Connecticut Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adoption in Connecticut!

Kenneth Knudson October 01, 2016

Welcome, Connecticutians! This guide was written to provide you with a single place to find information about adoption within Connecticut. It will walk you through everything from laws that will impact your adoption to reviews of adoption service providers in Connecticut.

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in CT, then sections dedicated to domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 6), foster adoption (Slide 19), international adoption (Slide 29), and stepparent adoption (Slide 33). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful adoption resources (Slide 36).

Please Note
1. Please Note

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the information provided in this slideshow guide, you should not rely on it to make decisions. Instead, you should rely on licensed professionals in making decisions relative to adoption. The information in this guide is subject to change without notice. Adoption.com is not responsible for the consequences of relying on this information. In no event shall Adoption.com be liable for any direct, indirect, special, or incidental damage resulting from, arising out of, or in connection with the use of this information.

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

-The New Haven District Telephone Company created the first ever phone book, containing 50 names, and published the book from New Haven, CT

-The USS Nautilus was the first ever nuclear powered submarine, built in Groton, CT

-Animal branding started in the U.S. when Connecticut farmers were required by law to mark all their pigs

-Connecticut is home to the first color TV (1948), hamburger (1895), helicopter (1939), and Polaroid camera (1934)

-The WWF is headquartered in Stamford, CT

SOURCE: 50states.com

Adoption in Connecticut at a Glance
3. Adoption in Connecticut at a Glance

Kids in foster care waiting to be adopted in 2014: 1,227

Foster adoptions completed in 2014: 502

International adoptions completed in 2015: 40

Average time between TPR and adoption finalization: 38% (1-5 months), 37% (6-11 months)

SOURCE: acf.hhs.gov
acf.hhs.gov/children_adopted
travel.state.gov
acf.hhs.gov

Can I Adopt in Connecticut?
4. Can I Adopt in Connecticut?

Age: 21

Marital status: Single, married, or divorced, children or no children

Work: Stable enough to provide for family

Personality: Warm, trusting, being able to provide unconditional support for the child, good sense of humor, self- confident

Experience: 10- week PRIDE course

Home: Rent or own home, at least 2 bedrooms in the home (foster children can share a room with other children of the same sex, but not the same bed)

Other requirements: Participants must pass a background check and provide character references to the adoption agency

DISQUALIFYING CRIMES: Spousal or child abuse/neglect, crimes against children, and violent crimes including homicide, sexual assault

SOURCE: adoptuskids.org

Developing a Support System
5. Developing a Support System

It’s essential to have a good network of family, friends, and neighbors to support you through your adoption process.

It’s also important to connect with other adoptive parents. You can begin making these connections in our forums. You may also want to consider joining a support group for adoptive parents.

Domestic Infant Adoption in Connecticut
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in Connecticut

Before you get started, check out our Baby Adoption Guide to learn more about the overall process of adopting an infant in the United States. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back to get the details about adoption in Connecticut.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help
7. Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help

In Connecticut, you are able to work with local and private agencies or attorneys to complete an adoption.

You can browse and read reviews about adoption service providers in Connecticut

For more information about picking an adoption agency, learn about the Top Fifteen Things to Look for In An Adoption Agency.

Some people pursuing a private adoption find it beneficial to work with a professional adoption facilitator, an individual or organization that matches birth parents with adoptive parents in exchange for a fee.

Paid adoption facilitators/adoption advertising is limited or restricted in many states. The following are the guidelines outlined in Connecticut statutes regarding adoption facilitators and adoption advertising:

Use of Advertisement:
Any birth parent may advertise through any media source in this State for the placement of their child for the purpose of adoption.

Use of Facilitators:
Any person who transfers custody of a child younger than 16 years of age to another person for money or any other valuable consideration, or receives a child younger than 16 in exchange for money or any valuable consideration, shall be guilty of a felony.

