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ADOPTION IN
Idaho

Idaho

Domestic Infant Adoptions can be completed through adoption agencies and attorneys. They can help prospective adoptive parents adopt domestically. You can contact an adoption professional here.

International Adoptions must be completed through adoption agencies and attorneys. They can help prospective adoptive parents adopt internationally. Click here to find more information on international adoption.

Foster Care Adoptions in Idaho can be completed through the Department of Health and Welfare (208-334-0641).

Gallery of children waiting to be adopted.

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The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.

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Adoption in Idaho

By: Jennifer S Jones

Deciding to build your family through adoption is a wonderful journey. But understanding who can adopt, the type of children available for adoption, and the policies and procedures related to various types of adoption can be confusing. Whether you choose to adopt domestically, through foster care, or internationally, here is everything you need to know about adoption in Idaho.

Who Qualifies?

For adoption in Idaho, three different qualifications are depending on the type of adoption a family wishes to pursue. Prospective adoptive parents interested in domestic adoption must have lived in the state a minimum of six consecutive months, be at least 25 years old, and be at least 15 years older than the child who is to be adopted. If a couple is married, then both spouses must consent to the adoption. Adoption from foster care has similar requirements, but it is important to note that individuals may begin fostering at the age of 21. A stable income, adequate space for a foster child, and a stable environment are also required. International adoption requires the same minimum age as domestic adoption (25 years old), but many countries have rules regarding older parent adoption. Other restrictions may include income, health status, educational status, and marital status. After deciding on which country to adopt from, families should check with either their agency or the U.S. Department of State for current country adoption regulations.

What Children Are Available?

When selecting which program is right for you, it is important to consider the type of child you are hoping to adopt. Would a newborn or an older child fit best with your family? Do you prefer to adopt domestically or internationally? Domestically, there are either infants available, mostly through private adoption, or older children, through foster care. In Idaho, there are approximately 1,400 children currently in the state foster care system who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Some children have special needs, many are school-aged, and sibling groups are common. Children available from international adoption are typically between 15 months to 8 years at placement, depending on their birth country. Most children have minor to medically correctable special needs, and some have more severe to lifelong special needs. Older child adoption is possible from countries such as Honduras, and sibling groups are possible from countries such as Colombia.

Beginning the Process

Once you decide which kind of adoption—domestic, foster care, or international—is right for you, the next step is to find a professional. Families pursuing adoption in Idaho may work with either a private, state-licensed agency, a public agency (facilitated by the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare), or use an independent facilitator. It is important to note, however, that independent international adoptions are illegal, so families pursuing international adoption must use a Hague-accredited adoption agency. When choosing an agency or a facilitator, remember to ask questions before making your decision. What are their average wait times from home study to match? What kind of support do they provide throughout the process? What are the average costs? What happens if the adoption is disrupted? If an agency or facilitator’s answers don’t seem right, keep looking. There are several agencies and facilitators available for adoption in Idaho, so take the time to choose which one is right for you.

Regardless of the type of adoption, a family is pursuing, the next step will be to complete preadoption parent training and a home study. The purpose of a home study is to assess a family’s ability to care for and raise a child and to assess what type of child will be the best fit for the family. Background checks, fingerprinting, employment letters, physicals, and personal reference letters all go into the home study, which is augmented by one-on-one meetings between the social worker and the family. The home study must be compiled and submitted by a state-licensed professional and completed within 60 days. Preadoption parent training will need to be completed as well during this time. For both adoptions from foster care and international adoption, there is a minimum of 20 hours of preadoption training required.

Identifying a Child

Upon the completion of the home study, families are eligible to be matched with a child. For adoption in Idaho, families adopting domestically may not advertise directly to birth mothers, but adoptive Parent Profiles are permitted. If someone is not already identified, a family’s agency or facilitator will work to identify a birth mother. Once identified, the agency or facilitator will broker the terms of the adoption. Families adopting from foster care can identify a child directly from a photo listing or through Idaho Wednesday’s Child. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare does not help families connect with a specific child, so families must work to identify a child through one of the websites, then contact their social worker to begin proceedings. Families adopting internationally have a very different process in that after their home study, they must complete a country-specific dossier and immigration paperwork. A dossier is essentially a compilation of documents, similar to the home study, which must be notarized, apostilled, then authenticated. Families will work to complete an I-600a or I-800A form with USCIS, which will allow the child to enter the United States, then their agency will submit everything to the family’s country of choice. The country will log-in the family’s dossier and, upon acceptance by the foreign governing body, a family will be eligible to receive a match. Some children are preidentified through sites like Rainbow Kids, but often agencies have their own matchmakers in-country who will work to identify a child of the age, gender, and special need(s) a family has specified. Once a child is identified, the family will evaluate the referral and choose whether to accept it or not. If the family chooses to accept the referral, they will work to complete the acceptance paperwork, which includes notifying USCIS.

