If you have ever known someone who has acted as a foster parent for a child in Tennessee, you know the truly special gift that they give to the child. At the same time, foster parents often indicate that they receive much from their foster children as well. Many people actually end up adopting from within the foster care system. In some cases, adoptive families may have actually fostered the child before legally adopting the child.
If you live in Tennessee and are considering adopting a child currently under the guardianship of the state, you may understandably have questions about the process involved in doing so. At the Law Office of Meghan A. Bodie, we have a comprehensive understanding of how adoption works in the state, and we have helped many prospective parents navigate the sometimes-complicated process of adopting a child.
If you are a Tennessee resident thinking about adopting a child, you will be glad to know that the criteria are fairly simple. For instance, you can be single, married or divorced and you do not need to own your own home. You can be working full time and you may or may not already have children. The only real criteria are that you be at least 21 years of age, a resident of the State of Tennessee and able to meet the financial and emotional needs of your existing and potential family.
Knoxville parents who want to expand their family through adoption will have two options available. The first is private adoption, and the second is public adoption. Both have their own potential benefits, and both can be suited for different families and lifestyles.
Knoxville parents like you who are looking into adopting a child will need to know the difference between public and private adoptions. Depending on your specific needs or beliefs, one may suit you and your family better than the other.
Foster child adoption and private or agency adoption are similar under Tennessee law, but the circumstances and events surrounding the adoption of children in foster care often present unique challenges. According to a recent Huffington Post article, many states, including Tennessee, show an increase in the number of children who need foster care. The rise in need may correlate with the opioid epidemic. The report showed that nationally a large number of foster parents often decide they no longer want to participate in foster programs. Some complain of inadequate training and instruction in connection with foster care. Others simply describe circumstances that are too difficult for them to manage.
Those in Knoxville that are familiar with Kenutcky's foster care system and the adoption process as a whole likely know that it is anything but simple. Ultimately, however, those participating in it hold out the hope that the circumstances will align to allow kids that need homes to be adopted by loving families looking to take them in. Yet even in some rare cases, an adoption may not signal the end of this process. A number of different issues may arise that can cause family courts to reopen cases and potentially remove children from the homes they have come to accept as their own.
While the Tennessee court processes can be long and the qualifications particular, adding another child to your family can bring an immense amount of joy that makes the effort worth the reward. Some situations are typical, with parents seeking to adopt or foster a child, while others may be more complex. One less common way of becoming a parent is through a subsidized permanent guardianship.
When Knoxville parents like you decide that adopting a child is right for your family, there are many other steps and processes that follow after the initial decision. Even after you've finished with planning out the big important things like finances, it still leaves equally important matters like preparing your home to be as welcoming as possible to the new addition.
A new controversial bill was passed by the Tennessee Senate recently. U.S. News reports that the bill, which would require state law to be interpreted in the “natural and ordinary meaning,” was passed with a 23 to 6 vote in the state senate on April 27, 2017. A different bill asking for similar interpretation of the law, where words are not interpreted in a more inclusive manner than was written, explicitly stated familial terms such as “mother,” “father,” “husband” and ‘wife” needed to use their ordinary definition. The bill came in response to a child custody case concerning a same-sex couple, which raised similar interpretation issues.