SOURCE: § 45a-728d; 53-21

Doemstic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study
9. Doemstic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study

Regardless of whether you choose to adopt through an agency or adoption attorney, hopeful adoptive parents need to complete a home study to qualify for adoption.

This is different than a single home visit. The process includes completing paperwork, writing essays, obtaining letters of recommendation, completing a physical, and undergoing a criminal history background check. In a home study, a caseworker may visit multiple times in order to write a report culminating in approval for adoption.

Your home study social worker will help educate you about adoption and ensure that you (and your adoptive partner, if applicable) meet the requirements outlined on Slide Three.

Click here to learn more about the Home Study process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word
10. Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word

One of the most important things you can do while waiting for an adoption match is to let everyone know about your hope to adopt. Many adoption connections are made through word-of-mouth referrals.

Another great way to spread the word is through social media. Creating a profile on Adoption.com Parent Profiles allows you to easily share your story with those considering placing their child for adoption. Features like videos and photos, posts, Pinterest-like favorites, and recommendations and endorsements make it easy to create a profile as unique as you are, increasing the likelihood that you will stand out and connect with that right person. Rich communication options like video chat and instant messaging make connecting easy. A mobile-responsive design means that you will never be out of reach.

What’s more, Adoption.com receives over 650,000 monthly visits, which means your profile will receive unparalleled exposure. You can even view and monitor your progress through a detailed statistics page.

Ready to get started? Visit Parent Profiles.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment
11. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

Without relinquishment of parental rights or consent, no adoption in Connecticut is final.

Who is required to give consent:
-A statutory parent
-Any parent of a minor child who agrees in writing with his or her spouse that the spouse shall adopt or join in the adoption of the child if that parent is:
-The surviving parent
-Mother of a child born out of wedlock and the putative father has been notified and his rights have been terminated
-Former single parent who adopted a child then remarried
-The sole guardian if all other parental rights have been terminated
-Any parent or minor child who agrees in writing with the other person who shares parental responsibility for the child that the other person shall adopt or join in the adoption, as long as the parental rights of any other person other than the parties to the agreement have been terminated
-Children age 12 or older

When consent is not needed:
The court may petition for termination of parental rights and appoint a guardian/statutory parent for the child, if it finds that the termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child because the parent has:
-Abandoned the child
-Has subjected the child to sexual, physical, or any other pattern of abuse
-Failed to establish ongoing parent-child relationship with the child
-Had parental rights terminated in regards to a different child
-Has killed or seriously injured, threatened, or harmed another child of the parent
-Has been convicted as an adult or a delinquent of sexual assault resulting in the conception of the child

How consent must be executed:
Consent is made by the birth parents’ petition for voluntary termination of parental rights. The parent or agency must go to the court closest to where the child currently resides. If the petition involves a child born out of wedlock, the petition must state whether or not there is a father to send notice of adoption proceedings to.

The court then appoints a guardian, or a statutory parent for the child. The statutory parent must knowingly and willingly consent to the biological parent’s termination of their parental rights.

When consent can be executed:
Birth mothers must wait at least 48 hours after birth before giving consent.

Revocation of consent:
Parents must file with the court a motion to set aside the termination of parental rights before a final decree of adoption is made. This motion needs to be in the best interest of the child in order for the court to approve revocation.

SOURCE: § 45a-724; 45a-715; 45a-717(g); 45a-715(d); § 45a-715(e)-(f); 45a-719

Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights
12. Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights

In many states, a paternity registry allows unmarried fathers to register their information and receive notice of adoption proceedings. Fathers who fail to register and fail to respond when given notice of adoption proceedings could be at risk of losing their ability to consent or contest to an adoption order.

To make sure the father has a say in the final adoption order, the following laws show how fathers can register and alternate ways to establish paternity:

Paternity Registry:
Any person claiming to be the father of a child born out of wedlock may at any time, but no later than 60 days after receiving notice, file a claim to paternity on forms provided by the court where the mother and child appeared in court.

