Adopting a child is a life-changing decision for you, your loved ones, and the special person you bring into your family. Because adopted children are highly vulnerable and in need of stable and loving homes, the state of Tennessee requires that prospective adoptive parents meet a few requirements.
It’s important to note that around 80 percent of children adopted from foster care are adopted by their current foster parents. In fact, the Department of Children’s Services gives adoption preference to families who are already caring for a child who becomes eligible for adoption and can be released from DCS custody.
Foster-Adoptive Parent Requirements
Foster parents in Tennessee are automatically approved to adopt children, as the requirements for the two classifications are the same. This makes it easier for foster parents to adopt the children they are caring for in a seamless transition.
The requirements for foster-adoptive parents in Tennessee are:
- Can own or rent a home
- Can work full time
- At least 21 years old
- Valid Tennessee resident
- Capable of meeting family’s financial and emotional needs
In addition, foster-adoptive parents can also be married, single, or divorced, and there are no requirements or restrictions based on whether they already have children.
Home Studies and PATH Training
After verifying that you meet these requirements, you can move toward adopting a child who is in the custody or guardianship of DCS by:
- Completing a formal home study conducted by DCS
- Submitting the home study for a specific child that you may have identified via adoption databases
Home studies involve prospective foster-adoptive parents receiving education about the realities of adoption and a description of themselves, their medical and financial statements, and their personal references, as well as information about the type of child they feel they can successfully parent and raise.
After you’ve agreed to adopt a child, you’ll receive PATH (Parents as Tender Healers) training, which will help you learn effective ways to understand the unique rewards and challenges associated with raising an adopted child and how to best communicate with him or her.
Want More Information? Call Adoption Law Center of Middle Tennessee
Every adoption case is unique, and it’s important to have an experienced advocate helping you navigate the potential pitfalls during the adoption process. At Adoption Law Center of Middle Tennessee, we can help you work towards your goal of giving a child a forever home. Call us today for a free consultation at (615) 543-8640.