How to Adopt in Rhode Island

Rhode Island isn't just home to the beautiful scenic drives and beaches; it's also home to many 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 Rhode Island.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Rhode Island

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

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

In Rhode Island, you must be a permanent resident of the State to petition to adopt, and the child you’re adopting must be younger than you and under 18 years old. A Prospective Adoptive Parent may be single, married, or divorced and may rent or own a home.

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Rhode Island??

Expenses related to adoption in Rhode Island 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 a variety of different expenses.

How do you become a Foster Parent in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, you must be at least 21 years old to become a Foster Parent While there is no minimum income requirement, you must be able to care for the child physically and live in a rented or owned home that passes health, safety and fire inspections. Eligibility will also require a clear criminal background check and completion of Foster Parent training.

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

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 Rhode Island.

Who must consent to an adoption in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, consent to adoption must be given by:

  • The child’s parents or surviving parent
  • The guardian of the child
  • The next of kin if there is no guardian
  • A court appointed person if there is no next of kin
  • The parent, guardian, or guardian ad litem of a minor Birth Parent
  • The adoptee if they are at least 14 years old

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Rhode Island?

Consent to adoption in Rhode Island is not required from a parent for the following reasons:

  • The parent has abandoned the child
  • The parent neglected to care for the child for at least 1 year even though they were financially able to do so
  • The child was placed with the department for a year while the parents were offered services to correct the behavior that lead to the placement, but it is still unsafe for the child to return to the home
  • The parent is found unfit to care for the child for the following reasons:
    • They are institutionalized or imprisoned for an extended period of time that leaves them unable to parent the child
    • They have committed acts of child neglect or abuse
    • They have a chronic substance abuse problem
    • They are unable to correct the behavior that initially lead to the termination of their rights
    • They subjected the child to abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, or sexual abuse
    • They are charged of murder, voluntary manslaughter, or felony assault resulting in serious bodily injury on that child or another of his or her children

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Rhode Island?

Consent to adoption from a Birth Parent may not be given until 15 days after the child is born.

The parents, with the help of a licensed child-placing agency, may petition the court for termination of their parental rights before the hearing for an adoption petition. If the court finds that the parents are freely giving up the right to consent and it is in the best interest of the child, the court will decree that the parents consent is unnecessary and only the agency will be required to consent.

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, the consent to adoption or final adoption decree may not be petitioned to reverse until 180 days after the decree is ordered. If the consenting parent does challenge to revoke his or her rights within this time, the court will only approve it if it is found to be in the best interest of the child or there is clear evidence that the consent was obtained under fraud or duress.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Rhode Island?

A ‘Presumed Father’ is a man who:

  • Is or was married to the Birth Mom, and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated
  • Before the child’s birth, he and the Birth Mom have attempted to marry each other, but the attempted marriage could be declared invalid
  • After the child’s birth, he and the Birth Mom have married or attempted to marry, although the attempted marriage could be declared invalid, and:
    • He has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the clerk of the family court
    • With his consent, he is named as the Birth Father on the child’s birth certificate
    • He is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order
  • Acknowledges his paternity of the child in a writing filed with the clerk of the family court
  • Has submitted to blood testing, and the results establish a conclusive presumption
  • A sworn acknowledgment of paternity of a child born out of wedlock is signed by both parents

In Rhode Island, a Birth Father of a child born within wedlock is assumed to be the child’s Birth Father and therefore has parental rights to the child. For a man who has a child out of wedlock, he must prove his paternity with a written acknowledgement of paternity, signed by both him and the Birth Mom.

For more information about Birth Father rights, click here.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Rhode Island

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Rhode Island 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 ask 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 Rhode Island, a home study requires at least 2 in-home visits and interviews with everyone living in the home. The assessment will include the following information:

  • Child care experience and parenting styles
  • Motivation and reason for choosing adoption
  • Criminal background checks
  • Information about the Prospective Parents income and employment
  • Marriage and divorce history
  • Information identifying the members of the household
  • A written self-assessment from the Prospective Parents
  • Medical and psychological conditions that may affect the health and welfare of the child
  • Any conditions of alcohol or drug abuse
  • A description of the health and safety of the home environment
  • References from at least 2 people, 2 of whom must be nonrelatives

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

All members living in the household, related or non-related, will be included in the home study assessment that will be conducted by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families.

Why would my home study not be approved in Missouri?

The Department or agency conducting a home study in Rhode Island will not grant its approval if a Prospective Adoptive Parent:

  • Has a documented history of child abuse or neglect
  • Has a documented history of drug or alcohol-related problems
  • Falsifies or omits facts from the home study application
  • Has been convicted of a disqualifying crime
  • Would not provide suitable care for the child
  • Impedes on the home study investigation

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

Stepparent and relative adoptions may be exempt from the home study requirement at the discretion of the court in Rhode Island.

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?

A post placement study happens after a child has been placed in the adoptive home 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 Rhode Island, at least 2 home visits by a social worker must take place in order to make recommendations as to the finalization of the adoption.

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

A Foster Parent may petition he court to adopt a child if that child has been in their care for at least 2 consecutive years. The Birth Parents will be notified and a hearing will take place. The court will grant the adoption if it finds that:

  • The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families has made every effort to involve the child’s Birth Parents
  • The Birth Parents did not exercise their visitation rights to the child
  • Termination of the Birth Parents rights and adoption by the Foster Parents is in the child best interest

Rhode Island Adoption Agencies and Professionals

Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island

401-865-6000

Adoptions with Love

1-800-722-7731

Adoption Options

401-331-5437

Things to do in Rhode Island

If your adoption journey brings you to the east coast, visit some of Rhode Island’s most historic sites and scenic views:

Marble House in Newport

The Breakers in Newport

Ocean Drive in Newport

The Cliff Walk in Newport

The International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport

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 Rhode Island. 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.