FAQ Adoption in Oklahoma
Adoption is a life changing decision for families in Oklahoma. Choosing to love and raise a child is a wonderful thing. However, the adoption process is often emotional and complicated. Knowledge is power and educating yourself about adoption in Oklahoma will make the adoption process easier on you and your family. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to get clear answers to your difficult and important questions about adoption in Oklahoma.
Your Fierce Advocates® at Cannon & Associates are dedicating to answering your questions and want to help you and your family through the adoption process in Oklahoma. Our owner and founder, John Cannon, has adopted and hopes more families will give the gift of loving a child as their own.
Free Resources from OKC Adoption Attorneys:
Our team of Your Fierce Advocates® at Cannon & Associates is led by Army Veteran, John Cannon and we’re privileged to help clients on their journey to adopting in Oklahoma. We hope this page answers most of your questions about adoption in Oklahoma. Please find FREE RESOURCES on our YouTube page and our website, until we meet to answer your specific Oklahoma City adoption questions. You may also CALL NOW at (405) 972-8604, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week for a free case planning session to understand your options and rights when seeking to adopt in Oklahoma!
There are several steps that must be completed prior to adopting in Oklahoma. The following is a general overview of the Oklahoma adoption process:
- Choose an Oklahoma adoption attorney and agency: it is in your best interest to work with an experienced Oklahoma adoption attorney to help you through the complicated process of adoption in Oklahoma. Alternatively, you can work with an adoption agency, which cannot represent you in the legal proceeding or give you legal advice on your adoption, but can assist with other aspects of adoption in Oklahoma. In your search, we advise you to look at customer reviews and speak to people you trust in the community prior to committing to work with an Oklahoma adoption attorney or adoption agency.
- Adoption Orientation or Case Planning: our Oklahoma adoption attorneys provide adoption case planning to inform prospective parents about the steps and hurdles of adoption in Oklahoma. Whether you decide to work with our Oklahoma adoption attorneys or not, it is important to orient yourself to the complicated process of adoption. Additionally, some adoption agencies provide orientation or a road map to the Oklahoma adoption process.
- Complete the Adoption Home Study: the home study process for adoption in Oklahoma can be lengthy and stressful; however, it basically comes down to following the required steps by the social worker in order to ensure that your home and your family are suitable to adopt a child in Oklahoma. See below for more information on “What is a home study for Oklahoma Adoption?”
- Build Adoption Profile: adoption is part marathon and part sales pitch of your family. Your Oklahoma adoption profile is a tool to show birth parents how you are the perfect fit for placement! Our adoption team will assist you in building a powerful adoption profile, including information about you and your family.
- Match with Birth Parents: once your home study is complete, the process slows down as you must wait for a birth parent to match with you.
- Finalize Adoption in Oklahoma: once you have matched with a birth parent, your adoption will need to be taken before the court to make your adoption legal. Our Oklahoma adoption attorneys will do all the leg work for you and explain every step of the process to make this last and complex step as simple as possible.
When you fail to file the correct legal documents in your adoption, you are exposed to the birth parent or a family member of the birth parent seeking to remove the child from your home in the future. The potential downsides to an adoption not being completed correctly makes working with an experienced Oklahoma City adoption attorney so valuable. You and your family will not regret working with an experienced Oklahoma City adoption lawyer to guide you through the process and give you peace of mind when your adoption is complete.
What is a Home Study in Oklahoma Adoption?
The home study is a required step in any adoption in Oklahoma. You must have a positive written home study, which was written within the past 12 months in order to have a child placed in your home for adoption in Oklahoma, It is the government’s way to evaluate, if you and your home are suitable for a child or another child to live with you. The purpose of an adoption home study in Oklahoma is to ensure you are financially stable enough to support the adopted child, your home is safe, and that your family is mentally and emotionally able to adopt. The factors of an Oklahoma adoption home study consist of the following:
- Background checks and reference checks for adults in the home
- Medical exam or letter of good health from primary care physician
- Fingerprinting for OSBI background check and database purposes
- Verification of your financial ability to adopt, including income and insurance
- Interviews of all family mebers in the home to assess your family’s overall capacity to adopt
- Completion of family orientation course required by the state
The length of time it takes to complete an adoption in Oklahoma can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the type of adoption, the age of the child, and the specific circumstances of the adoption.
