Adoption By City

How to Adopt in Indiana

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 Indiana.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Indiana

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 Indiana.

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

In Indiana, any resident of the State may petition to adopt a child, but if married, the petitioner must file for adoption with their spouse.

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

Expenses related to adoption in Indiana range widely depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Are you looking to adopt internationally or domestically? Through a private agency or the foster care system? Depending on what you decide, Adoptive Parents may be asked to cover adoption-related expenses such as:

  • Hospital and medical costs related to the Birth Mother's pregnancy, labor, and delivery
  • Counseling for the Birth Mom
  • Agency and attorney fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Maternity clothes
  • Living expenses, including housing, utilities, and phone service, during the second and third trimester of pregnancy
  • Reimbursement of wages the Birth Mother lost due to inability to work from medical conditions related to the pregnancy
  • Any other reasonable living expenses approved in court

Limitations to the compensation allowed by Adoptive Parents include:

  • Compensation for lost wages shall be offset by the living expenses paid and any unemployment compensation to which the mother is entitled
  • Total expenses paid shall not exceed $3,000, unless approved by the court
  • Payment of living expenses shall not extend beyond 6 weeks after the child's birth and may not exceed $1,000

How do you become a Foster Parent in Indiana?

To become a Foster Parent in Indiana, you must obtain a license by meeting the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Prove financial stability
  • Complete First Aid, CPR, and Universal Precautions training
  • Complete the pre-service training requirements
  • Own or rent a home that meets physical safety standards, including having adequate bedroom size for the child
  • Provide medical statements from a physician for everyone living in the home
  • Provide positive references
  • Complete the home visit requirements from a Regional Licensing Specialist
  • Complete the required forms necessary to become a Foster Parent

What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in Indiana?

An adoption facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated.

In Indiana, it is a misdemeanor offense for anyone to knowingly or intentionally provide, engage in, or facilitate adoption services to a Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent who resides in Indiana, unless they are one of the following:

  • A licensed child-placing agency
  • The Department of Child Services
  • The Division of Family Recourses
  • A licensed attorney
  • A Birth Parent or Prospective Parent acting on their own behalf

Click here to read about the difference between adoption agencies, attorneys, and facilitators.

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

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 Indiana.

Click here so see some of the many families awaiting the opportunity to adopt a child.

Who must consent to an adoption in Indiana?

Consent to adoption is required by the following:

  • The adoptee if they are at least 14 years old
  • Each living parent of a child born in wedlock
  • The Birth Mother of a child born out of wedlock and the Father of a child who has established paternity
  • The legal guardian of the child
  • The court, if the legal guardian or parent is not empowered to give consent

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Indiana?

Consent to adoption in Indiana is not required from the following:

  • A parent who has abandoned the child for 6 months prior to filing the adoption petition
  • A Birth Father of a child born out of wedlock who has not established paternity
  • A parent whose rights have been terminated
  • A parent who has been found unfit
  • A Birth Father who denies paternity of the child
  • A parent who has failed to communicate or care for their child who is in the custody of another person
  • A Birth Father of a child who was conceived by rape, sexual misconduct or incest
  • A parent judicially declared incompetent or mentally defective
  • A legal guardian who has unreasonably failed to consent to the adoption
  • A putative father who established paternity after an adoption petition was filed or who failed to register with the putative father registry

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

Consent to adoption in Indiana may be given by the Birth Mother any time after the child is born. The consent must be given in the presence of one of the following:

  • The court
  • A notary public
  • An authorized agent of the department, a county office of family and children, or a licensed child-placing agency

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

Consent to adoption may be revoked up to 30 days after it has been given, if the court finds the revocation in the best interest of the child. After the final entry of the adoption decree, consent cannot be revoked. A Birth Father who consents to the adoption before the child is born cannot challenge or revoke his consent at any time.

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

An ‘Alleged Father’ is any man claiming to be or charged with being a child’s Biological Father.

A ‘Parent,’ for purposes of the juvenile law, is a Biological or an Adoptive Parent. Unless otherwise specified, the term includes both parents, regardless of their marital status.

A ‘Putative Father’ is a male of any age who is alleged to be or claims that he may be a child’s Birth Father but who:

  • Is not presumed to be the child’s father
  • Has not established paternity of the child before the filing of an adoption petition either in a court proceeding or by executing a paternity affidavit

For a Putative Father to be entitled to receive notice of adoption proceedings, he must register with the Putative Father Registry of Indiana before the Birth Mom consents to the child’s adoption.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Indiana

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Indiana 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?

The home study is a critical component to the adoption process. While it is to ensure your home will provide a child with stability, safety, and support, it is also a resource for Prospective Adoptive Parents to asks questions and prepare for the adoption. A home study is ultimately a recommendation as to the fitness of the applicants to become Adoptive Parents.

In Indiana, a home study should not make any assessment as to the financial condition of the Prospective Parents, but must include a criminal background check to include the following:

  • A State juvenile criminal history report for anyone at least 14 years old living in the home
  • A national and State fingerprint-based criminal background check for anyone at least 18 years old living in the home
  • A check for reports of child abuse or neglect in the previous 5 years for all members living in the home
  • A national sex offender registry check from the U.S. Department of Justice for anyone at least 14 years old living in the home
  • A check of local law enforcement agency records in every jurisdiction that a person living in the home, who is at least 18 years old, has resided within the previous 5 years, unless the Department of Child Services or a court grants an exception to conducting this check

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

A home study in Indiana will be conducted by either a licensed child-placing agency or the local Office of Family and Children. It will assess all adult members of the Prospective Adoptive Family.

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

A home study investigation requirement may not be required for a stepparent or relative adoption if the court waives the supervisory period.

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

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State 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?

Before the adoption has been finalized, a post placement assessment will take place to ensure the transition into adoption is going well and that the Adoptive Family's circumstances have not changed to no longer fit the child's best interest.

In Indiana, the court may grant the adoption finalization after a period of supervision by a licensed child-placing agency. The length of this postplacement supervision is a decision that will be made at the courts discretion.

Indiana Adoption Agencies and Professionals

Indiana 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:

Adoption Support Center, Inc.

317-255-5916

Adoptions of Indiana

317-574-8950

Childplace, Inc.

812-282-8248

Kirsh&Kirsh Adoptions

800-333-5736

MLJ Adoptions

317-875-0058

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 Indiana. 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.