Nevada Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adoption in Nevada!

Kenneth Knudson October 10, 2016

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

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in NV, then sections dedicated to domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 9), 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)

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.

IMAGE: Galyna Andrushko

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

-Charles Fay invented the Liberty Bell slot machine in 1899. All slot machines since have followed this model.

-The Nevada Test Site had the highest concentration of nuclear-detonated weapons. From 1951-1992, 928 test were conducted at the site.

-Nicknamed the ‘Silver State’, Nevada is actually the largest producer of gold in the U.S., 4th largest producer in the world.

-15 of the top 25 hotels in the world are in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada boasts more hotel rooms than any other city on earth.

-Nevada also has the highest number of mountain ranges in the United States.

SOURCE: nevadafunfacts.com

IMAGE: Andrew Zarivny

Adoption in Nevada at a Glance
3. Adoption in Nevada at a Glance

Kids in foster kids waiting to be adopted in 2013: 1,956

Foster adoptions completed in 2013: 721

International adoptions completed in 2015: 18

SOURCE: cwla.org

travel.state.gov

Can I Adopt in Nevada?
4. Can I Adopt in Nevada?

Age: 21 (also 10 years older if the adoptee is a child); If the adoptee is an adult, any adult who is older than the adoptee may adopt

Marital Status: Single or married

Work: Stable income to provide for a family, enough room to house a child

Personality: Warm, trustworthy, willing to adapt to new situations

Experience: None required

Income: Sufficient to cover financial needs

Other Requirements: Must be a legal resident of Nevada to adopt a foster care child. Must have a landline phone.

DISQUALIFYING CRIMES: Spousal or child abuse/neglect, crimes against children, and violent crimes including homicide, sexual assault

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 Nevada
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in Nevada

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 Nevada.

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

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

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

For more information about picking an adoption agency, learn about the Top Fifteen Things to Look for In 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.

Paid adoption facilitators/adoption advertising is limited or restricted in many states. The following are the guidelines outlined in Nevada state statutes regarding adoption facilitators and adoption advertising:

Use of Facilitators
No person may place, arrange the placement of, or assist in placing any child for adoption without securing and displaying a license to operate a child-placing agency. This applies to agents, attorneys of parents/guardians, physicians, and other persons. This does not prohibit:

-A parent/guardian from placing their child for adoption
-An agency from placing, arranging, or assisting in any placement for a child to be adopted
-A person from sharing adoption information as long as no money is received by either party

Use of Advertisement
In Nevada, adoption agencies may publish in any newspaper or broadcast on a television show a picture of a child difficult to place for adoption. A child placing agency may not publish:

-Personal information revealing the identity of the child or the parents
-Photographs or personal information without prior approval of the adoption agency with custody of the child

No person other than a licensed child-placing agency may advertise their desire to place a child for adoption; accept, supply, provide, or obtain children for adoption; or create any type of advertisement soliciting their desire to place or receive a child for adoption.

SOURCE: § 127.283; 127.310(1); 127.240; 127.290(1); 127.285(1)

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

Regardless of whether you choose to adopt through an agency or adoption attorney, hopeful adoptive parents need to complete a home study to qualify for adoption.

This is different than a single home visit. The process includes completing paperwork, writing essays, obtaining letters of recommendation, completing a physical, and undergoing a criminal history background check. In a home study, a caseworker may visit multiple times in order to write a report culminating in approval for adoption.

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

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 through 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

Without relinquishment of parental rights or consent, no adoption in Nevada is final.

Who is required to give consent:
-Both parents, if both are living
-One parent if the other is deceased
-The guardian of the child appointed by court
-The child if 14 or older

When consent is not needed:
-If the parent has been ruled insane for at least 2 years and the courts find after proof that the insanity is incurable
-If parental rights have already been terminated by a different court of competent jurisdiction

When consent can be executed:
-Parents must wait 72 hours after birth to give their consent
-Unmarried fathers may give consent at any time

How Consent must be executed:
-Identifies the child to be adopted by name, sex, DOB
-Is in writing, signed by the person giving consent
-Is acknowledged by the person signing consent in the manner and form of conveyances of real property
-Contains, at the time of execution, the name of the person or persons to whom consent to adopt the child is given
-Is completed in front of two disinterested witnesses, who sign in the presence of the person giving consent

Revocation of consent:
Signed consent is irrevocable unless proven in court that the consent came under fraud or duress.

Consent from an unmarried father becomes invalid if:
-The father marries the mother before birth of the child
-The mother does not execute release or consent to the adoption within 6 months after birth of the child
-No petition for adoption of the child has been filed within 2 years after birth of the child

SOURCE: § 127.040; 127.020; 127.090;127.070; 127.053; 127.043; 127.057; 127.070; 127.080

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

In many states a paternity registry allows unmarried fathers to register their information and receive notice of adoption proceedings.

