Arizona Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about how to adopt in Arizona

Griffin Hunsaker March 19, 2016

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

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: general information about adopting in Arizona, then sections dedicated to domestic infant adoption (starting in slide 6), foster adoption (slide 16), international adoption (slide 24), and stepparent adoption (slide 28). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful adoption resources (slide 31).

Are you interested in growing your family through domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with an adoption professional who can answer your questions.

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?

Fun Fact: "Family Circus" creator, Bil Keane is from Paradise Valley, Arizona. The comic strip is sometimes set in Scottsdale.

Adoption in Arizona at a Glance
3. Adoption in Arizona at a Glance

Kids in Foster Care Available for Adoption in 2012: 2,914
Foster adoptions completed in 2012: 2,276
International adoptions completed in 2011: 128

Can You Adopt in Arizona?
4. Can You Adopt in Arizona?

Adoption requirements in the state of Arizona are as follows:

Age: You need to be 18 or older.
Marital Status: Adoptive parents in Arizona can be single, married, or divorced.
Finances: You must demonstrate that you are able to financially support your own family.
Housing: You must own or rent a safe residence that has space for a child.
Work: You can work inside or outside your home or be retired.
Personality: You must be flexible, energetic, and willing to work with social workers and other support people.
Experience: No parenting experience is required to adopt.

Unless you are adopting a family member, you must be certified by the state to be qualified to adopt. The certification process takes several months to complete and includes criminal and child protective service background checks.

(SOURCE: Arizona Department of Child Safety)

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 adoption forums. You may also want to consider joining a support group for adoptive parents.

Domestic Infant Adoption in Arizona
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in Arizona

Before you get started, click here 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 Arizona.

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

In Arizona, it is legal to complete your adoption through an adoption attorney or through 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. Arizona, however, restricts placement to an agency or attorney, effectively banning the use of professional facilitators in the state.

You can browse and read reviews about adoption service providers in Arizona here. For more information about picking an adoption agency, learn about the Top Fifteen Things to Look for In An Adoption Agency.

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

Regardless of whether you complete your adoption privately (through an attorney) or through an agency, you will need to complete an adoption home study.

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

While the use of advertising in adoptive placements is restricted in many states, Arizona state statutes do not address the issue.

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.

Creating a listing on Adoption.com Parent Profiles is an excellent way to connect with potential birth parents across the country. If you want to maximize your exposure to potential birth parents and receive personalized coaching and support, consider using Adoption Navigators. You’ll also want to coordinate with an agency about this.

Parent Profiles
11. Parent Profiles

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 adoption.com/profiles.

Adoption Navigators
12. Adoption Navigators

Adoption Navigators provides you with quality expertise in sharing your dream of adopting. We provide unparalleled adoption marketing and one-on-one coaching to beautifully show expectant parents who you are and tell your story. With Adoption Navigators you receive premier advertising exposure on Adoption.com, assistance
building your profile and creating a video, and expanded reach through social media and search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Adoption.com has more than 16 years of experience helping families connect with potential birth parents.

Let us help you increase your exposure to potential birth parents and decrease your adoption wait time.

Click here to get started.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment
13. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

In Arizona, relinquishment of a child and consent to adoption may be done before a notary or two witnesses. The consent is irrevocable and may not be signed until 72 hours have passed since the birth of the child.

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

A birth father’s consent to adoption is required, or his parental rights must be terminated, if he is married to the birth mother, has established paternity, or has commenced proceedings to establish paternity. If, at the time of conception or birth, the birth mother was married to someone who is not the biological father of the child, the consent of that person must also be obtained, or his parental rights must be terminated, in order to finalize the adoption. An unmarried birth father is required to be served with notice of the planned adoption. That notice may be served on the birth father at any time after conception. Once served, a birth father has 30 days to initiate a paternity action. Failure to do so means the adoption may proceed without further notice to him and without his consent. Arizona also maintains a putative father registry. If a potential father wants to be notified of an adoption and has not already been served with the notice of the planned adoption, he must register with the putative father registry within 30 days after the child’s birth. Failure to register means the adoption may proceed without notice to him and without his consent. Lack of knowledge of the pregnancy is not an excuse for failing to register timely.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws About Birth Parent Expenses
15. Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws About Birth Parent Expenses

Hopeful adoptive parents and/or an adoption agency may provide legal, living, and medical expenses for an expectant mother. There are, however, requirements governing such support. All adoption related expenses, including any money paid to a birth parent, are presented to the court for approval at the final adoption hearing. Prior approval of the court must be granted if payments to a birth parent will exceed $1,000.