Any person filing a claim for paternity also needs to acknowledge that he is liable for support and education expenses after birth for the child and pregnancy related medical expense for the mother.

Any person claiming to be the father who has not:
-Been adjudicated the father by the court
-Acknowledged in writing that he is the father of the child
-Contributed regularly to the support of the child
-Whose name does not appear on the birth certificate

Will cease to be a legal party in any proceeding determining custody of the child, unless the father shows reasonable interest and provides support for the child.

Alternate Means to Establish Paternity:
At any time before the child’s 18th birthday, the birth mother may petition the court to serve the putative father for the purpose of establishing his paternity. Liability for past support is limited to 3 years prior to filing for the petition.

If the putative father fails to appear in court, the court shall enter a default judgement of paternity against the father. When a DNA test that establishes with 99% certainty who the father is appears in court, the court issues a final judgement of paternity for the father.

SOURCE: § 46b-172a; 46b-160; 46b-172

Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws about Birth Parent Expenses
13. Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws about Birth Parent Expenses

Hopeful adoptive parents and/or an adoption agency may provide certain expenses for expectant mothers. There are usually, however, laws governing such support.

Allowable Payments:
-Transportation to counseling within 72 hours after birth of the child
-Living expenses not to exceed $1,500 (unless unusual circumstances approved in court warrant more)
-Reasonable telephone charges
-Maternity clothing expenses for birth mothers

Banned Payments:
Living expenses beyond $1,500, unless the court approves due to unusual circumstances

SOURCE: § 45a-728; 45a-728c

Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
14. Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that determines the amount of contact birth and adoptive families have after the adoption becomes final.

What may be included in the agreement?
Terms must include:
-Acknowledgement by either or both parties that the adoption decree is irrevocable, even if adoptive parents don’t live by the terms in the contact agreement
-Acknowledgement by adoptive parents that the agreement gives either party the right to seek enforcement of the contact agreement
Terms may include:
-Provision for contact between the child and either or both birth parents
-Provision for future contact between either or both parents and the child or an adoptive parent
-Maintenance of medical history of either or both birth parents who are a party to the agreement

What is the role of the court in post-adoption contact agreements?
If the court sees a post-adoption contact order between child and birth parents is in the best interest of the child, the court may order, stating the nature and frequency of the contact. The court grants this privilege if:
-Each consenting adoptive parent agrees to the communication or contact privileges
-The intended adoptive parent or either or both birth parents execute a cooperative agreement and file the agreement with the courts
-Consent to post-adoption contact agreement is obtained from the child, if the child is at least 12 years old
-The agreement is approved by the court

Are contact agreements legally enforceable?
Yes, as long as both parties acknowledge that broken contact agreements never cancel a final adoption order, and both parties have the right to enforce the contact agreement.

How can agreements be modified?
Courts never act on a petition to modify a contact agreement unless both parties attended, or attempted to attend, mediation to solve the dispute. Court may modify or terminate contact if such action is in the best interest of the child.

SOURCE: § 45a-715(h); 45a-715(i); 45a-715(j), (k); 45a-715(m), (n);

Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization
15. Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization

While there are no plostplacement study requirements, adoptions are typically finalized between 6 months to a year in Connecticut.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting in Connecticut from Out-of-State
16. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting in Connecticut from Out-of-State

With private (usually domestic infant) adoptions, it is always possible to adopt a child within Connecticut, even if you live in a different state.

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to Connecticut from Out-of-State
17. Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to Connecticut from Out-of-State

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in Connecticut. Hotels in CT average around $85 a night.

Places to visit in Connecticut
-Mystic Seaport
-Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University
-Mystic Aquarium and Institution for Exploration
-Gillette Castle State Park
-Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center
-Silver Sands State Park

Foster Adoption in Connecticut
18. Foster Adoption in Connecticut

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with the overall process of adopting children through foster care. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about foster adoption in Connecticut.

