Posted by: Vernon Ready
Adoption is a rewarding and exciting process, but can also be very intimidating and confusing. If you want to adopt a child in the state of Colorado, you have some big decisions to make and a long way to go.
That’s why we decided to put together this list of frequently asked questions. If you are looking to learn more about the adoption process and the necessary qualifications, we hope this will serve as a great starting point.
If you are over the age of 21, you can legally adopt a child. If you are under the age of 21, you can adopt a child, but you will need court approval. If you are married or in a civil union and you want to adopt a child that is not your partner’s biological or previously adopted child, you will have to petition for adoption together. Grandparents and stepparents can receive full parental rights through a process similar to the conventional adoption process.
There are no restrictions based on a couple’s gender identity or sexual orientation. There are also no restrictions based on a couple’s living situation (renting vs. owning a home), although that may be taken into consideration. There are restrictions based on your criminal record. People convicted of domestic violence, child abuse, or other violent crimes cannot adopt.
Under Colorado law, any child under the age of 18 can be adopted. Court approval is required for anyone between the ages of 18-21 to be adopted as a child, but it is possible. Adult adoption, in certain circumstances, is also possible.
Consent of the child is required for any child over the age of 12 to be adopted.
The Department of Human Services oversees and assists the adoption process throughout the state of Colorado. If you want to learn more about starting the adoption process, it is recommended that you contact your county’s human services department and speak to the Adoption Coordinator.
Most adoptions go through an adoption agency. You will also have a social worker, or caseworker, to help you through the adoption process. Once you are ready to have the adoption finalized, you will meet with a judge in court. The caseworker or your family lawyer will most likely attend the court hearings with you.
When you decide it is time for you to adopt a child, you will first have to contact an adoption agency. The state of Colorado works directly with a nonprofit organization called , but there are many other agencies for different needs and for different types of adoption (international, private, waiting child, and so on).
When you decide it is time for you to adopt a child, you will first have to contact an adoption agency. The state of Colorado works directly with a nonprofit organization called The Adoption Exchange, but there are many other agencies for different needs and for different types of adoption (international, private, waiting child, and so on).
Once you have communicated with the agency, you will be assigned a social worker. The social worker will first conduct a home study. This is how the social worker and the adoption agency get a feel for your home, family dynamic, and needs. It will also determine if you are ready and able to adopt a child.
Your social worker will also be your direct connection to the adoption agencies and will guide you through the process of finding a child to adopt. After a home study is completed, your social worker will be the one to find the child that best fits your family.
Once you’ve found a child, you visit them, visit with the parents (in the case of infant adoption), or attend events that will allow you to get to know the child. In most cases, the child will also have opportunities to stay at your home for extended periods of time so you can each get a feel for what it will be like to live together. When both parties want to finalize the adoption, you will have to go to court to complete the process.
Throughout this process, you will be encouraged (sometimes required) to attend orientations, classes, or counseling sessions to help prepare you for your new role as the parent of an adopted child.
This depends on the type of adoption, and the child’s location and age. An infant adoption may take as little as six months. Other adoptions could take up to two years – or even longer. Setbacks, the limits of juvenile court, and even adoption fraud can affect the length of time it takes to adopt.
Keep in mind that the months it takes to adopt your child are worth the lifelong joy and commitment that you will experience as the parent of an adopted child.
It is a good idea to work with a lawyer throughout the adoption process, especially if you are considering adopting through a private or international agency. While complications with the agency and adoption fraud are rare, if they do occur they can affect the time it takes to adopt, and may even cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Keeping a family lawyer informed throughout the process will benefit you in the event that you are the victim of adoption-related crimes as well as simply streamlining the overall process in general.
About the Author:
Vernon Ready is an award-winning Colorado lawyer with an in-depth understanding of all areas of family law, estate planning, and personal injury. His energetic and aggressive advocacy approach allow him to successfully navigate complex cases, including high asset divorce and complicated custody issues. During his time at the University of Colorado Law School, Ready won numerous awards for his trial advocacy skills. Since being admitted to practice in 2009, Ready has become well-known throughout Denver and the state for the passionate defense of his clients and his unparalleled understanding of the law.\