People consider adoption for a lot of reasons. Perhaps they are married but unable to conceive or carry to term healthy children due to a medical or genetic condition. Perhaps a loved one is no longer able to provide for one's children, due to illness or incarceration. Perhaps they are in a committed relationship and would like to adopt the child of their partner. Whatever the reason for considering adoption, whether your family is only interested in adopting certain children or is hoping to add a child or two to the family, working with an experienced family law attorney can expedite the process and help minimize the stress adoption can cause your family.
Tennessee adoption laws and your growing family
Tennessee has unique state laws that govern how adoptions are handled within the state. These laws place limits on who can adopt and how the process should be handled by the state to protect the children being placed in an adoptive home. Potential adoptive parents may be married or single, may or may not have other children, and may own their home or rent, provided that they are able to provide for the financial and emotional needs of their family and are over the age of 21. The state of Tennessee requires a formal home study, where professionals from a state-licensed child placement agency evaluate the living conditions and family dynamic of the potential adoptive family.
The state of Tennessee attempts to place children with families whom are best able to meet their needs, including financial, medical, emotional and educational needs. Many children in foster care or group homes may require additional support systems, such as therapy, to help them grieve and process the changes in their life and familial situation.
Family adoptions in Tennessee
Unless there is a power of attorney or similar document granting a specific family member legal custody of a child whose parents cannot care for the child, any family members who wish to adopt the child into their own home will be required to follow many of the same steps. The state of Tennessee will want the home situation evaluated to ensure that the adults are able to adequately provide for the child. Thankfully, in many cases, the courts and the state of Tennessee will work with a family to preserve the original family as much as possible by prioritizing placement with family members, if it is possible.
Thankfully for grandparents who wish to adopt their grandchildren, Tennessee has greater protections for visitation and other forms of grandparent rights than many other states. These laws can be helpful in making a case for grandparent adoptions based on the state's existing acknowledgment of grandparents' rights and their importance to the healthy development of children. If you are hoping to adopt in the near future, the best way to make a strong case for your family and the child you are hoping to add to it is to work with an experienced family law attorney who will do everything in her or his power to assist your family.