are some of the most frequently asked questions about adoption:
- What happens with a child's birth
After a child's adoption is finalized, most state courts issue an order sealing
the original birth certificate so that no one will have access to it without
the court's permission. A new birth certificate is then issued with the
adoptive parents listed as the child's mother and father.
- Must a child consent to his or
her adoption? Most
states require older children, usually ages 14 and over, to consent to their
own adoption. However, many states allow
a judge to waive the child's consent if the child is unfit to give consent or
if the court finds that the adoption is in the best interests of the child.
How does adopting a child affect
the adoptive parents' taxes?
Parents who adopted a child, domestically or internationally, and who paid
out-of-pocket expenses to do so are entitled to claim an adoption tax credit
($11,650 in 2008). Once a child has been formally adopted, they may be claimed
as dependents on income tax returns just like biological children.
- What rights to adoptive parents
have? Once a
final decree of adoption is issued, adoptive parents have the same legal rights
and responsibilities to their adopted child as they would to a biological
child. By the same token, adopted children are entitled to the same laws of inheritance
as biological children.
- Once a child is adopted, can the
birth mother take the child back?
Once the birth parents have relinquished their parental rights or had their
parental rights terminated, and the final adoption decree is issued by a judge,
the adoption becomes final and irrevocable. Many states provide a short time
period in which the birth parents can revoke their consent to the adoption; in
such cases, the adoption becomes irrevocable once that time period expires.
- How much does adoption cost? Adoptions can vary greatly in
cost, ranging from fully-subsidized adoptions via state agencies to more than
$30,000 for domestic infant and international adoptions. Fortunately, qualified
parents are eligible for an adoption tax credit ($11,650 in 2008), and many
states and employers offer additional benefits to assist with adoption costs.
How long does adoption take? The amount of time
between beginning the adoption process and finalizing and adoption varies
greatly depending on what type of adoption you seek. Where adoptions of
relatives, step-children, or special needs/waiting children may take only a few
months, the adoption of a domestic infant or international child can take