Guide to Adoption in Nevada - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who can apply to adopt?

  • People of any race
  • People of any religion or no religious preference
  • People who work outside the home
  • People who rent or people who own their own homes
  • People with high or low incomes
  • People with or without other children
  • People over age 21; however, all applicants must be at least ten years older than the person being adopted
  • Married or single people; however, if married, the spouse must also be a party to the adoption.

Is there a need for adoptive families in Nevada?

There is always a need for families to adopt children from the foster care system. If you are interested in adopting a special needs child, there is a tremendous need for adoptive home placement for these children.

    What are the basic steps in an agency special needs adoption?

    • Attendance at an orientation and completion of foster/adoptive parent preparation classes;
    • Completion of the home study;
    • Referral and selection of an adoptive family for a particular child through a matching process;
    • Visitation and placement of the child with the adoptive family;
    • A minimum of six months of post-placement supervision and support services; and
    • Court finalization of the adoption.

    Will I have choices regarding the child I adopt?

    Yes. The preferred age, ethnic background, sex of child and number of children is specified by you in your application to an agency and is discussed during the course of the home study process. Your preference is respected by the agency. Similar interests, racial background and intellect may be considered by your agency worker when placing a child with you. However, remember the more limiting you are in your choices, the longer it may take to identify a child for placement with your family.

      Will I receive information about the child’s background?

      In an agency adoption, adopting parents are provided with all known information about the child and his/her background. In cases of abandonment, little is known; otherwise the child’s history has been recorded and is shared with the adopting parents. Identifying information provided will depend on the type of adoption chosen by the birth and adoptive parents. Families adopting privately/independently may have direct contact with the birth parent(s), and may have obtained this information on their own. Adoption staff collects and records the information as a part of the adoption service; this information is provided to the adopting parents.

        Do special rules apply when adopting Native American children?

        Adoption planning for Native American children requires that special regulations be followed, as outlined in the Indian Child Welfare Act. The purpose of the act is to preserve Indian families and culture, primarily by allowing Indian Tribes the option of involvement if an Indian child is to be adopted. Your social worker or local tribal authority can provide more information.

          Are the adoption requirements difficult to meet?

          State law requires a thorough investigation, or home study, of unrelated prospective adoptive parents. This home study process is not intended to be unnecessarily difficult, or create anxiety for families interested in adoption. Rather, the process assists the agency to determine the best family for a child or sibling group, and helps a prospective adoptive family determine whether adoption is an appropriate option for them.

            Will the birth parents know who I am?

            Birth and adoptive parents may decide how much identifying information they wish to share with each other. If you choose to participate in an open, semi-open, or private/independent adoption, they will know more about you.

              What types of adoptive placement arrangements are available through the public and private adoption agencies?

              • Traditional adoption: The adoption agency selects the adoptive family for the child. Birth parents do not read home studies and there is no contact between the birth parents and the adoptive family. Only non-identifying information is shared with the birth parents and the adoptive family. 
              • Semi-traditional adoption: Birth parents have an active role in choosing the adoptive family by reading home studies, with identifying information removed. There is no face-to-face contact. Adoptive parents receive only non-identifying information about the birth parents.
              • Semi-open adoption: Birth parents have an active role in choosing the adoptive family by reading home studies, with identifying information removed. In addition, there is a face-to-face meeting between birth parents and the adoptive family. 
              • Open adoption: Adoptive arrangement whereby the birth parent(s) and the prospective adoptive parent(s) determine by mutual consent the amount of identifying information that will be shared or communicated about the other.

                What is involved in a home study, and what are the requirements?

                The home study is used as a screening tool as well as an educational process, where you are encouraged to have your questions and concerns about adoption answered. This process must be completed on all applicants wishing to adopt a non-related child and is required prior to placement of the child. The home study may be completed by a county or state agency which provides child welfare services, or by a private, licensed child-placing agency. The purpose of the home study is to help the agency social work staff become better acquainted with you and your family; to help you decide whether adoption is right for you; and to assist you in preparing for the life-long commitment of adoption. Home Study requirements are as follows:

                • Completed application; a description of your family, home and family activities;
                • References from people who know you well;
                • Criminal history and Child Abuse/Neglect (CANS) screenings and fingerprint clearances for all adult members of the household;
                • Interviews and home visits with a social worker;
                • Physical examination for applicant(s) and household members;
                • Review and discussion of various types of adoption;
                • Discussion on types of children available for adoption, applicant’s preferences; and
                • Review of community and individual resources for type of child you plan to adopt

                Adoptive applicants may read their home study, except for confidential references. Copies of the home study, however, can only be released to another licensed child placing agency. The study is generally completed within 90 days after the application has been submitted, unless there are unusual circumstances.

                  If I leave the State of jurisdiction before the adoption is finalized, do I have to give the child up, or can another agency take over the proceedings?

                  The agency will usually ask for courtesy supervision by a licensed adoption agency in your new location. In the case of an adoption in which the child remains in agency custody pending finalization, a request will be made to the appropriate public agency in your new location to provide supervision and services pending finalization.

                    What legal rights do we have with the child once the adoption is final?

                    After finalization, the same rights as any parent.

                      Can birth parents regain custody of a child placed for adoption prior to finalization?

                      Relinquishments and consents to adopt that are signed and executed according to Nevada Revised Statutes are irrevocable.

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