Adoption became a recognized legal practice in the United States back in 1851, when Massachusetts passed the Adoption of Children Act, which recognized adoption as a legal means to improve child welfare. Recent studies estimate that about 135,000 children are embraced in America every year, with about 900 of these adoptions occurring in Idaho. The process of adoption in Idaho is explained in Idaho’s own Adoption of Children Act. A major goal of this Act is to provide secure and permanent homes for adoptive children in a prompt manner. For assistance with all adoption-related matters, the Boise adoption lawyers at Boise Family Law are here to help you navigate the legal process.
Who Can Adopt a Child?
Under the Idaho Adoption of Children Act, any adult can adopt a minor under the procedure explained in the Act, and an adult can adopt another adult where the adopting adult acted as the parent for a period of a year ahead of the adoptee becoming an adult or for a time a court determines establishes “a substantial family relationship.”
Before an adoption can become final, various persons must agree to the adoption, for example:
- The adoptee, if he or she is older than twelve years old;
- When the adoptee was born in a marriage, the living parents of the adoptee, unless the adoptee is no longer a minor;
- If the minor was born out of wedlock, the mother of an adoptee;
- Any person that has been adjudicated to be the adoptee’s biological father by a court;
- An unmarried biological father of the adoptee who has filed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity pursuant to Idaho law;
- An unmarried biological father who has embraced the child by acknowledgement; and
- An unmarried biological father of an adoptee only if the father has demonstrated certain requirements showing he had formed a”substantial relationship” with the kid.
Each person who must consent to the adoption must also receive notice—through private service—of adoption proceedings. If the man or woman is difficult to locate, the court may allow notice through publication.
The actual adoption proceedings are commenced when the person or persons seeking to adopt the child file a petition in an Idaho district court. At this hearing, the adopting parent executes an arrangement to care for and treat the adoptee as a legal child. If the judge determines that the requirements of law have been fulfilled and that the adoption will be in the best interest of the child, he will issue an order of adoption. An adopted child enjoys all the rights and assumes all of the duties of a child born to the parent.
Adoptions involve very sensitive parental consent and usually determine the care of children who cannot speak for themselves. They also often involve the severance of parental rights, which are protected by the United States Constitution, and when appropriate due process isn’t afforded, the adoption could be contested, which can lead to years of litigation and strain on the adopting family, the natural parents, and—of course—the adopted child. To avoid these potential problems, adoptions must strictly comply with the provisions of the Idaho Adoption of Children Act.
Contact Our Boise Adoption Lawyers Today
If you are considering adopting a child, it’s best to contact an experienced adoption lawyer. At Boise Family Law, we understand the magnitude of your decision to adopt and will do everything in our power to help you do it right.
Our Boise adoption lawyers will help you understand Idaho adoption law, file the necessary paperwork, and appear with you during adoption court proceedings. Contact us today at 208-968-9060 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.