If I want to adopt my cousin...what do I do?
I don't know where to look so if not here, maybe someone would be so kind to redirect me or something, I just don't know where to begin.

My 1st cousin has a baby, the baby has little of what she needs & he is not equipped to parent. I'm told "he's not good with her", she has no bed, she is "treated badly" by my cousins girlfriend. I'm beside myself. No one will call CPS & I have no proof, i see them 2-3 times a year.
The baby's mother is in prison for 5 yrs.

I want to adopt her. BUT I want the parental rights cut. I don't want a small 6 yr old suddenly being taken away by her ex-con mother or my cousin with his issues popping in & out. And we MIGHT want to move out of state within the next year (we're in AZ with the rest of my family).
We live modestly, we don't have a lot of spare money but I am a parent to a teen & grade schooler.

Is this impossible?
What do I do?
How can I start?
I don't think you can start the process by saying "I want . . ."

This is about the child's welfare in reality. Unless I am misunderstanding from the get go, she is not available for adoption? Is she? Are her parents seeking to place her with you? If that is the case, you will still need an experienced adoption lawyer to adopt in a different state.

You can call CPS, yes it may be screened out as hearsay. You might have to make a visit in person, yes I understand you live out of state, but you are saying you want to adopt, so that is a little out of the way as well. If you are truly concerned the child is being neglected, then it has to be done.

At this point it would seem the child's welfare is the only thing that can be a priority, unless they are willing to give her up to you, cps is going to have to be involved.

You can't just file an intent to adopt without proving them unfit, going to court, having a trial, having the evidence.
I live in the same state, Arizona. We want to move OUT of AZ within a year.

It's not that "I Want" but I feel she needs something in which I feel i can provide. I DO WANT her to be safe & healthy & happy. I have not talked to any family yet because I wasn't even sure if it was POSSIBLE.

Personally, I have no evidence. I have what his mother is relaying to me & I DID see the child had no bed.
I commend you for caring. Your statement "I want" which was taken poorly, was used by many of the people in the class I took to become a foster parent. "I want to rescue my nephew, both his parents are on drugs, and the foster mom he has I believe is neglectful and using him for money." "We are raising our grandchildren since their parents got into drugs, and "we want" to become licensed, because someone told us there would be money available to help us with our new expenses." "My husband and I want to adopt a baby." My wife and I planned to have 2 children then adopt a child, from the time we were first dating. We just want to help a child in need." Another gal said, "I want to adopt one girl, between ages of 7 and 12." I said, "I want to adopt 2 children, both boys, siblings, same time, ages 2-5." So, there were a lot of "I wants."

It could be a long haul but I encourage you to hang in there with your desire to be a stable loving resource for this child. I would encourage you to take the classes to become a foster parent, it is often a first step for a child like this, being fostered. Lets you learn more about the system, also. (It can be awful if you didn't know). I'd encourage you to report, if you can do it anonymously that is best, what you hear, every time. You might ask the state to look at her medical records, (she may have few to none, and is supposed to have regular checkups, it's just a way to point out she's not being cared for). See if there are any neighbors who might report. Sometimes they will.
The long and the short of it (from someone who's btdt): you have two options.

1) you convince the parents to give up their rights and allow you to adopt

2) you report the parents and let the DCYF process move forward.

If the mom is overwhelmed in prison and fighting with the dad, she MIGHT be pursuaded to do a domestic adoption.

if, however, she doesn't know you and has no trust relationship with you, this seems unlikely

The dcyf route is more likely in your case. You can certainly report what you know or have witnessed. they will not listen to 3rd party rumors. You need to know things first hand OR encourage the people who have witnessed the neglect to report.

You may be surprised at the requirements for relinquishment. They will not pull a child simply because their parent is immature, ignoring them, or aren't equipt to parent. They will not pull a child because they are "not good" for the child (what kind of person feels the right to make that judgement, btw?? i'm refering to who told the op that, not OP.)

If the complaints are substantiated and rise to the level of intervention, unless the child is in imminent danger, they will not be pulled immedately. the parent will be given the opportunity to parent.. to work a plan.

If the child is in immediate danger, the child will be pulled and placed in a foster home.. with strangers until the cw can approve a family member. they won't place the child with you simply because you offer.

If you wish to reduce the delay in getting the child, you need to be a licensed, preapproved foster home in the state where the child resides. This can take a couple months, so you should get signed up asap.

But, quite honestly, unless you change your views, I doubt they would select you for the temporary home. DCYF pushes for reunification as a first goal. Open adoption by family member as second goal. If you strongly voice your opinion to cut the Birth Mom out of the picture from the beginning, they will likely go with another family, even if its a stranger/non-relative.

Since you are an experienced parent, it seems you can do the most good by mentoring your cousin.. help him learn some parenting skills.

good luck
wcurry covered it well. I am not from AZ, but I have been in a somewhat similar situation in that my sister has "issues" with raising her children. Several of my family members believe the same thing. It is heartbreaking to see the kids live the way they do because of their mom's poor choices and there is nothing we can do. It was even harder because she asked us to adopt her fourth child, but decided to "parent" at the last minute-and now we see how that child is growing up. My family- as well as one school district she was in- has hotlined her several times. But it was always "unsubstantiated." How, I don't know! She moves from county to county though and doesn't stay in any one place too long. At one point she even "homeshooled" her kids to keep them out of the school system. (I have nothing against homeshooling- if you actually do it! She can't even take out her trash though, let alone take the time to educate her children.) If she were to move to my county, I think she would have at the very least been given In Home Services, if the children not taken. Her home is filthy awful and I would never even let her babysit for us. I mean bad filthy- animal feces everywhere, very little food in the home, etc. Our current foster son was pulled from his home for less than I know how she currently lives. She is at least off the drugs now- as far as we know and that has helped. But her now teen daughters are what one could call "wild." They like to "party" with mom. I fear one or both of them will be pregnant before they graduate high school. (I hope they graduate high school.) We have tried to offer her help, but she thinks she is a wonderful mother and doesn't need any help. She really just hasn't even grown up herself yet.

The point to my long drawn out story is that as much as it hurts to see the kids living like that, unless CPS steps in or they agree to adoption, there is little that can be done. If you do see something that puts the kids in danger, please report it to the child abuse hotline. All you can do is report. And like wcurry said though, if CPS thinks you may not support RU while that is the goal, they will probably find someone else to place them with.

Good luck in your situation- I know it's frustrating!
AZ Hotline
There is a toll free child abuse hotline for reporting anywhere inside Arizona.

Hotline (CPS) 1-888-SOS-CHILD

Put it in your phone. I have been in AZ 11 years and in that time I have seen 2 things that have disturbed and haunted me. I wish I would have called.
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