Whether you are considering adoption for a baby you are expecting or as an adoptive parent, chances are good that a lot of people have opinions about the choice. If you are a birth mother thinking of putting your baby up for adoption, your parents might have something to say on the subject. If you want to adopt a baby, your in-laws might have an opinion. But who actually needs to agree to an adoption?

Arkansas law

Arkansas law is very clear on this question. Here are the people who must agree to an adoption:

  • The mother of the child must always agree. A child cannot be adopted against the will of the mother.
  • The father of the child, if he is the husband of the mother or if he has acknowledged paternity or been proven to be the child’s biological father. There are more situations in which the father’s permission is required: if he has custody of the child, if he has legally adopted the child, or if he can prove that he has had a significant relationship with the child including financially supporting him or her.
  • The child, if he or she is 12 years old or older.
  • The spouse of the child, if there is one.
  • Anyone who has legal custody of the child, or the court itself if the parents are not able to give consent.

No one else’s permission is necessary.

What about grandparents?

Grandparents may feel that they should get to have a say in the question of adoption, especially if the birth parent is a minor. However, there is no such thing as grandparents’ rights in Arkansas.

In some families, grandparents may want to forbid their kids to adopt children instead of having biological children. They have a desire for biological grandchildren, for whatever reason, and an adopted grandchild won’t feel the same to them. This is also not a legal right.

If grandparents on either side of the adoption equation are having trouble with the idea, counseling may be the best solution.

Anybody else?

Your employer, physician, therapist, or hairdresser might have opinions on whether or not you should adopt. None of their opinions matter. The list of people who must agree to an adoption in the state of Arkansas doesn’t get longer just because someone has strong feelings.

Heimer Law provides support to adoptive families throughout the adoption process. There are also support groups and networks for adoptive parents. Others who have gone through some of the challenges that go with adoption can share their experiences and their strategies for getting through the tough times. Most adoptive parents have supportive families and friends, but when that support is not where you need it to be, it’s good to know that there are people in your corner.

And that the list of people who must agree to an adoption is not very long.


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