Hawaii Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adopting in Hawaii.

Stacey Call June 11, 2016

Welcome, Hawaiians! 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 Hawaii.
We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in Hawaii, 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).

Introduction
1. Introduction

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?

“Hanai” is an informal term from the Hawaiian language that means to informally adopt someone close to you, regardless of age.

Adoption in Hawaii at a Glance
3. Adoption in Hawaii at a Glance

Kids in Foster Care Available for Adoption in 2016: 280

Foster adoptions completed in 2016: 187

International adoptions completed in 2016: 34

Other adoptions completed in 2016: 266

Can I Adopt in Hawaii?
4. Can I Adopt in Hawaii?

Adoption requirements in the state of Hawaii are as follows:

Age: Must be at least 18 years old

Marital Status: Can be an unmarried adult or married as a husband and wife

Finances: Must be able to demonstrate the resources to raise a child

Housing: Have sufficient space in your home, and a safe and secure environment, inside and out

Work: Work inside or outside of your home, or be retired

Personality: Reputable, responsible, mentally sound, healthy, and prepared to have a child in their home

Experience: No parenting experience is required

Other Requirements in Hawaii: If the prospective adoptive child is 10 years old or older they also need to sign for consent to adopt

DISQUALIFYING CRIMES: Every prospective adoptive parent will have a criminal history record check and child abuse and neglect registry checks. If the parent has been convicted of an offense where incarceration was a sentencing option the application may be denied.

SOURCE: Hawaii Foster and Adoption Guidelines

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 Hawaii
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in Hawaii

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 Hawaii.

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

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

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 are banned or restricted in many states. Hawaii state statutes don’t address the issue.

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

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.

Check out our home study process tips.

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

Hawaii adoption laws don’t specifically address advertising, which allows you to advertise.

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 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

In Hawaii, an expectant mother can file a petition for relinquishment after her sixth month of pregnancy.

However, the courts cannot finalize a petition for adoption until after the baby is born. They must contact the biological parents 10 days before the petition becomes final and the parents must reaffirm their desire to release their parental rights. Consent becomes final after the child’s placement with adoptive parents unless the court finds it within the child’s best interest to revoke consent.

The mother, the legal father, a presumed father, or any person containing legal custody of the child may terminate parental rights. They may petition the family court in which they reside or the court where the child resides or was born.

SOURCE:adoptionservices.org

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

A birth father’s consent for adoption is required when the parents are married (or up to 300 days after divorce or the death of the mother), if marriage has been attempted before birth, or if unmarried parents establish paternity in writing with the Department of Health after the birth of their child.

Alternative means to establish paternity:

-With consent the man is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate
-He is obligated to support the child due to court orders
-If the child is a minor and the man has openly received and cared for the child in his home
-Court ordered genetic testing

Once signed, presumed fathers have 60 days (or before the first court hearing regarding the adoption, whichever comes first) to revoke their claim to paternity. After 60 days, revocation comes only if the father proves in court that the signature came under fraud or duress. Hawaii doesn’t have a putative father registry.

SOURCE:childwelfare.gov

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 legal and living expenses for an expectant mother.

There are, however, requirements governing such support. Above $500, a court must be advised of the support. Above $2,000, the court must authorize the payment of expenses.

Generally, individuals should provide financial support
through an adoption agency or attorney. Though Hawaii law doesn’t address this concern.

If the birth parent chooses to parent the child instead of placing, hopeful adoptive parents are legally entitled to have those expenses reimbursed by the birth parent.

Read more Adoption Wiki law section about birth parent expenses.

Domestic Infant Adoption - Finalization
14. Domestic Infant Adoption - Finalization

Adoptions will be finalized according to the best interests of the child being adopted.

Hopeful adoptive parents must file an adoption petition. After filing the court takes up to 6 months to finalize an adoption petition. In order for an adoption petition to be finalized birth parents need to give consent.

Birth mothers need to wait 32 days after the birth of their child before granting consent to an adoption petition. Once signed in court the adoption decree becomes irrevocable.

Check out Hawaii’s adoption laws for more information.

Domestic Infant Adoption - Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
15. 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.

In general, Hawaii state law does not address this issue. Post-adoption contracts are neither prohibited or enforced .

Because adoptive parents have the right to decide who may have contact with their adopted child, they can allow any amount of contact with birth family members, and such contacts often are arranged by mutual understanding without any formal agreement.

Domestic Infant Adoption – Adopting in Hawaii from Out-of-State
16. Domestic Infant Adoption – Adopting in Hawaii from Out-of-State

With private (usually domestic infant) adoptions, it is always possible to adopt a child within, even if you live in a different state. A non-resident is allowed to finalize an adoption in the state of Hawaii.

