New Mexico Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adoption in New Mexico

Kenneth Knudson October 03, 2016

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

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in NM, 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)

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: Erik Harrison

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

-Santa Fe is the highest capital in the U.S. at 7,000 feet above sea level

-Each October Albuquerque hosts the world’s largest hot air balloon festival

-The first atomic bomb was detonated just outside of Alamogordo on July 16, 1945

-Built in 1610, The Palace of Governors is one of America’s oldest buildings to date

-The leaves of the Yucca, New Mexico’s state flower, can be used to make rope, sandals, and baskets

SOURCE: 50states.com

IMAGE: Richard Susanto

Can I Adopt in New Mexico
3. Can I Adopt in New Mexico

Age: 21

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

Other Requirements: In order to be a foster parent, the state requires hopeful adoptive parents to complete special training

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

Developing a Support System
4. 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 New Mexico
5. Domestic Infant Adoption in New Mexico

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 New Mexico.

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

In New Mexico 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 New Mexico.

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 are banned or restricted in many states, including New Mexico. In New Mexico no person, other than an agency, may select an adoptive family for a prospective adoptee or arrange for the selection.

However, the exchange of information regarding a potential adoptee or adoptive family is legal. Advertising is allowed for birth parents only.

SOURCE: § 32A-5-42(A)

Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study
7. 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 Four.

Click here to learn more about the Home Study process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word
9. 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
10. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

Without relinquishment of parental rights or consent, no adoption in New Mexico is final. Both the birth mother and, if applicable, legally recognized father must sign the consent to relinquish.

Parents must wait 48 hours after the child's birth to sign consent.

All consents must be in writing and contain the following:

-The date, time, and place of execution
-The birth date and place of the child and any names the child has gone by
-If known the identity of the adoptive parent
-That consent or relinquishment cannot be withdrawn
-That the person giving consent waives further notice to adoption proceedings

Consent can only be withdrawn before the final adoption decree in court if the court finds that the consent was obtained by fraud.

SOURCE: §§ 32A-5-21(I); 32A-5-17; 32A-5-21; 32A-5-23

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

New Mexico currently utilizes a paternity registry for unmarried fathers. Unmarried fathers who wish to receive notice of adoption proceedings may file a notice of intent to claim paternity of the child.

When filed, the father’s name and address is recorded in the state paternity registry database.

Any person adjudicated by the court to be the father of the child shall also be recorded in the state paternity registry.

For more information on alternative methods to establish paternity, click here.

Unmarried fathers may revoke their claim to paternity at any time. Fathers have 10 days from receiving notice of adoption proceedings to claim paternity.

SOURCE: § 32A-5-20

Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws About Birth Parent Expenses
12. 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:
-Reasonable and actual hospital, medical, pharmaceutical, and travel expenses in connection with the birth and/or illness of the child
-Reasonable living expenses for the birth mother for a reasonable time before or after birth or placement
-Expenses incurred for purpose of full disclosure
-Any legal service performed for person who consents to adoption
-Any other service or expense the court finds necessary

Banned Expenses:
-Living expenses beyond 6 weeks after the child’s birth
-Any payments other than those permitted by the law

SOURCE: § 32A-5-34(B)

Domestic Infant Adoption: Post Adoption Contact Agreements
13. 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 New Mexico, a post adoption contact agreement may be formed if in the best interest of the child. Agreements may include the amount of contact between the adoptee and their siblings. These agreements are legally enforceable in court in New Mexico.

In fact, every post-adoption contact agreement in New Mexico shall contain a clause stating that the parties agree to continuing jurisdiction of the courts. However, broken contact agreements never nullify an adoption order.

Any child over 14 may receive an attorney to help them decide if the visitation/contact is in their best interest. All contact agreements are made with the child’s best interest in mind first.

SOURCE: § 32A-5-35

Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization
14. Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization

The child must live with hopeful adoptive parents for at least 90 days before an adoption can become final.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting in New Mexico from Out-of-State
15. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting in New Mexico from Out-of-State

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

The only regulation is that that the child must be a resident of or was born in the state of New Mexico and is less than 6 months old and was placed by an agency/department licensed to practice in New Mexico.

