Wisconsin Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know for adopting in Wisconsin.

Kylee Hooper July 10, 2016

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

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in  Wisconsin, then sections dedicated to domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 6) foster adoption (Slide      ),  international adoption (Slide      ), and stepparent adoption (Slide      ). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful adoption resources (Slide      ).

Are you interested growing your family through domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with an adoption professional who can answer your questions.

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.

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

Wisconsin is the only place (outside of Europe) to offer a Master Cheese Maker Program.

For more fun facts about Wisconsin, click here.

Adoption in Wisconsin at a Glance 
3. Adoption in Wisconsin at a Glance 

Kids in foster care available for adoption in 2012: 1,862     
Foster adoptions completed in 2012: 733      
International adoptions completed in 2012: 231

Wisconsin Adoption Facts

International Statistics

Can I Adopt in Wisconsin?
4. Can I Adopt in Wisconsin?

Adoption requirements in the state of Wisconsin are as follows:

Age: 21 years or older
Marital Status: Can be single, married or divorced
Finances: Need to have sufficient income to cover needs      
Housing: Must have enough room for the child 
Personality: Need to have a good attitude and be an advocate for children    
Experience: Must complete the necessary training
Other Requirements in State: Must pass a criminal background check   
Source  
DISQUALIFYING CRIMES:  In this state, you may not adopt if you have been convicted of any of the following:  
• Homicide, reckless homicide, or felony murder
• Battery
• Sexual assault, sexual exploitation, or incest with a child
• Physical abuse or neglect
• Soliciting a child for prostitution
• Possession of child pornography
• Child abduction
Source

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 Wisconsin
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in Wisconsin

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 Wisconsin

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

You can adopt through a licensed private agency in Wisconsin.    

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. You cannot use adoption facilitators in Wisconsin.

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

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

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

Regardless of whether you complete your adoption, you will need to complete an adoption home study.

Your home study social worker will help educate you about adoption and ensure that you (and your 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  

You can advertise for birth parents if you have completed your home study.
Source.

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.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Parent Profiles
11. Domestic Infant Adoption: Parent Profiles

If advertising is allowed in your state, 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? Click here

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption Navigators
12. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption Navigators

Adoption Navigators provides you with quality expertise in sharing your dream of adopting. We provide unparalleled adoption marketing and one-on-one coaching to beautifully show expectant parents who you are and tell your story. With Adoption Navigators you receive premier advertising exposure on Adoption.com, assistance building your profile and creating a video, and expanded reach through social media and search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Adoption.com has more than 16 years of experience helping families connect with potential birth parents.

Let us help you increase your exposure to potential birth parents and decrease your adoption wait time.

Click here to get started.

Creating a listing on Adoption.com Parent Profiles is an excellent way to connect with potential birth parents across the country. If you want to maximize your exposure to potential birth parents and receive personalized coaching and support, consider using Adoption Navigators. Coordinate these services with your adoption professional.

 Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment
13. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

Parental rights can be relinquished after the child is born. If the court finds birth parents unfit, parental rights can be terminated involuntarily.

Once a biological parent files for relinquishment of their parental rights the courts have 30 days after the birth of the child to schedule a hearing. For an Indian child courts have 10 days after birth to schedule a hearing.

After a petition for relinquishment of parental rights has been signed, birth parents have 30 days to revoke consent or before the first court hearing, whichever comes first. For an Indian child biological parents have 2 years to revoke consent.

In order to revoke consent birth parents must prove before a court that the consent came under fraud or duress. For more information on revocation click here.

Source

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

Wisconsin keeps a putative father registry for all men who feel that they are the birth father of a child. Married fathers are required to give consent to an adoption, whereas unmarried fathers do not receive the same rights unless steps have been taken to establish paternity. By establishing paternity, the birth father must be contacted and give his consent before and adoption can take place. In almost all cases alleged fathers must also be contacted once the birth mother petitions the court to voluntarily relinquish her parental rights.

An unmarried father can revoke his claim to paternity at any time if he believes that he is not the father of the child. Such revocation must be signed and filed under oath with the proper department in Wisconsin.

Domestic Infant Adoption - Laws about Birth Parent Expenses
15. Domestic Infant Adoption - Laws about Birth Parent Expenses

Hopeful adoptive parents and/or an adoption agency may provide legal and living expenses for an expectant mother. There are, however, requirements governing such support.

