What Is the Difference Between Open and Closed Adoptions in New York?
There are many children who need loving homes and many people who are unable to have biological children of their own. Approximately 140,000 children are adopted by American families each year, and this allows parents to provide a home to children who need one. However, adoption can be a complicated and delicate process. If you are considering expanding your family through adoption, it is important to seek legal assistance to ensure that you do not make any mistakes along the way that could jeopardize your dream of becoming a parent.
New York Adoption Laws
According to New York laws, any adult may adopt a child. However, the law requires the consent of children who are 14 and older. If the prospective parent is married, both spouses must adopt the child, unless the couple is legally separated. The state of New York does not consider the gender of the parents who are adopting, and adoption is an option for same-sex couples, heterosexual couples, or single parents.
New York has a residency requirement of three months for adoptions. This means that a couple or a single person who wishes to become a parent must live in the state for a period of three months before the adoption can be finalized. However, the adoption process can be started before the three-month mark.
Within four months of a family’s application to adopt, New York State regulations require agencies to complete a home study of the family. Some people may find the home study process tedious, but it is an essential part of adoption to make sure adoptive parents are ready to take on this responsibility. A home study also allows agencies to find out more about the prospective family so they can place the child in the best home for him or her.
In an “open” adoption, the birth parents typically have a say in selecting their child’s adoptive parents. It is common for the agency to give the birth parents biographical information on the prospective parents. This helps the birth parents make an appropriate decision in which they will be comfortable with the outcome of the adoption.
An open adoption usually means the adoptive parents meet and keep in touch with the birth parents throughout the pregnancy and even after the birth of the child. In some cases, the adoptive parents are even present in the delivery room for the child’s birth.
Every adoption is unique, and the interaction between adoptive parents and birth parents can vary greatly depending on the circumstances and wishes of all parties. Many adoption agencies encourage a certain amount of communication with birth parents, since this can be healthy for the child. With the help of the adoption agency, some families stay in touch for special occasions such as birthdays or on holidays. Others might even become lifelong friends.
A “closed” adoption occurs when the adoptive parents of a child do not know the identity of the child’s birth parents. The adopted child might not even know that he or she was adopted if the adoptive parents choose not to share that information. Some people worry that knowing who the birth parents are may cause confusion for the child.
These days, closed adoptions are rare in the United States. However, they were the norm years ago and are still common in international adoptions. In cases where the adoptive parents and birth parents know about each other at the time of a closed adoption, they often do not stay in contact after the adoption takes place.
In New York, adoption records are sealed. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services does not maintain adoption records. The New York State Health Department maintains a Free Adoption Registry that can help someone who is searching for his or her birth parents. This is a mutual consent registry, so both parties must be signed up in order for a match to be made.
Contact a New York City Family Law Attorney
Adding to your family unit by adopting a child can be wonderful for everyone involved. In New York, there are different types of adoptions, and the state’s laws specify the procedures that must be followed to make sure a child is placed into the most appropriate home. If you are hoping to adopt a child, a compassionate Brooklyn adoption lawyer can assist you throughout the legal process. To schedule a consultation, call 718-514-9516 today.