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

Different details about the birth and health of the child, and the specifics of the adoption plan, will determine the length of your stay in Hawaii. These prices are estimates; your actual price will depend on how much you’re willing to spend, the time of year you go, and personal interests.

Flight prices to Hawaii
Starting at $900 per person from the East Coast
Starting at $750 per person from the Mid-West
Starting at $475 per person from the West Coast

Hotel prices in Hawaii
Starting at $200–800 per night depending on the hotel luxury you wish for.

Places to see in Hawaii
Hawaii is one of the top vacation spots in the U.S. Many dream of going there; consequently, there’s a lot for a family to do. Family activities will depend on where you stay and on what island.

For a food budget, plan on about $70 per day per person.

Oahu: Pearl Harbor, the beaches, Haleakala National Park, and check out other activities.

Kauai: Na Pali Coast State WIlderness Park and other State Parks, waterfalls, and other activities.

Maui County Outer Islands: Enjoy the road to Hana,
Moloka’i’s Kalaupapa National Historical Park, and other activities.

Big Island: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, snorkeling, black sand beaches, and other activities.

Also do your own search! There’s a lot to see and these suggestions are only the beginning.

Foster Adoption in Hawaii
18. Foster Adoption in Hawaii

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 Hawaii.

Foster Adoption - Children Available for Foster Adoption in Hawaii
19. Foster Adoption - Children Available for Foster Adoption in Hawaii

There are around 200 children in foster care in Hawaii waiting for adoption.

Hawaii does not currently utilize the Adoption.com photolisting service.

Foster Adoption - Get Professional Help
20. Foster Adoption - Get Professional Help

In the state of Hawaii, you can complete a foster adoption either through a private agency that is licensed to provide foster care services or directly through the Hawaii Department of Human Services-Social Services.

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

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

ICPC State Pages

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

In Hawaii, a child can be placed with you for adoption by the Department of Human Services before his/her biological parent’s 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 Hawaii.

Not all foster-adoption placements are “legal risk” placements, however. Some children’s parents’ rights have been terminated, leaving them free and clear for adoption.

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

Hawaii law doesn’t address post adoption contact agreements; therefore, it should be assumed that they are not legally enforced.

Foster Care Adoption - Finalization
23. Foster Care Adoption - Finalization

In Hawaii, finalization is to be completed within six months. The birth parent rights need to be terminated before the court and is irrevocable at the signing. A non-resident can finalize.

An attorney can assist you with this process.

Adoption Assistance
24. Adoption Assistance

There is assistance for adopted children with special needs. Requirements for this assistance may vary depending on the situation.

In Hawaii, the maximum amount that can be received is $2,000 per child for “one-time” adoption expenses and may be received as soon as the adoption is finalized.

Foster Adoption – Adopting from Out-of-State
25. Foster Adoption – Adopting 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 Adoption – Traveling to Hawaii from Out-of-State
26. Foster Adoption Adoption – Traveling to Hawaii from Out-of-State

Different details about the birth and health of the child, and the specifics of the adoption plan, will determine the length of your stay in Hawaii. These prices are estimates; your actual price will depend on how much you’re willing to spend, the time of year you go, and personal interests.

Flight prices to Hawaii
Starting at $900 per person from the East Coast
Starting at $750 per person from the Mid-West
Starting at $475 per person from the West Coast

Hotel prices in Hawaii
Starting at $200–800 per night depending on the hotel luxury you wish for.

Places to see in Hawaii
Hawaii is one of the top vacation spots in the U.S. Many dream of going there; consequently, there’s a lot for a family to do. Family activities will depend on where you stay and on what island.

For a food budget, plan on about $70 per day per person.

Oahu: Pearl Harbor, the beaches, Haleakala National Park, and check out other activities.

Kauai: Na Pali Coast State WIlderness Park and other State Parks, waterfalls, and other activities.

Maui County Outer Islands: Enjoy the road to Hana,
Moloka’i’s Kalaupapa National Historical Park, and other activities.

Big Island: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, snorkeling, black sand beaches, and other activities.

Also do your own search! There’s a lot to see and these suggestions are only the beginning.

International Adoption in Hawaii
27. International Adoption in Hawaii

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 Hawaii.

International Adoption - Photolisting
28. International Adoption - Photolisting

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 Hawaii.

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

You will also need to request a U.S. birth certificate and social security number for your child.

Consult your adoption attorney or adoption agency about other post-adoption requirements specific to international adoption.

Read more about Hawaii's post-adoption requirements specific to international adoption.

Stepparent Adoption in Hawaii
31. Stepparent Adoption in Hawaii

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 Hawaii.

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.

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.

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Stacey Call


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