How to Adopt in Arkansas

Arkansas is home to families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey. Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in Arkansas.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Arkansas

To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked question about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in Arkansas.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Arkansas?

Both single and married individuals may adopt in Arkansas. Couples trying to adopt must be married for at least 2 years before beginning the process.

All member of the household who are older than 12 must receive an Mantoux skin test for tuberculosis every 3 years, as long as the test remains negative.

Within 6 months prior to a home study approval by a social worker, all members of the household must get a physical exam to ensure no person has a condition that will interfere with the ability to care for the child. Each person must get a physical exam annually after the first exam until a child is placed in their home.

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Arkansas?

Expenses related to adoption in Arkansas range widely depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Prospective Parents may be asked to pay for Birth Mother expenses such as medical bills, rent, travel costs, and general living expenses. If you adopt through an agency, you may be required to pay extra fees.

It is illegal in Arkansas for a Birth Parent to receive any type of compensation, fee, or any thing else of value in exchange for the adoption.

How do you become a foster parent in Arkansas?

To become a foster parent in Arkansas, you will need meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • You may be single, married, divorced, or widowed
  • Be financially stable
  • Rent or own a home that adequately promotes health and safety.
  • Get fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check
  • Meet the foster care licensing standards

Can you finalize an international adoption in Arkansas?

International adoptions may be finalized and an Arkansas birth certificate can be issued to a foreign-born adopted child with proof of an adoption certificate and the child’s birth place and date.

What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in Arkansas

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in Arkansas.

Who must consent to an adoption in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, written consent to adoption must be given by the following:

  • The Birth Mother
  • The Birth Father if:
    • He was married to the mother at the time of conception
    • The child is his by adoption
    • He has custody of the minor
    • He proves he had a custodial, personal, and financial relationship before the petition for adoption is filed
  • Any person lawfully entitled to custody of the child
  • The court if the legal guardian is not empowered to give their consent
  • The child being adopted if they are 10 years or older

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Arkansas?

Consent to adoption in Arkansas is not required by the following:

  • A parent who has abandoned the child
  • The parent of the adoptee if the adoptee is an adult
  • A parent who has relinquished the right to consent or whose parental right have been terminated
  • A parent declared incompetent by the court
  • A parent of a child in the custody of another, if the parent has failed significantly without justifiable cause to communicate with the child or to provide for the care and support of the child for at least 1 year
  • A putative father of a minor who signed an acknowledgment of paternity or is listed on the Putative Father Registry but who failed to establish a significant custodial, personal, or financial relationship with the juvenile prior to the time the petition for adoption is filed
  • Any legal guardian or custodian of the adoptee, other than a parent, who has failed to respond in writing to a request for consent for a period of 60 days or who is found by the court to be withholding his or her consent unreasonably

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Arkansas?

Consent to adoption in Arkansas can be given at any time after the child is born and must be given in one of the following ways:

  • If by the adoptee, in the presence of the court
  • If by an agency, by a representative in the presence of someone authorized to take acknowledgements
  • If by the court, by appropriate order of certificate
  • If by any other person, in front of a court or any person authorized to take acknowledgements

If the parent is a minor, the writing must be signed by a court ordered guardian ad litem who has been appointed by a judge to appear on behalf of the minor parent for the purpose of executing consent.

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, the child’s Birth Parents cannot revoke their consent after the entry of decree of adoption.

Consent may be withdrawn within 10 days of signing or this child’s birth, whichever comes later, by filling an affidavit in court.

The court may waive the 10 day period for filing a withdrawal of consent for agencies, minors over age 10 who consented to the adoption, or biological parents if a stepparent is adopting.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, a Putative Father Registry is in place to entitle putative fathers to receive notice of legal proceedings pertaining to the child. A putative father must establish a significant custodial, personal, or financial relationship with the child before given his parental rights.

A man can also be named the father of a child if he and the mother, together, execute an acknowledgment of paternity of the child.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Arkansas

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Arkansas are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

Home studies are put in place to assess the readiness for a child to come into your home and the means you have to care for the child. This process will also enable you to ask questions about the process and give you time to determine if adoption is the right choice for you.

A home study in Arkansas will include the following information:

  • The physical health of the family
  • The mental health and emotional stability of the Prospective Parents
  • At least three personal references
  • The financial status of the family, including the verification of income and employment
  • The family’s ability to cope with stress and loss
  • Adjustment and well being of minors in the home
  • The family’s discipline and religious practices
  • The family’s child care skills
  • An assessment of the safety of the home itself
  • A criminal background check and child maltreatment registry check, to be checked within a year of placement
  • Interviews with the Prospective Parents

Home studies in Arkansas must be completed within 1 year prior to each adoption placement.

Who oversees a home study in Arkansas and who is included in it?

Each family member in the Prospective Adoptive household will be included in the home study conducted by a social worker or agency.

Why would my home study not be approved in Arkansas?

A minor may not be adopted if the individual seeking to adopt is cohabiting with a sexual partner outside of a marriage that is valid under the constitution and laws of this State. This prohibition applies equally to cohabiting opposite-sex and same-sex individuals.

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Arkansas?

Unlike most home studies, if the Adoptive Parent is a stepparent of relative of the child, they are not required to report adoption related expenses to the court in Arkansas.

What are the home study requirements for adopting a baby from another state?

Sending a child to another State for placement in an adoptive home or receiving a child from another State for placement in an adoptive home is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

After a child has been placed in a home, a post placement study will take place to ensure the child is adjusting well before the adoption is finalized.

In Arkansas, at least two in-person visits must be made before the final adoption decree is finalized. One visit must take place in the adoptive home that the child has been placed.

What are the requirements for a Foster to Adopt placement in Arkansas?

If a child is placed into a foster home by the department, the family may be eligible to become the child’s Adoptive Family. If the department does select the foster parents as the adoptive parents, a home study will need to occur within 45 business days and the family is not required to attend any preplacement training.

Arkansas Adoption Agencies and Professionals

Arkansas is home to some amazing adoption professionals who are ready to get your journey started. Whether you are interested in adopting a child or seeking resources to place your child for adoption, these professionals will guide you through the legal pathways and offer you support throughout your journey:

ABBA Adoption

(501) 776-2566

Bethany in Little Rock

(501) 664-5729

Things to do in Arkansas

If your adoption journey leads you to Arkansas, known for its natural scenic beauty, be sure to visit some of its most popular attractions and parks:

Museum of Native American History in Bentonville

Blanchard Springs Caverns in Mountain View

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs

Downtown Square and Gardens in Fayetteville

A note from Adoption Network Law Center

No matter your decision, we appreciate the time you have taken to read about how to adopt in Arkansas. Adoption Network Law Center wishes you the best of luck and is available to answer any further questions you may have about the adoption process. Call 1-866-602-9541 to speak with one of our amazing team members or visit https://adoptionnetwork.com/ to read more about our services. Whether you’re a soon-to-be Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent, ANLC wishes you the best on your adoption journey.