South Carolina Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adoption in South Carolina

Kenneth Knudson September 03, 2016

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

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in SC, 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: Sean Pavone

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

-The salamander is South Carolina’s official state amphibian

-Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island used spongy Palmetto logs, which helped the Americans defend Charleston harbor because cannonballs bounced off the spongy material

-The first battle of the Civil War took place at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina

-South Carolina is the nation’s leading peach producer/shipper east of the Mississippi

-South Carolina is home to the one of the premier resort spots on the east coast--Myrtle Beach

SOURCE: 50states.com

IMAGE: Artazum

Adoption in South Carolina at a Glance
3. Adoption in South Carolina at a Glance

Kids in foster care available for adoption in 2013: 1,226

Foster adoptions completed in 2013: 506

International adoptions completed in 2015: 89

SOURCE: cwla.org
travel.state.gov

Can I Adopt in South Carolina
4. Can I Adopt in South Carolina

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
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 South Carolina
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in South Carolina

Before you get started, click here 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 South Carolina.

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

In South Carolina, 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 South Carolina.

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 that matches birth parents with adoptive parents in exchange for a fee.

Paid adoption facilitators are banned or restricted in many states, including South Carolina. No person or entity other than the Department of Social Services, a child placing agency licensed in this State, or an attorney licensed in this State may advertise that the person or entity will place or accept a child for adoption.

SOURCE: §§ 63-9-30(5); 63-9-310(F); 63-9-70

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. 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
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 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 South Carolina is final.

Who is required to give consent?
-The parents of a child conceived during marriage
-The mother of a child born out of wedlock
-The father of a child born when the father was not married to the mother if the child is more than 6 months old at the time of placement, but only if the father kept in continuous contact with the mother and the child
-The father of a child born when the father was not married to the mother if the child is less than 6 months old at the time of placement, but only if the father openly lived with the mother during the 6 month time frame and openly held himself as the father or paid money to support the child

When can consent be given?
Consent can be given any time after the child’s birth. Consent or relinquishment must be made by a sworn document by the biological parents or agency relinquishing their rights. The sworn document must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, one of whom must be the following:
-A judge
-A licensed attorney who is not currently representing the prospective adoptive parents
-A person certified by the State Department of Social Services to obtain consents
-When consent is obtained outside of South Carolina, an attorney or agency licensed to practice in that state

Can consent be revoked?
Revocation of consent can only come when the biological parents petition the court. The court must find that revocation is in the child’s best interest and that the consent came under fraud or duress in order to revoke consent.

SOURCE: §§ 63-9-330; 63-9-350

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

South Carolina currently utilizes a paternity registry for unmarried fathers.Fathers who register are required to receive notice of adoption proceedings and have 30 days to respond.

Unmarried fathers who take actions to establish paternity get the right receive notice of adoption proceedings as well.

Some of those actions include giving money to the mother and child, visiting the family at least once a month if the father is financially able to do so, and regular communication by the father with the child and mother.

SOURCE: § 63-9-310; 63-9-810; 63-9-820

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:
-Necessary and actual medical costs
-Reasonable living expenses for birth mother and child for a reasonable time

Banned Expenses:
Any expense that the court deems unreasonable. All expenses must be accounted for in court through receipts of purchase.

SOURCE: § 63-9-310(F); 63-9-740

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 South Carolina an agreement may be made between biological parents and adoptive parents before finalization. These agreements are not enforceable in court.

SOURCE: § 63-9-760(D)

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

In South Carolina, children must live with adoptive parents for at least 3 months before the adoption becomes final. Courts must issue a final adoption decree no later than 6 months after placement.

The 3 month period can be waived for good cause but many adoption attorneys will urge parents to wait at least 3 months to ensure the child id a good fit for the family.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption in South Carolina from Out-of-State
16. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption in South Carolina 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: Sean Pavone

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

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

Places to Visit in South Carolina
-Fort Sumter
-Myrtle Beach
-Huntington Beach State Park
-South Carolina Plantations
-Hilton Head Island

IMAGE: Sean Pavone

Foster Adoption in South Carolina
18. Foster Adoption in South Carolina

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 South Carolina.

Foster Adoption: Children Available for Adoption in South Carolina
19. Foster Adoption: Children Available for Adoption in South Carolina

There are currently 1,226 children waiting to be adopted in the state of South Carolina.

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

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

In the state of South Carolina, 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 Social Services.

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

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

In South Carolina, a child can be placed with you for adoption 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 South Carolina.

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 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 South Carolina an agreement may be made between biological parents and adoptive parents before finalization. These agreements are not enforceable in court.

SOURCE: § 63-9-760(D)

Foster Adoption: Finalization
23. Foster Adoption: Finalization

In South Carolina, children must live with adoptive parents for at least 3 months before the adoption becomes final. Courts must issue a final adoption decree no later than 6 months after placement.

The 3 month period can be waived for good cause but many adoption attorneys will urge parents to wait at least 3 months to ensure the child id a good fit for the family.

Adoption Assistance
24. 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:

-African American or blended racial heritage and 6 years of age or older
-Caucasian and 10 years of age or older
-African American or blended racial heritage and member of sibling group of 2 or more children, one of whom is 6 or older
-African American or blended racial heritage and member of sibling group of 3 or more children of any age
-Has physical, mental, and/or emotional disability
-Is at risk to developing physical, emotional, and/or mental disability due to past experiences

For a list of maximum monthly rates and specialized rates visit NACAC.org.

SOURCE: NACAC.org

Foster Adoption: Adopting in South Carolina from Out-of-State
25. Foster Adoption: Adopting in South Carolina 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: Dave Allen Photography

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

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

Places to Visit in South Carolina
-Fort Sumter
-Myrtle Beach
-Huntington Beach State Park
-South Carolina Plantations
-Hilton Head Island

IMAGE: Sean Pavone

International Adoption in South Carolina
27. International Adoption in South Carolina

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 South Carolina.

IMAGE: SasinTipchai

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.

IMAGE: SasinTipchai

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 South Carolina.

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 for your child.

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

Read more about South Carolina’s post-adoption requirements specific to international adoption here.

Stepparent Adoption in South Carolina
31. Stepparent Adoption in South Carolina

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 South Carolina.

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.

Sean Pavone

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Kenneth Knudson


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