Can a Felon Adopt a Child?

Children bring joy into many people’s lives and being a parent can be one of the most rewarding experiences of someone’s lives. Are convicted felons allowed to adopt children? Are there any restrictions for felons when it comes to the adoption process? This blog post will answer these two questions and many more surrounding the rules a felon must follow if they wish to adopt a child.

How The Adoption Process Works.

Before we can examine the rules, felons must abide by when it comes to adoption children, it is important to be aware of the many rules that prospective parents are required to follow. For starters, it is good to know the minimum age someone can adopt a child at, which is 18. Any person who wishes to adopt a child in the United States must be at least 18 years of age. This is standard since if the person was any younger, they would not be considered an adult.

After the age requirement is met, it is time to fill out the preliminary paperwork. Those looking to adopt will have to provide details on their medical records, bank statements, criminal record (we will get to this later) and employment history at the very least. Many adoption agencies require much more information, so keep that in mind.

Meeting with an adoption advisor is highly recommended, if not required by the adoption agency. Your personal advisor will help guide you through the entire process once you are put into the system after submitting your paperwork. Your advisor will answer any questions you may have. Your advisor is typically assigned to you by the adoption agency, but in most cases, you are able to request a new advisor for any reason.

After all of the basic requirements are met, it is time to start looking for children to adopt. By far one of the most rewarding parts of the adoption process, you will have the chance to meet and play with children. Many adoption agencies put on “matching parties” to encourage adoption. A matching party is where adults and children are able to meet and mingle. Common places for matching parties to take place are parks, gyms, arcades, and banquet halls. The children play with toys or participate in activities with the adults and if the adult feels that the child is a good fit, then they meet with that child more.

Once a prospective parent has the child they want to adopt in mind, then it comes time to apply for the right to adopt the child. There is a legal process that takes place during this stage where the adult must be cleared and certified by the state as able to adopt, and the adoption agency will send an individual out to your home to ensure that it is a suitable environment for the child. Once the green light is given by both the state and the adoption agency, it is time to hire an adoption attorney to help you through the final processes. If the courts declare that the child is legally able to be adopted, as well as deem the adult as a good fit for the child, then both parties will move on to the finalization process. This hearing is where the adult is legally declared a legal guardian and/or parent over the child, a call for celebration!

That is, in a nutshell, how the adoption process in the United States works. There is room for complications in this process, for example, if the birth Mother or Father does not want to lose custody over their child. Any complications are handled through the courts and/or the adoption agency.

Is a Felon allowed to adopt?

Now the adoption process is known, it is important to know if convicted felons are able to adopt. Having a felony does not automatically make someone ineligible from adopting a child. The nature of the felony has a large weight on if a felon is able to adopt. If the felony committed, regardless of how much time has elapsed is of violent, abusive, or sexual nature, then that felon is unable to continue the process of adoption.

Murder, rape, child pornography, and abuse are just some specific felonies that disqualify someone. If the felony committed was a white-collar crime, then in most cases the felon can move through the adoption process without a problem. Any felony that lies somewhere in the middle of white-collar crime and a violent offense (robbery, possession etc.) will be looked at very carefully and the outcome will vary from person to person.

So yes, technically felons are able to adopt children.

Restrictions on Felons for Adopting.

Just because a felon is able to adopt, does not mean that there are not any restrictions for them to have to follow. If a convicted felon wishes to adopt a child from another country, they may face a number of legal battles during the process. Some countries prohibit felons from adopting children within their borders. If a felon is looking to adopt a child within the United States, then there are typically no added restrictions; there may be an increased frequency in visits from your adoption advisor or from the Child Protective Services, but nothing else.

Felon or not, the state and/or the adoption agency will want to check up with new parents. To do this, representatives from either Child Protective Services or from the adoption agency will periodically drop by your home to make sure it is still a safe environment for the child to live in, and to make sure that they are adjusting nicely. If you are a felon, the frequency of these visits may increase just because of your prior problems with the law. Once it is determined by both parties that your prior criminal record has no effect on the wellbeing of the child, then the visits will resume to normal levels, but it is something to prepare for if you are a felon and you are preparing to adopt.

One important factor to take note of is the other problems felons face due to their criminal record. Finding a job as a felon is considerably harder than it is to find one without having a felony on your record. If a felon is unable to find work, then it is safe to say that their application to adopt a child will be revoked. It takes money to take care of a child, and if there is no source of income, felon or not, then the state and the adoption agency deems you ineligible until you are able to prove a steady, reliable, legal source of taxable income. This is not necessarily a restriction for felons, but it is a roadblock for adults looking to adopt.

Tips for Felons; How to Get Approved.

These tips can be used by anyone, not just felons. These tips are especially helpful for felons however as they help mask their criminal record.

  • Receive a formal education.
  • Hold down a steady job.
  • Be involved in the community.
  • Have a decent amount of money in the bank.
  • Own the home you and the child will live in.

These tips once put into action show the adoption agency that you are well prepared to take care of a child. Having a formal education means that someone is more likely to get a job- a job that can turn into a reliable source of income. If you are involved in the community it shows that you are comfortable with the area you live in. Having an emergency fund or a decent amount of money in your bank account displays that you are able to pay for bills and cover any unexpected expenses. Lastly, owning the home you live in shows the adoption agency that you have a reliable place to sleep every night.

The process of adopting a child is very long, but so worth it in the end. Countless lives have been changed by adopting a child.


How long does it take to adopt a child?

The average time to adopt a child in the United States ranges from 6-18 months. If you are looking to adopt a newborn the wait could be as long as seven years. International adoption can range from 2-6 years depending on the country and immigration requirements.

Can felons foster children?

Felons across the country are not allowed to foster children if their felony was of a violent or sexual nature. The rules for fostering and adopting are quite similar, therefore, if the felon has a history of abuse, neglect, or sexual misconduct, then they are unable to foster children. If the felon has committed murder, rape, or any other violent crime, that will also make them unable to foster children.

If my spouse has a felony, can I still adopt a child?

If anyone in the household has committed violent, sexual, or abusive crimes, then the state views that household as a threat to the child and will not allow them to adopt. It all depends on the felony committed and the nature of the felony.

Thank You for reading! Are you looking to adopt a child? Let us know in the comments below!


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