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If you are ready to open your home to a child who needs one in Indiana, you probably have many questions about adoption in Indiana. The process involved in adopting a child in Indiana is relatively straightforward, depending on your criminal history and whether or not it is a contested adoption. There are costs of adoption to be considered, like completing the home study and taking the required training. It is always wise to consult with an experienced Indiana adoption attorney when you start the process so you understand what is legally required and to make sure that all qualifications and requirements are met on time. Read on to find out more about the Indiana requirements for adoption.  


What are the Requirements to Adopt in Indiana?


There are requirements to qualify, and there are also licensing steps that need to be taken. Read on to find out what Indiana requires in order to adopt a child.  



Licensing for Indiana Adoption


There are licensing requirements you and your partner (if you have one) must fulfill in order to adopt a child in Indiana:  


1-You and any partner must complete 16 hours of training in order to adopt  


2-You and any partner must pass a Child Protective Services check. This check is a background check in order to ensure that you have never been the subject of a CPS investigation or prosecution. The adoption worker will search to see if there are any substantiated CPS complaints in Indiana or any other state for the five years prior to your adoption application. Occasionally, you may get a waiver if a substantiated complaint to CPS is made.  


3-A criminal background check is done with a fingerprint search. An incomplete background check will conditionally disqualify a potential adopter. Crimes that will disqualify an adoptive parent are any misdemeanor related to the health or safety of a child, a felony conviction, more than four misdemeanors, or a juvenile conviction that, if committed by an adult, would disqualify the adult. There are 22 listed felonies, and some examples would be domestic violence, manslaughter, assault, neglect, child selling, and incest.  


4-Neither you nor any partner may be listed on a sex offender registry.  


5-You and any partner must pass a local law enforcement check. The adoption worker will request and review any reports filed with local law enforcement.  


6-Complete the home study process. The home study process can be a bit time-consuming. When a home study is conducted, an adoption worker or counselor will visit your home and see how you lead your daily life. The counselor or worker will also conduct interviews with all members of the household and see if they are ready to welcome a new family member.  


Qualifications for Indiana Adoption


There are few qualifications necessary to adopt in Indiana.  


1-You must pass all of the licensing requirements listed above.  


2-You must have been a resident of the state of Indiana to file a petition to adopt a child in Indiana. Sometimes if the potential adoptee is considered “hard to place” for reasons like age or medical condition, the requirement that you be a resident of Indiana will be waived.  


3-If you are married, some agencies will require that you be married for a certain period of time before they will allow you to apply for adoption, but by law, you are not required to be married to adopt a child. Some agencies may require that the potential adopters be a married couple.  


What Does It Cost to Adopt in Indiana?


The cost of adoption can vary, depending on how you go about it. You can count on having to pay for the home study and a fee for the required training and background checks. You may hire your own attorney to handle the legal paperwork, or the agency you go through can include the legal work in an all-inclusive fee. Some agency prices can go as high as $10,000, but other, less expensive options are available. Take the time to look at what each agency offers and what is included before deciding so you can avoid surprise costs if some aspect of the adoption process is not included in what you pay the agency. It is also a great idea to talk to an independent attorney who does adoptions to get an idea of what the legal processes are involved.  


Step-Parent and Relative Adoptions


These fall into a slightly different category than a standard adoption because they involve family members and usually existing relationships. A home study will still need to take place.  


Step-Parent Adoption


Legally stepparents have no legal say over their step-children. The biological parent would have to step aside and consent to the adoption. This is helpful if the stepparent would like to have their step-child or children as legal heirs or if the biological parent would like the stepparent to raise the children in the event of the biological parent’s death. A home study will still need to be conducted if the adoption is a stepparent adoption, and the stepparent will still need to have a clean CPS and criminal record. A petition must be filed in court, and the other bio-parent must have a legal notice. If the matter is contested, the opposing parent must present convincing evidence that the adoption does not go through. It would be best if you had an attorney to help you with a stepparent adoption. For more information on a contested adoption read our article, What Happens When an Adoption is Contested?


Relative Adoption


A relative adoption in Indiana is also referred to as a “kinship” adoption, where an extended family member would like to adopt a relative who is a child. It is primarily a legal proceeding where the relative will file a petition with the court and provide notice to the bio parents (if they are alive), and the court will consider the petition. If the bio-parents have had their parental right terminated, they are not entitled to notice.  


The adoption process might seem intimidating initially, but when you consider the impact the adoption will have on everyone involved, the necessary steps make good sense. If you are considering beginning the adoption process and looking for assistance or advice, feel free to call O’Flaherty Law. Our attorneys would be very happy to help you.

November 24, 2022
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