Paternity registry:
While Nevada does not currently have a putative father registry, unmarried fathers at the time of the child’s birth may have their name entered into the original birth certificate for the child if both the mother and father sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.

The hospital at the time of the child’s birth is required to give the father and mother notice, orally and in writing, of the rights, responsibilities, and consequences of signing the voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.

Once signed, a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity establishes the parent child relationship for the father and gives him the right to take part in adoption proceedings.

Revocation of claim to paternity:
Unmarried fathers have 60 days from the signing of a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity or the date of the first court hearing, whichever comes first, to revoke their claim to paternity.

After this time period the acknowledgement may not be overruled unless proved in court that the acknowledgement came by fraud or duress.

SOURCE: § 126.053(2), 440.280; 440.283; 126.053

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 certain expenses for expectant mothers. There are, however, laws governing such support.

Approved Expenses:
A person may pay the necessary living and medical expenses related to the birth of the child as an act of charity as long as payment is not contingent to the natural parent’s consent to, placement of, cooperation in, the adoption of the child.

Banned Expenses:
Any expense that is covered by hopeful adoptive parents with the hope of receiving consent for adoption from the biological parents.

SOURCE: § 127.287(3)

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

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that determines the amount of contact birth and adoptive families have after the adoption becomes final.

In Nevada, post-adoption contact agreements are legally enforceable if the agreement is in writing and signed by both parties and included in an order or decree of adoption.

Who may be included in the agreement:
-The adopted child and their natural parents/parent
-The adoptive parents and the natural parents

What is the role of the court in the agreement:
The court reserves the right to terminate, modify, or enforce contract agreements until the adopted child turns 18, the child becomes emancipated, or the court terminates the agreement.

A post-adoption contact agreement does not affect the rights of the adoptive parent’s as the legal parents of the child.

Before a decree of adoption becomes final, the court must notify the adoption agency, the attorney representing the adoptive parents, and the child, that the natural and adoptive parents have entered into a post-adoption contact agreement.

The court must request a copy of the agreement to be incorporated into the decree of adoption.

Are agreements legally enforceable?:
Yes, as long as the agreement is entered into before the final decree of adoption, signed in writing by both parties, and acknowledged by both parties that the agreement does not affect the rights adoptive parents as the legal parents. The court retains jurisdiction over the agreement.

Contact must be enforced not later than 120 after the agreement was reached.

How agreements may be terminated/modified:
The agreement may be terminated or modified if adoptive parents petition the court that completed the decree of adoption. The court grants the request to modify or terminate the post-adoption contact agreement only if the adoptive parent establishes that:
-Changes in circumstance warrant the modification or termination
-The contact provided for in the agreement is no longer in the child’s best interest

Any order to modify the agreement:
-May limit, restrict, or decrease the amount of contact between the parties involved in the agreement
-May not expand or increases the amount of contact between the parties involved or place new obligations on the adoptive parents

SOURCE: § 127.187; 127.188; 127.1885; 127.1895

Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization
15. Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization

The child must live with hopeful adoptive parents for at least 6 months before an adoption hearing to finalize the adoption can be scheduled.

In the case of a stepparent adoption, the 6 month waiting period can be waived.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting in Nevada from Out-of-State
16. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting in Nevada from Out-of-State

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

IMAGE: TFoxFoto

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

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in Nevada. Hotels in Nevada average around $115 a night.

Places to visit in Nevada:
-Hoover Dam
-Red Rock Canyon
-Valley of Fire State Park
-National Atomic Testing Museum
-Las Vegas Strip

IMAGE: Andrew Zarivny

Foster Adoption in Nevada
18. Foster Adoption in Nevada

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 Nevada.

Foster Adoption: Children Available for Adoption in Nevada
19. Foster Adoption: Children Available for Adoption in Nevada

As of 2013, there are 1,956 children in the Nevada foster care system waiting to be adopted.

Click here to view a current photolisting of children available in Nevada.

Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help
20. Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help

In the state of Nevada, you can complete a foster adoption either through a private agency that is licensed to provide foster care services or directly through the Department of Children and Families.

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

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

In Nevada, a child may be placed with hopeful adoptive parents before their biological parents’ 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 Nevada.

Other children are legally free and clear for adoption and would not be considered a “legal risk” placement.

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

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that determines the amount of contact birth and adoptive families have after the adoption becomes final.

In Nevada, post-adoption contact agreements are legally enforceable if the agreement is in writing and signed by both parties and included in an order or decree of adoption.

