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Who can adopt?

Adoption in Colorado is an extensive process that is designed to protect the children who are being placed into new homes and with new families. Before you go into the adoption process, it’s only natural to have many questions about qualifications and how the process will work. Attorneys at Burnham Law are legal professionals with experience in Colorado adoption cases. Our team can help you through this process and welcome a new child into your family.

Before you decide to adopt or get far along with the process, review what you should know about Colorado qualifications, requirements and the procedures in general.

An Inclusive State

Colorado’s criteria for adoptive parents represents inclusion. No adoptive parent can be turned away solely because of his or her race, religion, ethnicity, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity. You do need to be at least 21 years of age, and if you are married, your spouse needs to adopt along with you. Anyone who is considering adoption in this state needs to show a clear dedication and commitment to the child who is being adopted. Some private agencies, if you decide to go that route, may have upper age limits for adoptive parents, such as 50, but this is not a part of state laws.

Adoptive parents in Colorado must be physically and mentally able to care for the child, and they also need to show that they can financially support their current family and when adding an additional child into their home. The court does not base their decision on whether the adoptive parents work from home or outside the home.

As part of your Colorado adoption process, you will go through a home study that includes a background check. In this state, you will not be able to adopt if you have a criminal history that includes instances of child neglect or abuse, domestic violence or abuse, crimes that involved a minor, violent or sex-related crimes, felony-level battery or assault, or a felony drug charges within the last five years. A non-violent, one-time offense may not bar you from an adoption, but this will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the social worker and court involved.

The Adoption Types

If you think you will be approved for an adoption, the next step is to decide which type of adoption is for you. The three most common types in this state are domestic agency, foster care and international. With domestic agencies, you go through a private agency to adopt a child within the US; he or she does not have to live in Colorado. This option will carry a fee, so make sure you know what you will need to pay before you get too far along in the process. Generally, adopting a child who is 5 years or younger will require the use of a private agency.

Around 25% of the children in Colorado’s foster care system will eventually become eligible for adoption, so you can adopt via the foster care system through a county placement agency. You will need to go through the foster parent process and become a foster parent before you can adopt a child in the system.

Finally, there is the international option, or the adoption of a child outside of the US. The costs, restrictions and requirements of these types of adoptions vary depending on the country the child is from and the Colorado agency you are working with on the adoption.

Your Home Study

Aside from meeting the criteria of adoptive parents in Colorado, those wishing to adopt also need to have an approved home study. This is done by a licensed social worker who can to do home studies in the state. During your home study, you will need to give the social worker copies of all the necessary documents, including birth certificates for you and your immediate family members. You will also be required to provide the results of any background checks, financial statements, and other documents. In addition to collecting the required documents, the social worker will inspect your home to ensure it’s suitable for children. They will also interview you, your spouse (if married), and other family members.

The purpose of a home study is to determine whether your family will provide a safe, caring environment for the child you wish to adopt. It’s crucial that you and your family fully participate in the study and give the social worker all the information necessary. Once your home study is approved, it remains valid for one year.

Because of the extensive process, an adoption can be both a wonderful and stressful time in your life. Speak to the dedicated team at Burnham Law about your planned adoption today.

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