Considering adoption? If you’re beginning to think about growing your family through adoption, you probably have a lot of questions. One of them might be, “Am I qualified to adopt?” In this article, we’ll look at some of the barriers to adoption. You may be reassured when you see the list. On the other hand, if there are factors that could get in the way of adoption, we’ll suggest possible solutions.

A history of violent felonies

People who have committed violent crimes or who have a history of child abuse usually cannot adopt children. A criminal background check is part of the home study process for people who want to become adoptive parents in Arkansas. The background checks include a national check by the FBI, as well as state checks both in Arkansas and in any other state where the petitioner has lived in the past five years.

Smoking

All things being equal, smokers will not be chosen as adoptive parents. This rule is about the health and safety of the child, since second-hand smoke is a known danger for children’s health. While there can be exceptions for relative adoptions, courts generally do not want to place children in a home with a smoker.

Fortunately, this is a factor that you can changer. If you smoke now, you should stop when you being your adoption journey. You will have time to work with a smoking cessation counselor or your primary care physician to give up smoking before your home study visit.

Certain diagnoses

There are both physical and mental health conditions that can make it harder to become an adoptive parent. Essentially, the court will want to make sure that you will be healthy enough to care for the child you want to adopt.

Schizophrenia, late-stage cancer, and terminal diseases that may prevent you from living long enough to care for a child could all be barriers to adoption.

If you feel that your health might be an obstacle to becoming an adoptive parent, talk with your doctor. If your primary care physician doesn’t consider your medical condition a deal-breaker, ask for a letter saying so. This document will help the home study social worker and the court understand that your health is good enough for you to adopt a child.

Finances

You don’t have to be wealthy to adopt a child, but you must be financially stable and able to support a child in your home. If an honest look at your finances suggests that you wouldn’t be able to provide for a child, you may need to wait until you re in a stronger position before beginning your adoption journey.

Meet with a financial counselor if you are not sure, but don’t be discouraged. For many families, developing a budget and sticking to it can improve their financial position ¬†enough to solve this issue.

Substance abuse

Using illegal drugs or abusing alcohol can be enough to disqualify a person from adopting a child. This can be an issue even if you do not have any criminal convictions for drug use. Past use may be a different situation.

However, decisions about substance abuse are generally made on a case-by-case basis. There are rarely absolute requirements for sobriety for a certain length of time, or policies absolutely disqualifying everyone who has ever used drugs.

At Heimer Law, we are here to answer your questions without judgement. We can help you decide whether you are ready to begin your adoption journey, or may need to make some changes before you start. Call (479) 225.9725 to start the conversation.

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