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csi-sanders1129
08-19-2009, 06:56 AM
Hello all,

I'm writing a story in which my main characters sister (living in TN) has given birth and left her child to her older brother (living in NY). What would be involved in the brother officially adopting the kid, especially with note to the across state lines part). Would there be a home check, background checks? Government involvement at all?

Thanks. :3

Calla Lily
08-19-2009, 03:41 PM
I'm in NYS. My neighbor adopted her cousin's child (birth mother eminently unfit). Both live in NYS. There were background checks, social services checks, a multitude of court dates--all of which were to check up on my neighbors and make sure that the child was in a good home now. My neighbor asked if social services could interview me. When the lady came, she was professional yet nice, asking me what I knew about my neighbors, how long I'd known them, etc. I realized that she was fishing to see if they were secretly running a meth lab in the basement or something like that.

It takes 7 years here for "denial of parental rights"--meaning the birth parents have no legal claim on the child anymore, and it's officially the adoptive parents' child now.

One of the potential hazards in the adoption process was any change in the financial circumstances of the adoptive parents--even positive ones. My neighbor's husband got a promotion at work just before the final court date. If he had mentioned that, the process would have stopped for yet another check! When they sat at a table with the lawyer, and the lawyer asked about changes, my neighbor kicked her husband in the shin so he'd say, "No changes."

The other problems they ran into was the birth mother not showing up for court dates, the who child protective court process taking hours each time--and no food or drink allowed in the courtroom. When the child was small, they had lots of trouble keeping the poor thing quiet and happy in the courtroom. One other problem was a clueless judge. At one court date, my neighbors and the birth mother were all there. The birth mother was strung-out and belligerent (I met the woman twice--scary), and my neighbors were, middle-class, respectable people. Despite that, the judge (not their usual one) said at one point, "But wouldn't the child be better off with its 'real' mother?" AARRGGHH.

That's what I remember. This all finiahed up 8 years ago. Hope it helps.

the addster
08-19-2009, 06:00 PM
Yes the brother would have to do the home study (background check) and be cleared by state social services to adopt.

How that would actually play out would depend on the situation of the child's birth. If the first mother (proper term for the rewlinqishing mother) planned for the child to be adopted by the bro, she could sign a termination of parental rights (TPR) very soon after the child's birth. The bro could have his homestudy completed and have been cleared by either the birth state or his home state for adoption and have a lawyer he had hired process the application.

If the child was taken into custody by the state, and bro had not planned on adopting, he would still have to go through the process, but many times family members, even in other states are allowed to foster children of family members while getting this done. Family services will usually try to expedite the process for licensing for foster care, which usually can be used for background check in the actual adoption process, which would work the same way as above.

If the sister didn't want to terminate parental rights, she could easily keep the child in her state, in foster care, at least while her parental rights are terminated through the court process. This would make bro's adoption process much harder, but still doable. Courts tend to look favorably on kinship placements.

You might want to check out some state dept of social services websites, foster care adoption webpages etc. They will have some state specific information.

csi-sanders1129
08-20-2009, 12:52 AM
Thanks to both of you, your replies really helped. I'm looking into social service/adoption related sites now, so combined with your input, I'm good. :3 Thanks!