Who may be included in the agreement:
-The adopted child and their natural parents/parent
-The adoptive parents and the natural parents

What is the role of the court in the agreement:
The court reserves the right to terminate, modify, or enforce contract agreements until the adopted child turns 18, the child becomes emancipated, or the court terminates the agreement.

A post-adoption contact agreement does not affect the rights of the adoptive parent’s as the legal parents of the child.

Before a decree of adoption becomes final, the court must notify the adoption agency, the attorney representing the adoptive parents, and the child, that the natural and adoptive parents have entered into a post-adoption contact agreement.

The court must request a copy of the agreement to be incorporated into the decree of adoption.

Are agreements legally enforceable?:
Yes, as long as the agreement is entered into before the final decree of adoption, signed in writing by both parties, and acknowledged by both parties that the agreement does not affect the rights adoptive parents as the legal parents. The court retains jurisdiction over the agreement.

Contact must be enforced not later than 120 after the agreement was reached.

How agreements may be terminated/modified:
The agreement may be terminated or modified if adoptive parents petition the court that completed the decree of adoption. The court grants the request to modify or terminate the post-adoption contact agreement only if the adoptive parent establishes that:
-Changes in circumstance warrant the modification or termination
-The contact provided for in the agreement is no longer in the child’s best interest

Any order to modify the agreement:
-May limit, restrict, or decrease the amount of contact between the parties involved in the agreement
-May not expand or increases the amount of contact between the parties involved or place new obligations on the adoptive parents

SOURCE: § 127.187; 127.188; 127.1885; 127.1895

Foster Adoption: Finalization
23. Foster Adoption: Finalization

The child must live with hopeful adoptive parents for at least 6 months before an adoption hearing to finalize the adoption can be scheduled.

In the case of a stepparent adoption, the 6 month waiting period can be waived.

Adoption Assistance
24. Adoption Assistance

Financial aid is available for hopeful adoptive parents wishing to adopt a child with special needs. Federal (Title IV-E) and state (often called non-IV-E) adoption assistance programs are designed to help parents meet their adopted children’s varied, and often costly, needs.

The amount you receive varies greatly depending upon your child’s specific needs and circumstances. In order to be eligible, your child must meet one of the following criteria considered to be a barrier for adoption:

-Five years old or older
-Difficult to place due to race
-Member of sibling group of 2 or more where at least one child is above the age of 3
-Diagnosed with physical, mental, or emotional disability, or documented case of abuse or neglect requiring intervention or treatment
-At risk to developing further problems due to documented factors in child’s past

Children who receive non-IV-E adoption assistance are not automatically eligible for Medicaide.

For monthly assistance rates and state contacts information please visit NACAC.org.

SOURCE: nacac.org

Foster Adoption: Adopting in Nevada from Out-of-State
25. Foster Adoption: Adopting in Nevada 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.

IMAGE: Evgeniya Lystsova

Foster Adoption: Traveling to Nevada from Out-of-State
26. Foster Adoption: Traveling to Nevada from Out-of-State

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in Nevada. Hotels in Nevada average around $115 a night.

Places to visit in Nevada:
-Hoover Dam
-Red Rock Canyon
-Valley of Fire State Park
-National Atomic Testing Museum
-Las Vegas Strip

IMAGE: Evgeniya Lystsova

International Adoption in Nevada
27. International Adoption in Nevada

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 Nevada.

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 Nevada.

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

In order for a child adopted from a different country to enter the United States, adoptive parents must meet all requirements set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the country in which the child resides, and occasionally the adoptive parents’ State of residence.

As part of this process you will need to request a U.S. visa and birth certificate.

Application for a U.S. birth certificate
Upon receiving evidence that the adoptee is a citizen of the U.S. and the parents are residents of Nevada, the State Registrar will prepare and file a supplementary certificate of birth and seal and file the report.

SOURCE: § 440.310(3)

Stepparent Adoption in Nevada
31. Stepparent Adoption in Nevada

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 Nevada.

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

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the corresponding parental 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.

IMAGE: Nagel Photography

Works Cited
35. Works Cited

http://www.cwla.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/2015-State-Fact-Sheet-Nevada.pdf

https://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/about-us/statistics.html

http://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/nrs-127.html#NRS127Sec283

http://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/nrs-127.html#NRS127Sec040

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/NRS-440.html#NRS440Sec280

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/NRS-126.html#NRS126Sec053

http://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/nrs-127.html#NRS127Sec187

http://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/nrs-127.html#NRS127Sec287

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/NRS-440.html#NRS440Sec310

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Kenneth Knudson


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