The Adoption

Surviving the wait is often the most difficult part of the process for prospective adoptive parents. Once a match is made, it can seem like an eternity before the child is born or families are permitted to travel. For domestic adoption in Idaho, once the child is born, consent may be given at any time. According to Idaho Law § 16-1510A, the birth mother may decide to give consent if she is unmarried and the birth father has neither come forward and expressed an interest to raise the child nor registered with the Idaho Putative Father Registry via the Vital Statistics Unit of the Department of Health and Welfare. If neither of these takes place, the father’s parental rights will be deemed to have been waived, and no notice of the adoption proceedings will be issued to him. Written consent to the adoption must take place before an authorized officer, district judge, or court magistrate. Once consent has been given, it becomes irrevocable.

Families adopting from foster care will be able to welcome the child into their home upon the completion of their home study. In the event the parental rights of the child have already been terminated, the family may finalize the adoption in court following a six-month waiting period, during which several post-placement visits will occur. Any child over the age of 12 must consent to the adoption in Idaho. If the child is not legally free for adoption, then the child may remain in his or her home through a legal risk adoptive placement. A legal risk adoptive placement is one in which a child is not yet legally free for adoption, but the agency is working to terminate parental rights. These adoptions may take more time and may end in the child remaining unfree after the proceedings.

The process of international adoption varies depending on which country a family chooses. Some countries, such as South Korea and parts of India, require two trips to complete the adoption, whereas other countries, such as China, require only one two-week trip. For Hague Convention countries, the adoption will be finalized in-country in either local court or through the country’s central adoption authority. For non-Hague Convention countries, such as South Korea, the adoption will need to be finalized in the United States upon returning home. Once the child is in the family’s custody, they will travel to the in-country U.S. Embassy and obtain their child’s visa (either an IH-3 or an IR-3). Upon entry into the United States, your child will become a U.S. citizen.

Post-Placement

Welcoming a new child into your home and heart takes some adjustment. Regardless of whether a family adopts domestically, from foster care, or internationally, a state-licensed social worker will follow-up with the family for at least six months. The purpose of these post-placement visits is to assess how the family is adjusting, offer tips to help ease the transition, and measure the child’s development and milestones. For families adopting internationally, these post-placement visits may last over the course of several years. Remember, post-placement visits are an important way for foreign countries to ensure their children are in good hands.

Finalizing the Adoption

Once the adoption is complete, families will work to finalize their adoption in a court of law. For families pursuing adoption in Idaho across state lines, they will finalize the adoption in their home state. Families adopting domestically or from foster care must wait a minimum of six months to finalize the adoption. This is to allow for the post-placement visits to take place. A report of the post-placement visits, along with the termination of parental rights/consent, will be presented to the judge at a hearing. The judge will evaluate if the adoption was conducted legally and ethically, and then the judge will issue a final adoption decree. If the child’s name needs to be changed, the court will issue a certificate, and families will file to receive a new birth certificate for their child. Families adopting internationally may or may not need to finalize their adoption in state court, but it is still a good idea to do so. Often, a court will file and enter an order recognizing the foreign adoption without a formal hearing. Finalizing the adoption in the U.S. allows for a new birth certificate to be issued for the child, and the child’s records to be maintained by Vital Statistics.

Adoption Expenses

One of the biggest questions many families have is how much will an adoption cost? Families pursuing domestic adoption in Idaho can expect to pay for legal, medical, and reasonable living expenses during the birth mother’s pregnancy and up to six weeks postpartum. Any financial expense exceeding $500 must be approved by the court and the total financial assistance to the birth parents may not exceed $2,000 without the court’s specific authorization. Payment may not be made directly to the birth parents, so prospective adoptive parents must use a third-party vendor, such as their adoption agency or an adoption facilitator, to transfer the funds. If the birth parents revoke their decision, then the court will order the birth parents to reimburse the prospective adoptive parents for all adoption expenses paid by the prospective adoptive parents to the birth parents. The total cost of domestic adoption in Idaho is between $15,000-$40,000, depending on advertising fees and if a family chooses independent or agency adoption. Families adopting from foster care in Idaho can expect to pay between $0-$2,500. These costs include finalizing the adoption, though no fee is charged for home study or post-placement supervision. Families adopting internationally can expect to pay between $25,000-$45,000, depending on their country of choice.

Thankfully, there is assistance available for families. Families pursuing foster adoption in Idaho may use the Idaho Adoption Assistance to reimburse up to $2,000 in adoption-related expenses. Additionally, families can expect to receive monthly subsidies along with a Medicaid card to assist with medical expenses until the child is 18. Some employers offer adoption benefits, and active-duty military personnel can find reimbursement for adoption-related expenses through the National Military Family Association. All families can partake in the adoption tax credit (ATC), which permits a tax credit of $13,810 per child. The credit can be used over the course of five years, and families adopting domestically may take advantage of the credit as soon as they begin the process. Families adopting domestically may use the ATC whether the adoption is finalized or not. Families adopting internationally will have to wait until the adoption is complete to claim the tax credit. Still worried about affording adoption? There are countless loans and grants available to families, so be sure to do your research.

