Understanding New York Adoptions

Almost anyone over the age of 18 can adopt a child under New York law, although some individuals who have felony convictions are ineligible. There are no restrictions as to whether an adult must be married, single, or involved in a serious relationship in order to adopt. When an individual adopts a child, he or she becomes the legal parent of that child, with all the same rights, responsibilities and obligations as a biological parent.

There are two main types of adoptions: agency adoptions (through either a foster care agency or a private adoption agency) and private placement adoptions. In a foster care agency adoption, a child is in the custody of the state of New York due to abuse or neglect by a parent and usually living in foster care. The biological parents of the child either voluntarily terminate their parental rights to the child, or a court involuntarily terminates their parental rights. Once a court approves or orders the termination of parental rights, the child is eligible for adoption.

In a private agency adoption, the biological parent or parents of the child voluntarily relinquished their parental rights to the child so that someone else can adopt the child. Prospective parents work with private adoption agencies to identify and adopt a child.

In either situation, prospective adoptive parents apply for adoption with the agency, which conducts a home study of the parents to ensure that they can provide an appropriate and safe home for the child. They also perform a criminal background check on all prospective adoptive parents. The agency then will certify the adoptive parents to begin the adoption process.

A private placement adoption occurs when there is an agreement between the child’s biological parents and the prospective adoptive parent or parents. Another type of private placement adoption takes place when a stepparent who is married to a child’s biological parent adopts the child, thus taking the place of the child’s other biological parent. It is also a private placement adoption when parents who have adopted a child in a foreign country register their foreign adoption order with a New York court or go through the entire adoption process in New York, depending on the circumstances. In these types of adoptions, the prospective adoptive parents also must undergo a home study.

The Manhattan adoption lawyers at Miller Law Group are eager to listen to your concerns and answer your questions about all issues related to adoptions under New York law. We have represented countless clients involved in adoptions and all types of family law proceedings, and we are here to give you the legal advice and guidance that you need. Call our offices at 914-738-7765 and learn how we can help you with your New York adoption, divorce, or family law case.