For example, an adoption of an older child or a child with special needs may take longer than the adoption of a newborn infant. Likewise, the time it takes to complete an adoption can be affected by the availability of birth parents, the number of prospective adoptive parents waiting to be matched with a child, and the complexity of the legal process.
In general, the adoption process in Oklahoma can take anywhere from several months to over a year to complete, depending on the circumstances. It's important to keep in mind that while waiting for an adoption match, prospective adoptive parents may also need to complete various requirements, such as a home study, background checks, and training.
It's a good idea to work closely with an experienced adoption professional who can provide guidance and support throughout the process, and can also help manage expectations regarding the timeline of the adoption.
A contested adoption is a situation where one or both birth parents object to the adoption and contest the termination of their parental rights. This can make the adoption process more complex and difficult, and may require the involvement of the court to resolve.
In a contested adoption, the birth parent who is contesting the adoption will typically need to prove that they are fit and capable of caring for their child. This may involve presenting evidence of their ability to provide a stable home environment, financial stability, and a willingness to be involved in their child's life.
If the birth parent is successful in proving their fitness and the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child to remain with them, the adoption may be denied. However, if the court determines that the adoptive parents are better suited to provide for the child's needs, the adoption may proceed.
The specific steps involved in a contested adoption will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, and may include court hearings, mediation, and the involvement of adoption attorneys or other legal professionals.
It's important to note that contested adoptions can be emotionally difficult for all parties involved, including the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the child. It's recommended that you work with an experienced Oklahoma adoption attorney if you are fighting to adopt or contesting an adoption for support and guidance throughout the Oklahoma adoption process.
The cost of adoption in Oklahoma can vary depending on several factors, including the type of adoption, the Oklahoma adoption attorney you work with, and the specific circumstances of the adoption.
Adoption costs can include fees for home study, background checks, legal services, counseling, and travel expenses. The cost can also include expenses related to the birth mother's medical care, living expenses, and legal fees.
Here are some estimated costs for different types of adoption in Oklahoma:
- Domestic adoption: The cost of a domestic adoption in Oklahoma can range from $7,500 to $20,000 or more.
- International adoption: International adoptions can be more expensive than domestic adoptions, with costs ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 or more.
- Foster care adoption: Adopting a child from foster care in Oklahoma is usually less expensive than other types of adoption, with little to no cost for adoption fees. However, there may be some costs associated with home study, training, and working with an experienced Oklahoma adoption attorney.
It's important to note that our Oklahoma adoption legal team offers financing options to make the costs of adoption more manageable. Additionally, the IRS has substantial tax credits available for adoptive parents, which our team would be glad to provide you information.
The number of children waiting to be adopted in Oklahoma is constantly changing; however, on average there are between 300 and 700 children in Oklahoma that are eligible for adoption. This number does not include the nearly 10,000 children in out-of-home care from neglect and abuse that may become eligible for adoption.
Most children in the state that are in this situation are in foster care or a group home due to their parent’s inability to provide for them financially or emotionally. We work with the state of Oklahoma to help bring suitable parents and children in need together.
In order to be eligible to adopt a child in Oklahoma, you must be emotionally, mentally, and financially capable of caring for a child or another child, if you already have children in your home. The following are general criteria that the state considers in evaluating your eligibility for adoption in Oklahoma:
- Have the capacity to safely care for a child, including clothing, feeding, loving, and otherwise caring for the child
- Relative good health, both physically and mentally
- Earn sufficient income or possess funds to care for your family
- Manage your personal finances and provide for your family’s needs
- Live in a home with sleeping arrangements sufficient for another child
- Be over the age of 21 years old
Yes, your eligibility to adopt or your application to adopt in Oklahoma can be rejected for a number of reasons. The most common reasons an application to adopt is rejected in Oklahoma is based on a legal reason, such as history of abuse or neglect in your home or a criminal record of an adult in your home.
As stated above, anyone over the age of 21 can adopt in Oklahoma, including a married, but legally separated couple, a single adult that petitions to adopt as a single parent, same sex couple that petitions for joint adoption, and partners, including LGBTQ+ partners through second-parent adoption or as step-parents.
