Adopting a child is very much a legal process, as much as perhaps a joyous one. It’s imperative that you follow the steps properly because when you adopt a child, you legally make this person a member of your family. Your adopted child will have the same legal rights as a birth child after approval by a court of law. To legitimize the adoption you will receive an adoption decree as well as a birth certificate with your name noted as the parent of your adopted child.
To make sure you are on top of all the legalities for a New Mexico adoption, here is some helpful information as you begin this exciting journey:
Who can adopt?
- Residents of New Mexico;
- Married couples, including same-sex couples;
- Married individuals may adopt without a spouse if the adopting parent is the adoptee’s stepparent, is legally separated, or if the adopting parent’s spouse is excused by the court;
- Nonresidents may adopt if the adopted child was born in New Mexico and is being placed by a licensed New Mexico agency.
To adopt you must complete a home study, or an eligibility evaluation.
- The petitioner(s), the petitioner’s children, and other permanent residents of the petitioner’s home will be evaluated;
- The home study shall be conducted by an agency or a person certified by the department to conduct the study;
- Applicants are evaluated to determine if they are suitable to care for children who might be placed in their home;
- Applicants must provide proof of the applicant’s U.S. citizenship such as a social security card, or proof of permanent residency; and
- The applicant’s criminal record and child abuse/child neglect background will be investigated.
What does the home study, or preplacement study, entail?
- Individual interviews with each petitioner;
- A joint interview with both petitioners;
- A home visit that includes interviews with the petitioner’s children and other permanent residents of the home;
- An interview with the adoptive child, depending on age;
- Individual interviews with the adoptive child’s parents, if possible;
- A discussion with petitioner on how adoption issues will be addressed with the adoptive child;
- Medical clearances for each petitioner;
- Three letters of reference from individuals named by the petitioner;
- A statement of the capacity and readiness for parenthood by each petitioner;
- Verification of the petitioner’s employment, financial resources, and marital status;
- Medical examination report of the adoptive child within 1 year prior to the proposed adoptive placement;
- Any prior preplacement study documentation;
- Criminal history records check of each petitioner.
There is a further requirement that a postplacement study be completed.
A postplacement report shall include the following:
- A description of the interaction between the adoptive child and each petitioner;
- How the child has adjusted since placement;
- The child’s acceptance into the petitioner’s family;
- How the petitioner has been able to meet the physical and emotional needs of the child;
- Whether the adoptive home is suitable for the child;
- Whether the adoption is in the best interests of the child;
- The type and frequency of postplacement services given to the petitioner.
Call Lightning Legal Group for your adoption, custody, support, divorce, or any other family law questions. Our supremely qualified attorneys will give you their best advice and guidance. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 505-247-2390.