Foster Adoption: Children Available for Adoption in Connecticut
19. Foster Adoption: Children Available for Adoption in Connecticut

There are currently over 1,227 children waiting to be adopted in the Connecticut foster care system.

Click here to view a photolisting of the children.

Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help
20. Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help

In Connecticut, you can complete a foster adoption either through a licensed agency or directly through the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.

To find and read reviews about adoption service providers in Connecticut, visit Adoption.com’s Connecticut page.

Becoming Part of the Foster Care System
21. Becoming Part of the Foster Care System

In Connecticut, a child may be placed with hopeful adoptive parents before their biological parents’ rights have been terminated.

This is called a "legal risk" placement, meaning that is is possible that the child may return to live his/her birth family. However, these placements are not made unless the agency responsible for the child is actively pursuing the termination of his/her birth parents’ rights.

During a placement like this, you will be considered a foster parent and will need to meet all the requirements for foster parents in the state of Connecticut.

Other children are legally free and clear for adoption and would not be considered a “legal risk” placement.

Foster Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
22. Foster Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that determines the amount of contact birth and adoptive families have after the adoption becomes final.

What may be included in the agreement?
Terms must include:
-Acknowledgement by either or both parties that the adoption decree is irrevocable, even if adoptive parents don’t live by the terms in the contact agreement
-Acknowledgement by adoptive parents that the agreement gives either party the right to seek enforcement of the contact agreement
Terms may include:
-Provision for contact between the child and either or both birth parents
-Provision for future contact between either or both parents and the child or an adoptive parent
-Maintenance of medical history of either or both birth parents who are a party to the agreement

What is the role of the court in post-adoption contact agreements?
If the court sees a post-adoption contact order between child and birth parents is in the best interest of the child, the court may order, stating the nature and frequency of the contact. The court grants this privilege if:
-Each consenting adoptive parent agrees to the communication or contact privileges
-The intended adoptive parent or either or both birth parents execute a cooperative agreement and file the agreement with the courts
-Consent to post-adoption contact agreement is obtained from the child, if the child is at least 12 years old
-The agreement is approved by the court

Are contact agreements legally enforceable?
Yes, as long as both parties acknowledge that broken contact agreements never cancel a final adoption order, and both parties have the right to enforce the contact agreement.

How can agreements be modified?
Courts never act on a petition to modify a contact agreement unless both parties attended, or attempted to attend, medication to solve the dispute. Court may modify or terminate contact if such action is in the best interest of the child.

SOURCE: § 45a-715(h); 45a-715(i); 45a-715(j), (k); 45a-715(m), (n);

Foster Adoption: Finalization
23. Foster Adoption: Finalization

While there are no post-placement study requirements, adoptions are typically finalized between 6 months to a year in Connecticut.

Adoption Assistance
24. Adoption Assistance

Financial aid is available for hopeful adoptive parents wishing to adopt a child with special needs. Federal (Title IV-E) and state (often called non-IV-E) adoption assistance programs are designed to help parents meet their adopted children’s varied, and often costly, needs.

The amount you receive varies greatly depending upon your child’s specific needs and circumstances. In order to be eligible, your child must meet one of the following criteria considered to be a barrier for adoption:

-Physical or mental disability
-Serious emotional maladjustment
-A recognized high risk for physical or mental disability
-At least 8 years old or older
-At least 2 years old and has a racial or ethnic background that poses a barrier for adoption
-Member of a sibling group to be placed together
-Has been certified as a special needs child by the department

For monthly assistance rates and state contacts information please visit NACAC.org.

SOURCE: nacac.org

Foster Adoption: Adopting in Connecticut from Out-of-State
25. Foster Adoption: Adopting in Connecticut from Out-of-State

In adopting a child from foster care, there are opportunities to adopt a child from a different state. If this is the case, you will need to comply with the requirements of The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children.

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC.

Foster Adoption: Traveling to Connecticut from Out-of-State
26. Foster Adoption: Traveling to Connecticut from Out-of-State

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in Connecticut. Hotels in CT average around $85 a night.