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: Josemaria Toscano

Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to New Mexico from Out-of-State
16. Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to New Mexico from Out-of-State

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in New Mexico. Hotels in New Mexico average around $100 a night.

Places to Visit in New Mexico:
-White Sands National Monument
-Carlsbad Caverns National Park
-Bandelier National Monument
-Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
-Palace of the Governors

IMAGE: sumikophoto

Foster Adoption in New Mexico
17. Foster Adoption in New Mexico

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 New Mexico.

Foster Adoption: Children Available for Adoption in New Mexico
18. Foster Adoption: Children Available for Adoption in New Mexico

There are currently 838 children in the New Mexico foster care system waiting to be adopted.

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

Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help
19. Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help

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

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

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

In New Mexico, 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 New Mexico.

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

Foster Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
21. 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 New Mexico, a post adoption contact agreement may be formed if in the best interest of the child. Agreements may include the amount of contact between the adoptee and their siblings. These agreements are legally enforceable in court in New Mexico.

In fact, every post-adoption contact agreement in New Mexico shall contain a clause stating that the parties agree to continuing jurisdiction of the courts. However, broken contact agreements never nullify an adoption order.

Any child over 14 may receive an attorney to help them decide if the visitation/contact is in their best interest. All contact agreements are made with the child’s best interest in mind first.

SOURCE: § 32A-5-35

Foster Adoption: Finalization
22. Foster Adoption: Finalization

The child must live with hopeful adoptive parents for 6 months before an adoption can become final.

Adoption Assistance
23. Adoption Assistance

Financial aid is available for hopeful adoptive parents wishing to adopt a child with special 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 of age or older
-Member of minority group
-Member of sibling group of two or more children to be placed together
-Has a diagnosis of an emotional, physical, psychological, or mental condition requiring medical intervention

For a list of maximum monthly rats and state subsidy contacts, visit NACAC.org.


SOURCE: NACAC.ORG

Foster Adoption: Adopting in New Mexico from Out-of-State
24. Foster Adoption: Adopting in New Mexico 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:

Foster Adoption: Traveling to New Mexico from Out-of-State
25. Foster Adoption: Traveling to New Mexico from Out-of-State

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in New Mexico. Hotels in New Mexico average around $100 a night.

Places to Visit in New Mexico:
-White Sands National Monument
-Carlsbad Caverns National Park
-Bandelier National Monument
-Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
-Palace of the Governors

IMAGE: Herbert Heinsche

International Adoption in New Mexico
26. International Adoption in New Mexico

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 New Mexico.

International Adoption: Photolisting
27. 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
28. 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 New Mexico.

In order to be approved to adopt internationally, you will need to complete an international adoption-specific home study.

International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements
29. International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements

Every adoption order entered into in another country that the U.S. has ratified shall be recognized in this state as if the courts in New Mexico issued the order of adoption.

In order for the child to be readopted in the United States, parents must file a petition for adoption stating that the child is legally free for adoption, the country in which the child is from, the agency providing the adoption service, and the certificate issued by the U.S. Secretary of State that certifies the adoption as a convention adoption has been filed with the courts.

You will also need to request a U.S. birth certificate for your child within 30 days after an adoption decree becomes final.

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

Read more about New Mexicos post-adoption requirements specific to international adoption here.

Stepparent Adoption in New Mexico
30. Stepparent Adoption in New Mexico

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 New Mexico.

Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights
31. 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
32. 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: Barna Tanko

Works Cited
34. Works Cited

http://www.50states.com/facts/new-mexico.htm

https://www.nacac.org/policy/statefactsheets/New%20Mexico%20ADOPTION%20FACTS.pdf

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

http://law.justia.com/codes/new-mexico/2013/chapter-32a/article-5/section-32a-5-42.1
http://law.justia.com/codes/new-mexico/2006/nmrc/jd_32a-5-21-d5b9.html

http://law.justia.com/codes/new-mexico/2006/nmrc/jd_32a-5-20-d5b7.html

http://law.justia.com/codes/new-mexico/2011/chapter32A/article5/section32A-5-34

http://law.justia.com/codes/new-mexico/2006/nmrc/jd_32a-5-35-d5d5.html

http://www.nacac.org/adoptionsubsidy/stateprofiles/newmexico.html

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Kenneth Knudson


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