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

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that can be entered into by adoptive and birth families. The contract outlines details about how much contact the birth and adoptive families would have after the adoption is finalized. Contracts must be approved by the court in Arizona and must be agreed upon by the adoptive and birth parents and the adopted child if 12 or older. Failure to comply with the contract is not grounds for revocation of written consent to an adoption.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization
17. Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization

In order to finalize, you will need to file a petition to adopt and make suitable filings with the court. An attorney can assist you with this process. In Arizona, a petition to adopt must be filed within 6 months of placement unless there are extenuating circumstances. In most cases, if the prospective adoptive couple is certified, the final adoption hearing is held within about 90 days of filing of the petition to adopt. If the prospective adoptive couple is not certified at the time of placement, an order of temporary custody from the court is required while the couple completes the certification process. Once certification is granted, the petition to adopt may be filed.

Domestic Infant Adoption: A Word About the ICPC
18. Domestic Infant Adoption: A Word About the ICPC

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.

It is not generally recommended that adoptive families contact the ICPC office directly, as it tends to delay or disrupt the process. Your attorney or agency will manage the ICPC process for you.

Read more about the ICPC here.

Foster Adoption in Arizona
19. Foster Adoption in Arizona

Before you get started, click here to 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 Arizona.

Foster Adoption: Children Available for Foster Adoption in Arizona
20. Foster Adoption: Children Available for Foster Adoption in Arizona

Adoption.com currently has 70 children from the state of Arizona listed in its photolisting.

Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help
21. Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help

In Arizona, you can complete a foster adoption through a private attorney, an agency that is licensed to provide foster care services, or directly through the state’s Department of Child Safety.

To find an adoption agency in Arizona and to read reviews of the agency’s service, check out our Arizona Reviews page.

You will still need to complete a home study as part of this process. Home study fees are often reimbursed after adoption.

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

In Arizona, a child can be placed with you for adoption by the Department of Child Safety before his or her biological parent’s rights have been terminated. This is called a “legal risk” placement, meaning that it is possible that the child may return to live with 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 Arizona.

Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
23. Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that can be entered into by adoptive and birth families. The contract outlines details about how much contact the birth and adoptive families would have after the adoption is finalized. Contracts must be approved by the court in Arizona and must be agreed upon by the adoptive and birth parents and the adopted child if 12 or older. Failure to comply with the contract is not grounds for revocation of written consent to an adoption.

In instances in which the child’s biological parents’ rights have been involuntarily terminated, the well-being of the child needs to be first and foremost in everyone’s minds if a post-adoption contact agreement is created. Caseworkers and therapists should be consulted in making decisions about contact after adoption.

Finalization
24. Finalization

In order to finalize, you will need to file a petition to adopt and make suitable filings with the court. An attorney can assist you with this process. In Arizona, a petition to adopt must be filed within 6 months of placement unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Adoption Assistance
25. Adoption Assistance

The Arizona Adoption Subsidy offers monthly assistance for the care of adoptees from the foster system with special needs. The subsidy can include:
-Health care (medical/dental/mental) through Title XIX eligibility
-Maintenance payments to assist in the extra time and cost of caring for a child with special needs
-Special services subsidy for extraordinary needs related to pre-existing conditions
-Non-recurring adoption expenses up to $2,000.

Foster Adoption: A Word About the ICPC
26. Foster Adoption: A Word About the ICPC

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.

It is not generally recommended that adoptive families contact the ICPC office directly, as it tends to delay or disrupt the process. Your attorney or agency will manage the ICPC process for you.

Read more about the ICPC here.

International Adoption in Arizona
27. International Adoption in Arizona

Before you get started, click here to 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 Arizona.

International Adoption: Photolisting
28. International Adoption: Photolisting

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

Click here to 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 consider. Click here to browse through reviews of adoption agencies in Arizona.

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

Arizona statutes do not mention the effect or recognition of a foreign adoption decree.

Arizona offers readoption or validation as an option but not a requirement. Readoption protects the adoption from legal challenge in a State court, It also ensures the child's ability to inherit from his/her adopted parents.

You will also need to request a U.S. birth certificate for your child.

Read more about post-adoption requirements here.

Stepparent Adoption in Arizona
31. Stepparent Adoption in Arizona

Before you get started, click here to 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 Arizona.

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

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the consent of the other biological or legal parent must be obtained or his or her parental rights will need to be terminated.

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: Petitioning to Adopt
33. Stepparent Adoption: Petitioning 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.

A stepparent does not need to go through the complete certification process but criminal and child protective service background checks are required.

Works Cited
35. Works Cited

Adoption.com Wiki (Arizona Adoption Laws)
Arizona Department of Child Welfare
Arizona State Legislature
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Kids Count Data Center
The Policy Pages
binti.com
Brent D. Ellsworth, PC

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Griffin Hunsaker


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