There are almost 438,000 children currently in the U.S. foster care system. Deciding to adopt is a big deal, but the fact that you are considering taking one kid from that number and placing them in a loving home is fantastic.
The adoption process, on the other hand, can frequently be frustrating and discouraging. While the South Carolinian requirements for adopting a child are in place for a reason, they can be complicated to navigate on your own.
So, what do you need to adopt a child, exactly? We can help. Read on for all the answers to your burning adoption questions!
Basic Requirements for Adopting a Child in South Carolina
You must be a South Carolina citizen to adopt in most cases, but there are a few cases in which nonresidents can adopt. For instance, nonresidents can adopt in SC if:
- They are relatives of the child
- The child is legally up for adoption, no resident has been found as an adoptive parent, and they’ve been under foster care for six months
- One parent is a military member stationed in South Carolina
- The child has special needs
- Extenuating circumstances determine that placing the child out of state is the best option for the child
You are also required to complete at least two interviews with all members of the household, in addition to separate, individual interviews. The home study is one of the most critical parts of the adoption process, as the home is one of the best indicators of the right fit for a child.
An agency will evaluate your home’s location and your financial situation. They will make sure all members of the household undergo physical examinations and call any arrest or conviction records into question. They’ll assess the parents’ mental health, as well, along with their motivation to adopt.
Do You Have to Be Married to Adopt?
South Carolina law says that you do not need to be married to adopt. If you are married, though, both of you are legally required to consent to the adoption.
Keep in mind, though, that some adoption agencies have individual requirements. Some will require marriage to adopt. Some will even require you to be married for a certain number of years before you’re eligible.
Same-sex couples are legally allowed to adopt in South Carolina, too!
Can I Adopt a Child from Another State?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is that the process is a lot more complicated that in-state adoption.
Each state has their own adoption laws. When you adopt a child from another state, the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children, or ICPC, becomes involved.
The ICPC is responsible for upholding standards of a suitable home that is a good fit for the child when the line is not clear on which state is responsible for doing so.
Do You Have to Pay to Adopt a Child?
Adopting a child can cost anywhere between $1,500 to $40,000, depending on the circumstance.
Adopting a relative tends to be the least expensive adoption process, while international adoption can cost up to $40,000 in foreign adoption agency fees. If you adopt a child in foster care, there is no fee. Do not forget that legal fees will still amount to around $3,000 though.
The cost of your adoption will also depend on how long the process takes. If your situation is complex, legal proceedings may take longer, therefore racking up the legal fees.
Your New Family
There are indeed a ton of requirements for adopting a child, but with the right lawyer’s help, you can be on your way to welcoming your new child into your family in no time.
At Indigo Family Law, we have intimate experience with the South Carolina adoption process. We have gone through it ourselves. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help demystify the process for you!