Eight Kinds of Adoption
An Oklahoma family may adopt a child from Oklahoma, from another state, or from another country. An adoption agency and/or an attorney is usually involved both in the state of the adoptive parent's residence and where the child resides to provide the legal and social service components of the adoption. A prospective adoptive parent must have a home study report by a social service professional in the state of residence which verifies a loving, safe and stable home environment will be provided for a child.
- Domestic infant. The type of adoption most widely known is the adoption of an infant born in the US, usually by persons who are not biologically related to the child. Oklahoma law permits newborn children to be released from the hospital to the physical custody of the adoptive parents if the birth mother signs a release. The parental rights and responsibilities of both birth parents are terminated in a legal process in order to allow a child to become legally free for adoption. Prospective adoptive parents file a Petition to Adopt with the court as described in section V. "Simplified view of the legal domestic adoption process in Oklahoma."
- Children with "special needs". Most adoptions involving children with special needs are arranged by a state agency, an Indian Nation child welfare department, or a private agency licensed for special needs adoption. This type of adoption focuses on children whose birth parent's rights are terminated by the juvenile division of the probate court and who are placed under the care and supervision of the state of residence of the child. An adoption subsidy may be available to assist with the financial burden of care for a child with special needs. (An explanatory pamphlet is available from the Department of Human Services.) Agencies provide comprehensive training programs to help adoptive parents prepare for meeting the challenges of parenting these children.
- FostAdopt. A FostAdopt placement is a specific situation in which the child in foster care is expected to become legally free for adoption, and is placed with a specially-trained foster family who is interested in adopting the child if that becomes possible. However, the family cannot be guaranteed that adoption will occur. Some families interested in adopting children with "special needs" become foster parents first to gain experience in parenting these children. (see X. Foster care programs).
- International adoption. Adoption of a child from another country by an Oklahoma resident may occur with the assistance of a child-placing agency or an attorney. Oklahoma law recognizes a decree, judgment, or final order of adoption issued by a court or other governmental authority in a foreign country or a territory of the United States. Adoption or re-adoption of a foreign-born child may take place so that the child may receive an Oklahoma birth certificate (certificate of foreign birth).
- Step-parent adoption. A step-parent adoption occurs when the spouse of a parent desires to adopt. It usually requires the assistance of an attorney. Certain requirements, such as a pre-placement home study, may be waived. The non-custodial parent must consent to the adoption or the rights of the non-custodial parent must be terminated because the court has determined that the non-custodial parent has failed significantly in his or her parental responsibilities.
- Relative. The adoption of a grandchild or other family member may occur with the assistance of a state or private agency, an Indian Nation, or an attorney, as applicable.
- Interstate. The adoption of a child from another state by an Oklahoma family may take place with the assistance of an adoption agency or an attorney, depending on the laws of the other state. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is a law in all 50 states which requires certain procedures to be followed before a child can be moved between states for the purposes of adoption. In almost all circumstances, it is illegal for a child to be transported across state lines for adoption without complying with the Compact requirements.
- Adult adoption. An adult person may be adopted by another adult person with the consent of the person to be adopted or his guardian and the consent of the spouse of the prospective adoptive parent.