No, you do not have to be married to adopt in Oklahoma. In fact, many single men or women adopt children waiting to be adopted in Oklahoma.
Yes, you can adopt in Oklahoma, if you have gone through divorce. Parents that have gone through life changing events are often more prepared to support a child facing a difficult change in their life.
Age in and of itself is often not a factor that stops potential adoptive parents in Oklahoma from adopting a child. The state and adoption agencies are concerned with your ability to raise a child and be active in their life until they reach the age of adulthood. Many adoptive parents are over the age of 60 when they adopt a child.
There are three primary categories of adoption in Oklahoma: relative adoption, where one adoptive parent is related to the child; non-relative adoption, where neither adoptive parent is related to the child; and adult adoptions.
The three primary categories of adoption in Oklahoma are further divided into the following Oklahoma adoption categories and descriptions. Closed versus open adoptions refer to the connection and communication between the adoptive family and the birth parents/birth family after the adoption. However, the other descriptors relate to the relationship in the adoption or how the adoption occured:
- Relative adoptions
- Kinship adoptions
- Stepparent adoptions
- Foster care adoptions
- Interstate adoptions
- International adoptions
- Infant Adoptions
- Special needs adoptions
- Contested adoptions
- Uncontested adoptions
- Private adoptions
- Closed adoptions
When completed corrected, birth parents typically cannot get a child back after an adoption, if it is done legally and the time period for the state where the child lived prior to adoption has passed for the birth parents to recover parental rights.
Full adoptions require biological parents or birth parents to forfeit all legal parental rights, which removes all legal authority over the child or children when the adoption is finalized. Unfortunately, some parents do change their mind and decide to keep the child after committing to adoption; however, this is very rare and almost always occurs prior to the final adoption hearing. In the majority of cases, parents have given up their legal rights prior to placement and the child can legally be adopted prior to the placement being finalized.
It is important to ensure the birth mother is of sound mind, i.e. any pain medication from giving birth has worn off and she is able to make decisions clearly. Birth parents typically sign the legal documents to finalize the adoption and forfeit legal rights within three to five days following the birth. However, sensitivity to this process is key.
Oklahoma DHS has resources available to reduce your out of pocket expenses for a special needs adoption, which typically fall under adoption assistance. Monthly adoption subsidies are available in many difficult adoption circumstances. Our Oklahoma adoption attorneys would be glad to answer your other questions regarding special needs adoptions.
An open adoption is when some element of communication or connect will continue once the adoption process is finalized. Conversely, a closed adoption does not involve any shared information or communication between the birth parents and the adoptive parents.
The level of “openness” in an adoption varies greatly based upon the desires of the parties to the adoption. Some open adoptions in Oklahoma involve regular communication between the adoptive parents and the birth parents. Other open adoptions involve a shared folder where photographs and videos are placed of the adopted child for the birth parents or birth family to see how they are growing.
When considering an open or closed adoption, it is important to speak with your chosen Oklahoma adoption attorney to ensure you understand your options and know what level of communication you want after the adoption is finalized. The level of communication is commonly put in writing to protect the adoptive parents from pressure to provide more information than they want after the process is completed.
Yes, in order to finalize the legal documents for an adoption in Oklahoma, you need to work with an experienced Oklahoma adoption attorney. You are free to hire any adoption attorney in Oklahoma that you want to work with or you may apply for assistance with an attorney through Oklahoma DHS.
You are not required to work with an adoption attorney as the birth parent. However, the legal fees to ensure your rights are protected will be paid by the adoptive family. Therefore, it is in your interest to consider working with an experienced Oklahoma adoption attorney to protect your interests in your Oklahoma adoption.
It depends, birth mothers must agree to the level of “openness” of the adoption, i.e. adoptive parents cannot force a birth mother to never see the child. However, some birth mothers choose to not have any contact with the child after the birth. This is a very sensitive topics and should be handled gently on both sides of adoption.
Yes, the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) did away with the prior geographical boundaries for adoption. Now, state agencies may expedite permanent placement whenever a family is available that has completed the prerequisites to adoption in any state. Meaning, when we assist prospective adoptive families in the search for a child to adopt, the entire nation is available for children to place in your home. The federal ASFA provides obligations upon every state, which prevents agencies within different states from denying placement based upon where a prospective adoptive family lives.