There are some specific limitations with birth parent expenses. Some expenses include maternity clothes not to exceed $100, local transportation costs, medical care, living expenses not to exceed $5,000 a month up until the pregnancy, and a gift not to exceed $100 for the mother to give to the child.

For more information click here.

Domestic Infant Adoption - Post-Adoption Contact Agreements   
16. Domestic Infant Adoption - Post-Adoption Contact Agreements  

Post-adoption contact agreements determine how much contact the adopted child has with his/her birth parents. The best interest of the child will determine how much contact is appropriate, and these agreements are legally enforceable.

Domestic Infant Adoption - Finalization 	  
17. Domestic Infant Adoption - Finalization  

Six months of post-placement visits are required before you can finalize your adoption in Wisconsin.

If you are not a resident of Wisconsin, you cannot finalize your adoption in Wisconsin. You will need to work with the ICPC in order to finalize.

Source
  

Domestic Infant Adoption – Adopting in Wisconsin from Out-of-State
18. Domestic Infant Adoption – Adopting in Wisconsin from Out-of-State

With private (usually domestic infant) adoptions, it is always possible to adopt a child within Wisconsin, even if you live in a different state. (However, you cannot finalize and adoption within Wisconsin if you are not a resident.)

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 here.

Foster Adoption in Wisconsin     
19. Foster Adoption in Wisconsin     

Before you get started, click here to 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 Wisconsin.

 Foster Adoption - Children Available for Foster Adoption in Wisconsin
20. Foster Adoption - Children Available for Foster Adoption in Wisconsin

There are thousands of children living in foster care who are available for adoption.

Wisconsin does not currently feature children in our photolisting.

Foster Adoption - Get Professional Help   
21. Foster Adoption - Get Professional Help  

You can complete a foster adoption either through a private agency that is licensed to provide foster care services or directly through the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. The Wisconsin Heart Gallery is another great place to start.

To find adoption agencies in Wisconsin and to read reviews, check out Adoption.com’s Reviews page for Wisconsinhere.

You will still need to complete a home study as part of this process.

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

Becoming part of the foster care system is a life-changing experience. You should feel more prepared after training. While in foster care, you might receive "legal risk" placements in your home. These are children who are not yet considered legally free to adopt, but still need a stable place to live.  

Finalization 	  
23. Finalization  

If the child you are hoping to adopt is considered legally free (meaning his/her parents have already relinquished their parental rights), you can petition to finalize adoption 6 months after placement.  

Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
24. Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that can be entered into by adoptive and birth families. The agreement outlines details about how much contact the birth and adoptive families will have after the adoption is finalized.

In instances in which the child’s biological parents’ rights have been involuntarily terminated, the well-being of the child needs to be first and foremost in everyone’s minds if a post-adoption contact agreement is created. Caseworkers and therapists should be consulted in making decisions about contact after adoption.

Post-adoption contact agreements are legally enforceable.

Adoption Assistance   
25. Adoption Assistance  

Adoption assistance is available for those who adopt children considered to have special needs. These needs are based on age (child must be between ages of 10-18), sibling groups, qualifying mental/physical needs, and race. Adoption assistance is determined prior to finalization. However, after 12 months you can petition to change the amount if you feel the need to increase or decrease the amount you receive. The max monthly amount per special needs child is $2,000. If an adoptee develops a special need after adoption finalization adoptive parents may be eligible to receive financial aid for their child.

For more information on the adoption subsidy program in Wisconsin and to see if your child qualifies click here.

Source

International Adoption in Wisconsin
26. International Adoption in Wisconsin

Before you get started, click here to 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 Wisconsin

International Adoption - Photolisting
27. International Adoption - Photolisting

There are millions of beautiful children across the world who are hoping to find a forever family.

Click here to 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. Click here to browse through reviews of adoption agencies in Wisconsin.

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

Adoptions finalized abroad will be recognized in Wisconsin. However, you will need to request a U.S. birth certificate for your child.

Read more about post-adoption requirements here.

Stepparent Adoption in Wisconsin
30. Stepparent Adoption in Wisconsin

Before you get started, click here to 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 Wisconsin.

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 - 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.

author image

Kylee Hooper

Kylee Hooper is not quite a mother, but she adores babies, and hopes to be able to either foster or adopt someday. When she isn't writing, reading, or editing; she is normally playing her harp or creating an adventure.


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