or her childhood. A child also needs love and support to allow for the best possible outcome.

Becoming an adoptive parent can be the most rewarding experience of your life. However, it does come with inherent responsibilities. If you are considering adoption, it is helpful to seek guidance from a reputable adoption attorney. To learn more about adoption, contact our legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. at (608) 784-8310 or online.

Published September 4, 2023
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