Arkansas Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adoption in Arkansas.

Kylee Hooper February 25, 2016

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

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in Arkansas, then sections dedicated to domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 6) foster adoption (Slide 18),  international adoption (Slide 26), and stepparent adoption (Slide 30). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful adoption resources (Slide 33).

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?

Milk is the official state beverage. It was designated in 1985.

Adoption in Arkansas at a Glance
3. Adoption in Arkansas at a Glance

Kids in foster care available for adoption in 2012: 1,699  
Foster adoptions completed in 2012: 676    
Amount of youth who aged out of foster care in 2012: 238 
Most children in Arkansas are adopted by either foster parents or relatives.

Can I Adopt in Arkansas?
4. Can I Adopt in Arkansas?

Adoption requirements in Arkansas are as follows for children in state custody (these requirements do not apply in private attorney-assisted or private agency adoption):

Age: You must be at least ten years older than the adoptee and no more than 45 years older than the adoptee.      
Marital Status:  Must be either married and stable or single.
Finances: Must be able to provide for the child.     
Housing:   Must have at least 50 square feet per occupant, children of the opposite sex may not share bedrooms, and smoking is not allowed in the presence of the children (in a relative adoption, a waiver can be attained)   
Other Requirements in State: Must Complete CPR training, standard First-Aid training, and 30 hours of pre-service training.   
   
DISQUALIFYING CRIMES:  In this state, you may not adopt if you have been convicted of any of the following:  Child abuse or neglect, crimes against children. sexual assault, homicide, or if you have been convicted of physical assault, battery or a drug-related offense within the last five years. These apply to all types of adoption.

SOURCE

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 Arkansas
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in Arkansas

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 Arkansas.

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

Arkansas licensed attorneys and Arkansas licensed physicians are specifically exempt from having to have a child placement license and are therefore allowed to assist with adoption in Arkansas.

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. Adoption facilitators are currently not addressed in the state statutes, however, minimum licensing standards require that any adoption placement activities require a license.

You can browse and read reviews about adoption service providers in Arkansas here.

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

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

Regardless of whether you complete your adoption, 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 partner, if applicable) meet the requirements outlined on slide four.

Click here to learn more about the Home Study process.

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

Only licensed agencies, those exempt from licensure, and prospective adoptive parents are allowed to advertise for adoption.

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.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Parent Profiles
11. Domestic Infant Adoption: Parent Profiles

If advertising is allowed in your state, 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

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption Navigators
12. Domestic Infant Adoption: 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.

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. Coordinate these services with your adoption professional.

Click here to get started.

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

If the birth parent is a minor, they must sign for relinquishment under the consent of a guardian ad litem appointed by the court.

A relinquishment or consent may be withdrawn within 10 days of signing or within 10 days after the baby is born, whichever is later. A birth parent may waive the right to withdraw within 10 days of signing or the birth of the baby, in which case the right to withdraw is 5 days.


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

Arkansas keeps a putative father registry. If a putative father is registered at the time an adoption petition is filed, he is entitled to receive notice of the adoption. However, the child may have already been placed in the prospective adoptive home before a registered father is given notice.

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 and living expenses for an expectant mother. There are, however, requirements governing such support.  

Arkansas allows for adoptive parents to pay for some expenses of the expectant mother. Expenses will be assessed and a decision will be made as to whether or not adoptive parents will help reimburse the expectant mother.

Source

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

Post-adoption contracts are not addressed in the state of Arkansas.

Domestic Infant Adoption - Finalization
17. Domestic Infant Adoption - Finalization

A child must live with an adoptive family for six months before adoption can be finalized. However, the court can decree an adoption as final as long as there are no further hearing required of the court.

Non-resident adoptive parents can finalize in Arkansas.

Domestic Infant Adoption – Adopting in Arkansas from Out-of-State
18. Domestic Infant Adoption – Adopting in Arkansas from Out-of-State

With private (usually domestic infant) adoptions, it is always possible to adopt a child within Arkansas, 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 here.

Foster Adoption in Arkansas 
19. Foster Adoption in Arkansas 

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 Arkansas.

Foster Adoption - Children Available for Foster Adoption in Arkansas
20. Foster Adoption - Children Available for Foster Adoption in Arkansas

In 2015, 4,178 children were in foster care in Arkansas.

Look at our photolisting for some children who are available for adoption in Arkansas.

Foster Adoption - Get Professional Help
21. Foster Adoption - Get Professional Help

You can complete a foster adoption either through a private agency that is licensed to provide foster care services or directly through the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Children and Family Services.

To find adoption agencies in Arkansas and to read reviews, check out Adoption.com’s Reviews page for Arkansas here.

You will still need to complete a home study as part of this process.

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

You must be a resident of Arkansas to apply to be part of the foster system of Arkansas.

The requirements for foster care will help you to be prepared to adopt in Arkansas. "Legal risk" placements (placements that happen before a child is considered legally free to adopt) happen in Arkansas.

Post Adoption Contact Agreements
23. Post Adoption Contact Agreements

Post-adoption contact agreements are not addressed by Arkansas law.
  
A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that can be entered
into by adoptive and birth families. The agreement outlines details about how much
contact the birth and adoptive families will have after the adoption is finalized.

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

When adopting through foster care, you must be listed as an adoptive home and the child must live with you for six months before adoption can be finalized.

Adoption Assistance
25. Adoption Assistance

Some subsidies are available for adopting children with special needs. For more information about Arkansas' specific programs, click here

Foster Adoption – Adopting in Arkansas from Out-of-State
26. Foster Adoption – Adopting in Arkansas from Out-of-State

Since you are required to be a resident of Arkansas to foster children from Arkansas, you cannot adopt from out-of-state through foster care.

International Adoption in Arkansas
27. International Adoption in Arkansas

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  Arkansas.

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

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

A decree of court establishing the relationship between the adoptive parent and the adopted child will be recognized in Arkansas even if it has been declared out of country. Source

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

Read more about post-adoption requirements: here

Stepparent Adoption in Arkansas
31. Stepparent Adoption in Arkansas

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 Arkansas.

Stepparent Adoption - Terminating Parental Rights
32. Stepparent Adoption - Terminating Parental Rights

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the corresponding biological parent’s rights will first need to be terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Parents may relinquish their parental rights before adoption, but must continue to pay child support until the adoption is finalized.

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.

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

Adoption Resources
34. Adoption Resources

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Kylee Hooper

Kylee Hooper is not quite a mother, but she adores babies, and hopes to be able to either foster or adopt someday. When she isn't writing, reading, or editing; she is normally playing her harp or creating an adventure.


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