How to Adopt in South Carolina

South Carolina isn't just home to the famous Myrtle Beach; 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 South Carolina.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in South Carolina

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 South Carolina.

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

Any South Carolina resident may petition the court to adopt a child.

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in South Carolina?

Expenses related to adoption in Oklahoma 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:

  • Department or agency fees
  • Medical costs for the Birth Mom and child
  • Reasonable living expenses for the Birth Mom and child for a time deemed reasonable by court

How do you become a Foster Parent in South Carolina?

To become a Foster Parent in South Dakota, you must meet the following licensing requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Complete and initial interest form
  • Complete fingerprint criminal background checks and child abuse central registry releases for you and anyone over 18 living in the household
  • Complete 14 hours of pre-service training
  • Complete and pass home inspections by the Fire Marshal
  • Complete home visits from an adoption specialist
  • Provide 3 to 4 references
  • Provide copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses, and divorce petitions and decrees if applicable

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

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

In South Carolina, a person or entity that offers services for compensation where the intent of those services is to arrange or secure adoptions must be considered “facilitating the placement of children for adoption.”

The use of a facilitator is permitted in this State, but under no circumstances may they receive any compensation for giving consent or relinquishment of a child for the purpose of adoption, or receive a child for payment of any such compensation. However, reasonable and necessary costs may be assessed and payments made, subject to the court’s approval.

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 South Carolina

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 South Carolina.

Who must consent to an adoption in South Dakota?

Consent to adoption in South Carolina must be given by the following:

  • The parent or surviving parent
  • The Birth Mother of a child born out of wedlock
  • The legal guardian of the child if both parents are deceased or have had their parental rights terminated
  • The child-placing agency having custody of the child
  • The Father of a child born out of wedlock if the child was placed with the Prospective Adoptive Parents more than 6 months after the child's birth, but only if the Father has maintained substantial and continuous contact with the child
  • The Father of a child born out of wedlock if the child was placed with the Prospective Adoptive Parents less than 6 months after the child's birth, but only if the Father openly lived with the child or the child's Birth Mother for a continuous period of 6 months and openly held himself out to be the Father or paid a reasonable sum for the support of the child
  • The adoptee if they are at least 14 years old

When is consent not necessary for adoption in South Carolina?

Consent to adoption in South Carolina is not necessary from:

  • A parent whose parental rights shave been terminated
  • The Biological Father of a child conceived as a result of his criminal sexual conduct or incest
  • A parent who is found by the court to be mentally incapable of giving consent

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in South Carolina?

Consent to adoption may be given any time after the child’s birth. It must be given in the form of a sworn document, signed by the consenting person, and completed before 2 witnesses. The witnesses must then sign a form stating that the provisions of the document have been explained and the consenting parent is doing so voluntarily, not through coercion.

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in South Carolina?

A Birth Parent may petition to revoke his or her consent to adoption in South Carolina before entry of a final adoption decree. After this time, consent is irrevocable. The court may grant revocation if it is found to be in the best interest of the child or it is found that the consent was obtained under fraud or duress.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in South Carolina?

South Carolina has established a Responsible Father Registry to provide notice of adoption proceedings to unmarried Biological Fathers who want to establish paternity of a child they may have fathered.

The Father of a child born out of wedlock may establish the right to receive notice of an adoption proceeding as follows:

  • If the child was placed with the Prospective Adoptive Parents more than 6 months after the child’s birth, and the Father has maintained substantial and continuous contact with the child as demonstrated by:
    • Payment toward the support of the child of a fair and reasonable sum, based on the Father’s financial ability
    • Visits by the Father to the child at least monthly
    • Regular communication by the Father with the child
  • A Father of a child born out of wedlock, who openly lived with the child for at least 6 months within the 1-year period immediately prior to placing the child for adoption, and who during the 6-month period openly held himself out to be the Father of the child is considered to have maintained substantial and continuous contact with the child
  • If the child was placed with the Prospective Adoptive Parents 6 months or less after the child’s birth:
    • The Father openly lived with the child or the Birth Mom for a continuous period of 6 months immediately prior to placing the child for adoption, and the Father openly held himself out to be the Father of the child during that time
    • The Father paid for the support of the child or for expenses incurred in connection with the Birth Mother’s pregnancy or with the birth of the child

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in South Carolina

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Mississippi 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 South Carolina, an adoption home study will include:

  • At least 2 face-to-face interviews with the applicants
  • Separate face-to-face interviews with each member of the household
  • A study of the following areas:
    • The motivation for choosing adoption
    • The strengths and weaknesses of each member of the home
    • Attitudes and feelings of the family toward adoption
    • Religious orientation, if any
    • Location and physical environment of the home
    • Plan for child care, if the applicants work
    • Ability to provide for the child financially, without assistance
    • The plan for discussing the adoption with the child
    • A physical exam for each of the members living in the home within 6 months of the home study application that shows no one has a communicable disease, specific illness, or disability that would interfere with the family’s ability to parent a child
  • A criminal background check
  • A check with the child abuse central registry

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

A licensed child-placing agency will conduct the home study assessment which will include the Prospective Adoptive Parents and anyone else living in the home.

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

Any stepparent or relative may adopt a child if needed. In the case of a stepparent or relative adoption, no home study investigation will be required, unless otherwise stated by court.

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 South Carolina, a social worker or agency will make monthly contact with the Adoptive Parents until the adoption is finalized. During this time, a post placement investigation will include:

  • Answers to all of the following:
    • The race, sex, and age of the adoptee and whether the child is a suitable child for adoption by the Prospective Adoptive Parent
    • The reason for the adoptee’s placement away from the Biological Parents
    • Whether the adoptee, if of appropriate age and mental capacity, desires to be adoptee
  • Evaluate the progress of the placement of the adoptee
  • Determine whether adoption by the petitioner is in the best interests of the adoptee

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

Foster Parents may apply to adopt a child currently in their care, and if given approval, they will be given first consideration for adopting the child if the child:

  • Is legally free for adoption
  • The placement with the family is in the child’s best interest
  • The child has been in the Foster Parents care for at least 6 consecutive months

South Carolina Adoption Professionals

South Carolina 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:

South Carolina Heart Gallery

803-734-2595

Nightlight Christian Adoption

502-432-5780

Quiver Full Adoption

864-334-8593

Hope Embraced Adoption Agency

864-641-8142

Things to do in South Carolina

If your adoption journey brings you to South Carolina, visit some of the States most popular sites as you wait to meet your new child or finalize the process:

Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant

Riley Waterfront Park in Charleston

The Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw

The Peace Center in Greenville

Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach

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 South Carolina. 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.