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Considering becoming a parent through adoption in Wisconsin? Congratulations, adoption is a caring and wonderful thing to do for a child or children who need a safe and loving home. Adopting a child in Wisconsin is not that different or unusual compared to other states’ adoption processes. Adoption is a legal process, so it is essential to understand the requirements and steps when you are ready to move forward. Ideally, you should at least consult with an experienced Wisconsin adoption attorney before beginning the process to understand what is required and make the adoption proceed quickly and without issues. This article is for people who would like to understand what is required and what they can generally expect. Read on to learn more about adoptive parent requirements in Wisconsin.
How Do I Adopt a Child in Wisconsin?
The process begins with ensuring that you meet all the requirements of the State of Wisconsin needed to adopt a child. The requirements to adopt are covered later in the article.
Once it is shown that you meet the initial requirements, you will go through whatever screening process that the agency requires before they allow adoption. The adoption agency will require you to complete some classes or training on becoming an adoptive parent. You can expect something called a “home study” to be conducted. A home study is when the agency investigates most of the following things:
- the home and surrounding neighborhood
- the daily life of adoptive parents
- your family background and financial status (they will ask for financial disclosures)
- your reasons for wanting to adopt
- any parenting experience you might have
- your educational background and employment status
- conduct interviews with all immediate family members about possible adoption and their feelings
- give approval and a recommendation to children your family can parent
It can take up to six months for the home study to be completed. This step is crucial because the adoption agencies do not want to place a child in a home that is not entirely ready to take on another family member. The worst thing that could happen is for a child to be placed in a home that is not ready for them or does not want them. The child could end up being the victim of abuse or be returned to the adoption agency.
There may be an additional step for adopting a special needs child, such as demonstrating that you can act as the primary caregiver or hiring in-home assistance to meet the child’s special needs. Many special needs children already residing in foster homes in Wisconsin need a permanent and loving family. There is some financial assistance available through the state for covering the medical costs of the special needs child that an adoptive parent can also be granted.
If you pass the home study and can move forward, the following steps are usually picking up the child and attending the adoption hearing. Your Wisconsin adoption attorney can tell you what to expect at the adoption hearing. For a more in depth look at the adoption process as a whole in Wisconsin check out our article, The Wisconsin Adoption Process Explained.
What Does It Cost to Adopt a Child in Wisconsin?
The costs vary depending on whether or not you are adopting a child from the United States or another county. The costs for international adoption are greater. It also depends on if you are adopting a newborn child, which can come with the costs of supporting the birth mother. If you are working with an adoption agency, they should be able to provide you with a schedule of anticipated fees. If it is an intra-family adoption, it could cost less. If you hire an attorney to assist you with the adoption, the attorney should be able to give you a ballpark figure of associated costs and fees.
What Are the Adoption Requirements in Wisconsin?
The initial requirements to adopt a child in Wisconsin are listed below, with some general explanations:
Once you have met the initial requirements, you and the agency can move forward with the home study and any recommendations.
Depending on the birth mother’s situation, there are special considerations to keep in mind when adopting a newborn. If the birth mother is still pregnant, you may be able and even expected to assist her financially while she completes the pregnancy and gives birth. If you have an open adoption, you may stay in touch with each other over the years in order to share news on the growth and happiness of the adopted child. If you agree to a closed adoption, that means that once you take the baby from the hospital, there will be no further communication between the adoptive parents and the birth parents.
People often wonder if the birth father can give or withhold consent in the adoption of a newborn. If the birth mother does not know the birth father, they are expected to make a diligent effort to find him and obtain consent.
If the birth mother is unsure but thinks a man may be the birth father, he can consent to the adoption and waive his parental rights. He can also fight adoption and demand genetic testing if he wants to keep and raise the child. There is also the possibility that the right of the birth father could be terminated involuntarily, depending on the facts and circumstances of the situation.
If the birth father is identified and consents to the adoption, his parental rights will be terminated along with the birth mother’s parental rights in the adoption process.
So, if you are considering becoming an adoptive parent in Wisconsin, now you have an idea of what is required and the steps that will need to be completed. The family law attorneys at O’Flaherty Law are experienced in handling Wisconsin adoptions, and if you would like to schedule a consult would be very happy to help you. Feel free to reach out and schedule a telephone consultation today.