Adoption is a choice that has the potential to permanently change lives. Whether the adoptees are foster children, relatives, stepchildren, the orphaned kids of friends or babies from overseas, the legal process of making them official family members has a major impact.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2019 there were 423,997 youths in foster care in the nation. In spite of the need for homes for these vulnerable individuals, many Tennesseans are wary to approach adoption due to misconceptions surrounding it.
1. Only married couples may adopt
Single people are also eligible to become adoptive parents in Tennessee, regardless of sex, religion or race. There are only two legal prerequisites they must meet: They must be at least 18 years old and live in the state for a minimum of six straight months. However, their chosen professional/agency may have further requirements. Those seeking to adopt from foster care have slightly different standards they must meet; they must be at least 21, complete Parents as Tender Healers training and be residents of the state.
2. The law bars convicted felons from adopting
A criminal record may certainly count against prospective adoptive parents. However, it does not eliminate them from the running completely. Prior convictions are only one factor evaluated in the application process.
3. Agencies refuse to allow older individuals to adopt
There does exist a preference for those under 50, and some agencies refuse to take on those above a certain age. However, the law imposes no upper limit.
Many people mistakenly believe they are not eligible to adopt a child when they are. Those who wish to do so must still pass a home study and undergo scrutiny of other personal aspects like health, history and economic situation.