Here Are Some Answers To Your Most Frequently Asked Questions About Nevada Adoption
As you can see adoptions aren't easy.
Qualifying for a Nevada adoption and completing the necessary paperwork is just the beginning.
Many people adopting in Nevada still have lots of questions about the process and other matters that are not addressed above.
While we cant answer every question that accompanies an adoption, we have taken this opportunity to answer some of your most frequently asked questions about Nevada adoptions.
Will I have to complete a home study in order to adopt?
A home study is required for couples adopting a child that is not related to either adoptive parent or for an individual adopting a child not related to them.
The home study is considered both a screening tool and an educational tool. First, it is intended for the social worker working with the adoptive family to get to know you and your family better. Second, those undergoing a home study are encouraged to have questions and concerns about adoption answered before the adoption process is complete.
A home study can be completed by a state or county agency that provides child welfare services. In Las Vegas, this could be the Department of Family Services.
It generally takes about 90 days to complete the home study once the application has been submitted. The cost of the home study depends on the agency conducting the home study.
Can biological parents get their children back once adoption has occurred?
It is very difficult for a biological parent to get their child back once an adoption is complete.
For the most part, a parent who relinquishes their parental rights or who consents to their child being adopted will have an extremely difficult time getting their children back.
However, there are some circumstances where a court might restore parental rights to a biological parent.
This could include terminating parental rights by fraud or duress. Again, this occurs in very rare circumstances.
To seek reinstatement of parental rights, a biological parent would need to file a lawsuit against the adoptive parent asking to have their parental rights restored. This could be done by asking the Court to set aside the adoption consent or a relinquishment. It could also be accomplished by asking the court to reverse an order terminating parental rights.
Even if the biological parents' rights are restored, or a consent or relinquishment is set aside, there is still a presumption in Nevada that it is best for the child to remain in the home of the adoptive parent once the adoption has been granted.
CAUTION: Reinstating a biological parent's parental rights is incredibly difficult and should only be pursued with the assistance of an experienced adoption attorney.
What if the child I am adopting has siblings being adopted by another family?
It is not unusual that a biological parent has multiple children adopted by different families.
In most cases, Nevada judges prefer that siblings maintain their bond and have some connection with each other once the adoption is complete.
This is known as a sibling contact order.
Specifically, the law for cases where children are in the care of the Department of Family Services, prefers that adoptive parents agree to sibling contact order to ensure that siblings maintain contact with each other even after an adoption has occurred.
A sibling contact order could include such things as in person visits between siblings or regular communication through phone or other electronic means between siblings.
The sibling contact order should be attached to an Decree of Adoption and your adoption judge should be notified of the existence of a sibling contact order before the adoption is finalized.
If I am an adult do I have to get my biological parent's consent to be adopted?
The short answer is "no!" You do not need your biological parents' consent to be adopted if you are an adult.
To be adopted as an adult you must meet three requirements.
First, the person adopting you must be older than you.
Second, one of you, either the person adopting you or you, must live in Nevada.
Third, if you, or the person adopting you, are married, your spouse will need to consent to the adoption.
You must also notify your biological parents of the adoption proceedings and attend a hearing where the judge may ask you questions about the adoption.
What do I need to know about having an open adoption agreement?
An open adoption is an adoption where the biological parents continue to maintain contact with the child after the adoption is complete.
Parties involved in an open adoption usually create a written agreement that describes the type of contact the biological parents can have with the child after the adoption is complete. This is known as the Open Adoption Agreement or contract.
Generally, the contract is between the adoptive parents and the biological parent. Sometimes a State Agency like the Department of Family Services, may need to review the contract and agree that the contact between the biological parent and the child is in the child's best interest.
For example, if an Open Adoption Agreement between a biological parent convicted of murder and the child allowed the biological parent to have access to the child 24 hours a day 7 days a week, chances are the State Agency will say this is not in the child's best interests.
Usually, the Open Adoption Agreement will provide for the type of contact allowed between the biological parent and the child. Sometimes these agreements are very limited and only allow for the biological parent to receive an update and photograph of the child once a year. Other times an Open Adoption Agreement will allow for in person contact between the biological parent and the child.
In addition to the type of contact allowed, the Open Adoption Agreement should specify the frequency, duration and any other rules governing the contact between the biological parent and the child once the adoption is complete.
For example, an Open Adoption Agreement may allow for three in person visits a year between the biological parent and child. The visits may have to take place in a community setting like a park or mall. The biological parent may be prohibited from bringing any third party to the visit like a significant other or another family member. The biological parent may be required to submit to a drug test prior to the visit. Or the biological parent may be required to contact the adoptive parents at least five days before the visit is to occur to confirm the visit will go forward.
Open Adoption Agreements can be changed as long as the child is under the age of 18. There are many reasons to change an Open Adoption Agreement. Sometimes the agreements are modified because young children may have different needs for contact with their biological parent than an older child. It might also be modified because a biological parent's circumstances change or the adoptive parents relocate.
It is important to note that an Open Adoption Agreement does not affect the legal rights of the adoptive parents. This means that the adoption still goes forward and the adoptive parents are still legally the parents of the child.
Likewise, a breach or violation of the Open Adoption Agreement by the adoptive parents does not mean that the biological parent's parental rights are restored. Instead, a biological parent can sue the adoptive parents to enforce the Open Adoption Agreement.
If you are considering adopting with an Open Adoption Agreement, it is strongly recommended that you consult an attorney who is skilled at negotiating and drafting Open Adoption Agreements.