One of the most precious gifts you can give a child is a stable and supportive home. If you are thinking about adopting a child in Connecticut, there is a lot to consider. The laws surrounding adoption can be complex, and you may want a trusted legal advocate in your corner to protect your rights and guide you through this process.
Here is what you need to know about adopting a child in Connecticut. But keep in mind that this information does not take the place of having the personalized legal attention you deserve during this challenging process.
Who is Eligible to Adopt a Child in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, the law permits any adult age 18 or over to adopt a child. If you are married and wish to adopt, both spouses must jointly adopt the child. The state does not discriminate based on marital status or sexual orientation, but private adoption agencies are permitted to have their own rules.
Convicted felons are not excluded from adopting, but the process may be more difficult for people who have a criminal record. Some disqualifying crimes include spousal or child abuse/neglect and violent crimes such as sexual assault and homicide.
How Consent Works With Adoption
Consent may be required from any number of parties before a child can be adopted in Connecticut. These include:
- The statutory parent
- A parent who agrees to allow their spouse to apply for stepparent adoption
- A child’s guardian who agrees in writing to an adoption
If the child’s parent is a minor, they can give consent for adoption despite their minor status. The court will appoint a guardian ad litem to ensure the parent is making an informed and voluntary decision about the adoption.
Connecticut law requires that a child’s mother must wait 48 hours after the birth of her child before consenting to an adoption. Then, she can petition for the voluntary termination of her parental rights. If the mother is not married, the petition must indicate whether there is a putative father who must receive an official notice about the adoption.
A man that has not been named as the father by the court, does not have their name on the birth certificate, has not filed a claim for paternity, or has not regularly contributed to support the child will not have any legal rights to the child when it comes to adoption. But, if a man claims to be the father of the child, they have 60 days after the date of notice to file a claim for paternity.
Parental consent to adoption may not be necessary if the courts determine that the parent has done any of the following:
- Physically or sexually abused the child
- Abandoned the child
- Failed to establish an ongoing relationship with the child
- Had their parental rights to another child terminated
- Ever been found guilty of child neglect
- Deliberately assaulted a child
- Deliberately participated in the death of a child
- Been convicted of sexual assault that resulted in the conception of the child
The Adoption Process in Connecticut
Adoption can be a joyous event, but it is always going to be a complex process. Even if you have an agreement with a birth parent or are doing a second-parent or stepparent adoption, you will still have to jump through some hoops to get to the finish line.
Adoption Home Study
In most cases, the courts will require that you submit to an adoption home study. This is the state’s assessment of your readiness to adopt a child. It includes a background check, interviews with each person living in the home, and an in-person home inspection. The requirement for a home study can often be waived in cases involving second-parent or stepparent adoption.
If you had a home study prior to being approved, you will likely have some follow-up visits. These post-placement visits are meant to ensure that all parties are adjusting well to the new arrangement, the child is developing as expected, your home is in the same shape it was during the initial visit, and you are ready to finalize the adoption process.
Finalizing Your Adoption
The adoption process is not complete when the adoptive parents bring the child into their home. In Connecticut, it can take anywhere from six months to one year to finalize an adoption.
At the adoption finalization hearing, the parent(s), child, and their adoption attorney will meet in front of a judge. After answering the judge’s questions and providing testimony about your intent to provide the child with a loving and safe home, the judge will sign a final decree of adoption.
Get Help from a Connecticut Adoption Attorney
If you have questions about adoption, the knowledgeable Connecticut adoption attorney at The Christie Law Firm, LLC can provide you with the personalized assistance you need. Our firm offers support and guidance throughout the adoption process, with a focus on adoption cases that involve the CT Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Call our Hartford office today at (860) 461-7494 or send us a message through our website to schedule your initial consultation.