Pursuing adoption can be daunting but it is an incredible journey and a beautiful way to build a family. Do you have experience with adoption in Idaho? Any tips or advice?


Photolisting See All

 

Can I Adopt in Idaho?

Applicants can be single, married, or divorced. Parents must be 25 years of age or at least 15 years older than the adopted child. Those wishing to foster a child must complete Idaho PRIDE classes in order to gain the experience necessary. Parents must complete a criminal background check as well as pass a physical exam. Applicants can own or rent a home, as long as the home has enough space for the child. A completed home study is also required in order to adopt. While you do not need to be rich in order to adopt, parents should have a stable income in order to provide for the family.

 

What Adoption Regulations Exist in Idaho?

Advertising: Only licensed adoption agencies and attorneys can advertise that a child is available for adoption in Idaho. § 18-1512A

 

Relinquishment: No time period is given in Idaho statutes for when consent can be given. If birth parents wish to revoke consent, they must reimburse adoptive parents of any expenses paid. § 16-1515

 

Birth parent expenses: Any person or agency may provide money to the birth parents for legal and medical costs, maternity expenses, and living expenses during pregnancy but not to exceed 6 weeks postpartum. Any amount above $500 will need to be cleared by the courts. The total amount of expenses covered shall not exceed $2,000 unless cleared by the courts. § 18-1511

 

Post-adoption contact agreements: Contact agreements in Idaho are not legally enforceable.

 

Birth father rights: Unmarried fathers wishing to receive notice of adoption proceedings and claim paternity may file their information with the vital statistics unit of the Department of Health and Welfare. Notice may be filed prior to the child’s birth, but must be filed before the child is placed for adoption. Unmarried fathers who fail to file notice before the child’s placement, or the court hearing to terminate the birth mother’s parental rights (whichever occurs first), waive and surrender all parental rights in connection with the child and are barred from taking part in any future attempt to establish paternity.

 

Finalization: Children must live with hopeful adoptive parents for at least 6 months before adoption finalization.

 

Review Idaho adoption laws in detail.

 

Is Adoption Assistance Available in Idaho?

Many of the children waiting to be adopted in Idaho have special needs. Federal (Title IV-E) and state (non-IV-E) programs exist to help adoptive parents meet their child’s needs. In Idaho, monthly payments range from $329-487, depending upon the age of your child. For more information about adoption assistance in Idaho, please visit NACAC.org.

 

Can I adopt a Child from another country?

It is always possible to adopt a child from another country, even if you live in the United States. Children under 18 adopted from a Hague Convention country entering the U.S. with an IH-3 visa may automatically receive U.S. citizenship.

 

Children adopted from a non convention country must qualify as orphans before receiving U.S. citizenship. When U.S. citizens finalize an adoption abroad, they must apply to the USCIS for an IR-3 visa for the child. An IR-3 visa classifies the child as an immigrant and provides the child with citizenship upon arrival in the States.

 

The immigration process varies for intercountry adoptions that are finalized after the child arrives in the States. Idaho gives full effect and recognition to foreign adoptions as long as hopeful adoptive parents file the foreign adoption decree with an Idaho court.

 

Parents may choose to readopt a child after submitting the final foreign adoption decree with the court in the Idaho county they currently reside in. § 16-1514(4)

 

State Contacts

Gallery of children waiting to be adopted: https://adoption.com/photolisting?page=1&search_type=state&range=15

 

State subsidy contact person:
Stephanie Miller

Idaho Department of Health & Welfare

450 West State St, 5th floor

Boise, ID 83702

Phone: 208-334-5697

Fax: 208-332-7330

Email: MillerS2@dhw.idaho.gov

 

Summary

Adoptions in Idaho can be completed through the Department of Health and Welfare.

 

Applicants can be single, married, or divorced. Parents must be 25 years old or at least 15 years older than the adoptee. Foster parents must complete Idaho PRIDE classes. All applicants must complete a home study.

Only licensed adoption agencies and attorneys can advertise that a child is available for adoption. Unmarried fathers wishing to receive notice of adoption proceedings may file their information with the vital statistics unit of the Department of Health and Welfare.

No time period is given for adoption consent. Consenting parties can revoke if they reimburse adoptive parents of any expenses paid. The following expenses are permitted: medical, maternity, and living expenses during pregnancy, but not to exceed 6 weeks postpartum.

 

Contact agreements are not legally enforceable. Children must live with hopeful adoptive parents for at least 6 months before finalization.

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