Vermont Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adoption in Vermont

Kenneth Knudson August 20, 2016

Welcome, Vermonters! 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 Vermont.

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in Vermont, then sections dedicated to Vermont 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 Vermont 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 Credit: Romiana Lee

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

-Montpelier, Vermont is the only U.S. state capital without a McDonalds

-Until 1996 Vermont was the only U.S. state without a Walmart

-Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company actually gives their ice cream to farmers in Vermont, who use the dessert to feed their hogs. The hogs apparently like all flavors but Mint Oreo

-Vermont’s state capitol building is one of the few to have a gold dome

SOURCE: 50states.com

Image Credit: Felix Lipov

Can I Adopt in Vermont?
3. Can I Adopt in Vermont?

Age: 21 or older for foster care adoptions, no age requirement for other types

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

SOURCE: § 1-102
vermont.gov

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 Vermont
5. Domestic Infant Adoption in Vermont

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 Vermont.

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

In Vermont 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 Vermont.

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 Vermont. Vermont statutes state that only licensed agency workers or attorneys can accept payments to help place a child.

Dometic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study
7. Dometic 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
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 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 Vermont is final. Consent for a direct placement adoption in Vermont may be required by the following parties:

-Birth Mother
-Biological father identified by mother or the courts
-A man married to the woman or divorced less than 300 days prior to adoption notice
-An unmarried man who...
-Acknowledges paternity
-Has demonstrated commitment to the child by fulfilling fatherly roles such as providing financial aid, or never had the chance to do so
-A guardian
-Current adoptive father/mother
-The child if older than 14 and the court has not dispensed his/her consent

Consent/relinquishment can be executed no sooner than 36 hours after the birth of the child. A guardian can give consent any time after court approval. An adoption agency may consent at or before the initial hearing for an adoption petition. A minor whose consent is required may execute consent anytime at or before hearing.

In Vermont parents have 21 days after executing consent to revoke their consent. After that time period consent is irrevocable unless proven in court that it came under fraud or duress.

SOURCE: adoption.com

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

Vermont does not currently have a putative father registry. Instead, unmarried fathers who wish to claim parental rights for their child have 20 days after the initial adoption hearing to do so. Courts must issue a notice regarding the adoption process to an alleged father. If an alleged father chooses not to appear before the 20 days notice expires, the father will have no say on adoption proceedings in the future.

SOURCE: adoption.com/wiki/Vermont

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:
-Medical, hospital, nursing, or pharmaceutical costs due to parental care or birth or illness of the child
-Counseling services for the mother for a reasonable time before and after placement
-Living expenses for a reasonable time before and after the birth of the child
-Expenses due to gathering the child’s social and medical history
-Legal expenses for parents consenting to adoption
-Transportation
-Any other service the court finds reasonable and necessary

Banned Expenses:
Payments for living expenses may continue for no more than 6 weeks after pregnancy

SOURCE: 15A, §7-103(a)
adoption.com

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 Vermont, the child’s parents, relatives, or biological parents may file for a post-adoption contact agreement in the case of a stepparent adoption. Post-adoption contact agreements in Vermont are not legally enforceable. In the case of a stepparent adoption civil action can be taken if a contact agreement is broken only if the court finds that the civil action is in the best interest of the child.

A broken contract agreement shall not revoke relinquishment or terminate consent to the adoption. A post-adoption contact agreement can be modified in the case of stepparent adoption if the court finds that the modification is in the child’s best interest.

SOURCE: adoption.com

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

In Vermont after hopeful adoptive parents file a petition for adoption and the child had been placed with the parents, the child must live in the home for 6 months before an adoption becomes final.

SOURCE: vermontjudiciary.org

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting from Out-of-State
15. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting 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 Vermont.

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

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

Places to visit in Vermont:
-Lake Champlain
-Shelburne Museum
-The Lincoln Family Home
-Waterfront Park
-Mt. Mansfield
-Ben & Jerry’s
-Hildene
-Bennington Battle Monument & Museum
-Quechee Gorge
-Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium

Image Credit: jgorzynik

Foster Adoption in Vermont
17. Foster Adoption in Vermont

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 Vermont.

Foster Adoption: Children Available for Foster Adoption in Vermont
18. Foster Adoption: Children Available for Foster Adoption in Vermont

There are currently 1,436 children in the Vermont foster care system waiting to be adopted.

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

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

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

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

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

In Vermont, 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 Vermont.

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.

Post Adoption Contact Agreements
21. 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 Vermont, the child’s parents, relatives, or biological parents may file for a post-adoption contact agreement in the case of a stepparent adoption. Post-adoption contact agreements in Vermont are not legally enforceable. In the case of a stepparent adoption civil action can be taken if a contact agreement is broken only if the court finds that the civil action is in the best interest of the child.

A broken contract agreement shall not revoke relinquishment or terminate consent to the adoption. A post-adoption contact agreement can be modified in the case of stepparent adoption if the court finds that the modification is in the child’s best interest.

SOURCE: adoption.com

Finalization
22. Finalization

In Vermont after hopeful adoptive parents file a petition for adoption and the child had been placed with the parents, the child must live in the home for 6 months before an adoption becomes final.

SOURCE: vermontjudiciary.org

Adoption Assitance
23. Adoption Assitance

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. Your child must meet one of the following criteria to be eligible for financial aid:

-At least 4 years of age or older
-Is part of a racial minority and at least 3 or older
-Has a medical condition/disability
-Has a physical, mental, emotional, or psychological disability

The maximum monthly amount available depends upon your child’s age and the severity of their disability. Monthly payments vary from $520 to $826. For more information visit NACAC.org.

SOURCE:
nacac.org

Foster Adoption: Adopting in Vermont from Out-of-State
24. Foster Adoption: Adopting in Vermont 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 Credit: Don Land

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

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

Places to visit in Vermont:
-Lake Champlain
-Shelburne Museum
-The Lincoln Family Home
-Waterfront Park
-Mt. Mansfield
-Ben & Jerry’s
-Hildene
-Bennington Battle Monument & Museum
-Quechee Gorge
-Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium

Image Credit: Sara

International Adoption in Vermont
26. International Adoption in Vermont

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 Vermont.

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 Vermont.

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

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. Any order of adoption entered in compliance with the laws of another jurisdiction or nation shall have the same effect as an order for adoption entered in this State.

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

Stepparent Adoption in Vermont
30. Stepparent Adoption in Vermont

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 Vermont.

Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights
31. 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: Pettioning to Adopt
32. Stepparent Adoption: Pettioning 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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Kenneth Knudson


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