Within our nation, many children find themselves part of the foster care system, bouncing from home to home. Others are born to unwed mothers and are put up for adoption as infants. No matter what the reason, one thing is certain, there are many children in need of a forever family. While many people desire to adopt, the process can at times seem overwhelming. Colorado law dictates the legal process that must take place for the adoption to be binding. Here is what you need to know, if you or someone you know is considering adoption in Colorado.
Who Qualifies for Adoption?
A Child under age 18 is eligible for adoption. Furthermore, under the states Children’s Code certain circumstances approved by the court system may allow young adults 18-21 years of age to be eligible for adoption while still being considered a child. Other allowances in Colorado law permit adults to be adopted for the purpose of becoming an heir.
What About Consent?
Once a child eligible for adoption reaches age 12, consent must be given by the child for the legal process to continue. In cases of adult adoption, the person must give consent.
What Criteria Must I Meet in Order to Adopt?
Those who are over age 21 are permitted by the state of Colorado to adopt. In certain circumstances those under 21 may be eligible to adopt with court approval. Persons who are married or in civil unions are considered a joint entity in the process with their spouse. Thus, the coupleship must jointly petition for adoption. Exceptions to this rule include, if the spouse is the biological parent of the child, the spouse has already adopted the child, or if the marriage is in a state of legal separation. Colorado does not prohibit same-sex couples from adopting. In cases of civil unions, stepparent adoption is allowed.
What Legal Agencies Handle Adoptions?
The Colorado Department of Human Services is responsible for handling adoptions. This agency deals with the Colorado County Child Welfare and Family Services Departments. This is the same department responsible for areas dealing with foster care. Colorado is also involved with a non-profit agency called “The Adoption Exchange” which functions to find families and connect them will eligible children. The division of the court system handling adoptions is the juvenile court. This is not always the case as in some smaller areas of the state one court is responsible for all cases. In such areas, it is typical for a designated day of the week or the month to be in place specifically for handling juvenile cases.