There is a lot of preparation involved when you are welcoming a new member into your family. If you live in New Mexico and are considering adoption, an attorney experienced in family law in Albuquerque and elsewhere in the state can help you during this process. In the meantime, learn more about what to expect when you decide to adopt in New Mexico.
Your Home Study
New Mexico, a Social Worker licensed by the Children, Youth and Families Department (CFYD), will do a home study to evaluate whether your family or home can accommodate a new member. Overall, they will look at your strengths as a potential adoptive family. They will also consider your willingness and ability to create a conducive and safe environment for a child.
Keep in mind that it is not just your home that is reviewed in a home study. Your family is also evaluated during this time as they will be a crucial part of the child’s new family and home. Each family member will likely have an interview with a department worker, and you will also have home visits.
Your Marital Status
You need the approval of family court to adopt a child. If you are married, you and your spouse both have to agree to the adoption process. However, the court can exclude one spouse during the adoption. For example, the court may find that one spouse is not a fit parent.
You do not have to be married to adopt in New Mexico. Any person who is at least 18 years old and a resident of New Mexico may be eligible to adopt in the state.
Your Criminal Record
If you have a past criminal record, you may be worried that your previous acts will prevent you from adopting a child. However, there are no clear answers as to whether your criminal record will prevent an adoption because it depends on the severity of the charges.
Generally speaking, CFYD will reject the application of anyone who was found guilty of crimes such as sexual or child abuse. You may have a chance if you were charged with a lesser offense, such as DUI. However, you will need to show that you have reformed.
Speak to your attorney right away if you have any concerns about your past criminal record and the impact it may have on the adoption process. They will review your history and advise you on the next steps that you need to take.
Your Psychological and Financial Readiness
To take custody of a child, you must commit financially, physically and psychologically. As a potential adoptive parent, you have to attend an adoptive parent orientation. During this orientation, you will learn the skills you need to handle this new phase of your life.
In most instances you will be required to attend pre-adoption counseling. The purpose of the counseling is to make sure you understand what is involved in adoption and raising a child other than your own in your home. You may also connect with other families who have adopted. Speaking to families who have already been through the process can be very helpful during this time.
Your home also needs to have enough space for your new family member. You will also have regular tests done by the agency to ensure that the child will fit in your family, such as having the child visit with you for the weekend to see how it goes.
Get the Help You Need
During the adoption process, you will interact with many people, including adoption facilitators and social workers. Your attorney will provide the help and guidance you need from a legal standpoint.