For most people, a family is built around married spouses and biological children. Many, however, do choose to adopt rather than have children of their own. There are many different reasons for this, ranging from health-related issues to altruistic motives. However, adoption is not always well understood and, often, prospective parents are required to meet several stringent criteria. Most crucially, adoptive parents need to prove to the adoption agency that they can take care of and provide for the child using existing means.
Most people who apply to adopt a child are interviewed thoroughly by an adoption specialist, usually at their homes. This helps establish significant background information, including the ability of the family to raise the child. The specialist seeks to verify that there is no danger to the child once the child has been adopted, either directly or indirectly. This may also require examining whether the applicants have a criminal record and whether they or anyone else in their household has a history of mistreating children.
If there are already other children in the household, the specialist is likely to check if there have been any instances of neglect. Additionally, according to Arkansas law, if the elders in the house are known to smoke while children are present, they may not be allowed to adopt. The ultimate objective is to ensure that the child be brought into a healthy environment where that child may be provided reasonably sufficient care without any risk whatsoever.
Being cleared to adopt, which may take up to six months, is only part of the struggle, however. There is also the question of determining if the family is indeed particularly suitable for the child they plan to adopt. Sometimes, prospective parents may have their own preferences, which can lengthen the process of matching them to a suitable child. The process may be cumbersome and time-consuming; however, it aims at ensuring that all of the members of the newly created family are reasonably well matched.
Source: Arkansas Heart Gallery, “How to Adopt,” accessed Oct. 16, 2014