Places to visit in Connecticut
-Mystic Seaport
-Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University
-Mystic Aquarium and Institution for Exploration
-Gillette Castle State Park
-Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center
-Silver Sands State Park

International Adoption in Connecticut
27. International Adoption in Connecticut

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with the overall process of international adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about international adoption in Connecticut.

International Adoption in Connecticut
28. International Adoption in Connecticut

There are millions of beautiful children across the world who are hoping to find a forever family.

Meet some of them through our Photolisting.

International Adoption: Get Professional Help
29. International Adoption: Get Professional Help

With international adoptions, your only choice is to complete your adoption through an agency. Because of the Universal Accreditation Act, all adoption agencies completing international adoptions are required to be credentialed according to federal standards.

Make sure to check with any agency before working with them to ensure they have this accreditation in place!

In selecting an international adoption agency, there are Four Essential Criteria you should probably consider. Check out this directory to browse through reviews of adoption agencies in Connecticut.

In order to be approved to adopt internationally, you will need to complete an international adoption-specific home study.

International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements
30. International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements

In order for a child adopted from a different country to enter the United States, adoptive parents must meet all requirements set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the country in which the child resides, and occasionally the adoptive parents’ State of residence.

As part of this process you will need to request a U.S. visa first so the child can enter the States, and then a birth certificate once a final decree of adoption comes through. Although readoption in the U.S. is not always a requirement depending upon the type of visa, many adoption professionals recommend this option to protect the child.

Application for a U.S. Visa
Depending upon the status of the child’s home country, adoptive parents will need to first fill out form I-800A(Hague Convention country) or I-600A(non Convention country). This application demonstrates that you are capable to adopt a child and consists of a USCIS form, home study, and application fee.

The type of visa you apply for depends upon the child’s country of origin. If the child is from a Hague Convention country, fill out form DS-260 to be sent to the Embassy or Consulate who issues the immigrant visa. This step comes before receiving an adoption order.

If the child is from a non Hague Convention country, adoptive parents file for either an IR-3 visa or IR-4 visa.

IR-3 visas are issued when the adoption is completed and finalized abroad, and the adoptive parents have seen the child before finalization in the child’s home country. In this case readoption is not required, and the child entering the States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen.

IR-4 visas are issued when an adoption is to be completed in the U.S. after the child arrives in the States. This usually occurs when parents are unable to visit the child in their home country.

The child will become a citizen only when the adoption is finalized in the States and a parent-child relationship has been established.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
The Department of Public Health will prepare a certification of birth registration or a certificate of foreign birth for any person born outside the country who is adopted by a State resident provided:
-A copy of the adoption order from a court of competent jurisdiction
-The court notifies the department that the adoption order has been filed

The U.S. birth certificate will contain only the following:
-The adopted name
-Sex
-Date and place of birth
-Legal name of the parents
-Date of preparation of the service

SOURCE: § 7-54
https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_093.htm#sec_7-54
https://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/adoption-process/who-can-adopt/eligibility-to-adopt.html

Stepparent Adoption in Connecticut
31. Stepparent Adoption in Connecticut

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with the overall process of stepparent adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about stepparent adoption in Connecticut.

Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights
32. Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the corresponding parental rights will first need to be terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

You will need to consult with an adoption attorney about your desire to adopt. He/she can help you decide if it’s likely that the biological parent would be willing to relinquish rights OR if it would be feasible to pursue involuntary termination of his/her parental rights.

Stepparent Adoption: Pettioning to Adopt
33. Stepparent Adoption: Pettioning to Adopt

Once parental rights have been terminated, you can file a petition to adopt with the courts. You and your spouse will both testify in court regarding the stability of your marital relationship, the bond you’ve developed with your stepchild, and your desire to become the legal parent of your stepchild.

You will generally not be required to complete a background check or home study as part of the stepparent adoption process.

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Kenneth Knudson


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