Adoption can be one of the most exciting and rewarding times of your life. As a prospective adoptive family, the law offices of Thomason & Pracht encourage you to become familiar with the adoption laws and processes in South Carolina.
Who Is Eligible to Adopt in South Carolina
While every state has their own adoption requirements. In South Carolina, you can adopt as long as you pass the home study requirements of the state. In addition, if you’re a non-resident of South Carolina, you may be able to adopt if one of the following set of circumstances is met:
- You are a relative of the child you want to adopt
- The child you are adopting has special needs
- At least one of you, meaning your or your spouse, is an active member of the military stationed in South Carolina
- The child you want to adopt has been in the foster care system for a period greater than 6 months, and a family in South Carolina hasn’t been found to adopt the child.
- There is an exceptional or unusual set of circumstances that dictate an out-of-state adoption would be in the best interests of the child.
The South Carolina Adoption Process
The processes involved in adopting a child in Anderson, South Carolina can vary depending on the type of adoption you are doing, but in general, the process to adopt a child is as follows:
- Home Study
- Matching you with the right child
- Relinquishment and placement
- Post Placement
- Finalization-Court Process
The Home Study Process in South Carolina
The home study is one of the most important steps for you to adopt a child. The home study is conducted by the agency you’re adopting from and normally includes 2 face-to-face interviews and separate interviews with every member of your family.
The home study process in South Carolina is meant to evaluate specific items such as:
- To check that the location and physical environment of your home is suitable for a child to be adopted
- You and your family’s motivation and feelings toward the adoption and how you plan to discuss the adoption with the child
- You and your spouse’s emotional maturity, strengths, weaknesses, relationships, health, and other factors that may have an effect on how you and your spouse parent the child.
- Pre-adoption classes or counseling you and your family have participated in before adopting.
- Any previous arrests, convictions, and a check with the child abuse registry. This includes any reports from you or your spouse being involved in a case of abuse or neglect concerning a child.
- Physical examinations of you and your spouse that have been completed within six months of the home study.
- Your financial situation and your ability to care for and financially raise a child.
- Any plans for child care if you and your spouse work outside the home.
- Community and personal character references.
Post Placement Study Requirements in South Carolina
One a child has been placed in your home, and prior to the finalization hearing in court, a post-placement study will be conducted. This study reviews the adoption petition and an evaluation will be completed to determine if the placement in your home was in the best interests of the child.
Placing a Baby Up For Adoption in South Carolina
If you’re pregnant and considering adoption, the law offices of Thomason and Pracht encourage you to become familiar with the laws and the processes involved in giving your baby up for adoption.
If you’re married, both parents must consent to the adoption.
If you’re single, you, the mother, must consent to your baby being adopted. The father of the child must consent only if one of the following conditions exist.
The baby was put up for adoption more than 6 months after it was born, and if the baby’s father maintained a relationship with the baby during that 6 months.
The baby was put up for adoption and the father of the baby lived with you or the baby for all of those 6 months, was known to claim the child as his, and paid a fair or reasonable amount of money to support the baby.
In cases where the child is older than 14 years of age and has the mental ability to do so, they are required to consent to the adoption.
If you and the father are deceased, or if you and the father’s rights have been terminated by the court, then the legal guardian, adoption agency, or legal custodian of the child, if authorized, must consent to the adoption of the child.
Once you give consent for your baby to be adopted in Anderson, South Carolina, you cannot take it back or revoke your consent. However, if the court finds that your consent was not voluntary or that revoking your consent may be in the best interest of the child, the court may revoke your consent. Once the final adoption decree is entered by the court, your consent is permanent and not revocable.
Unmarried Fathers Adoption Rights in Anderson, SC
If you’re the father of a child, and not married to its mother, you can request to receive any notice of an adoption proceeding involving your child. To do this, you must file a claim of paternity with the Responsible Father Registry within the required timeframe.
That timeframe is before or after the child is born provided it is before any action to terminate his rights, or a hearing for adoption has been filed with the court.
If you don’t file with the Responsible Father Registry, that will imply that you have an irrevocable waiver of rights to any notice of the adoption proceedings involving your child.
Retaining an Anderson, SC Adoption Lawyer
The law offices of Thomason & Pracht suggest that if you plan on adopting a child in South Carolina or plan on giving a baby up for adoption, you should hire a qualified Anderson, SC family law attorney familiar with the adoption laws and processes involved.
Adoption law is quite complex and can be confusing. It’s important to have someone you can talk to and who will help you through either adopting a child or placing a child up for adoption in South Carolina.