You may wish to adopt a child, but you may not know whether you are eligible. We at the firm of Peterson White have found that a lot of people in Tennessee have mistaken or exaggerated ideas about what does and does not qualify you as an adoptive parent.

According to the Tennessee Department of Children and Families, the requirements for adoptive parents are much more achievable than many people believe. To begin with, you must be a legal resident of Tennessee who is at least 18 years old. If you adopt from foster care, you must be at least 21. You must be able to meet the needs of your own family, both emotionally and financially. However, that does not mean that you have to be wealthy, merely that your financial situation must be reasonably stable.

Before you can adopt a child, you must have a home study performed. If you are already a foster parent, however, you may be able to waive this step. The home study is an opportunity for you to provide more information about yourself and your domestic situation as well as to educate yourself further about the adoption process.

When you adopt through the DCS, you must also complete PATH training. This stands for “Parents As Tender Healers,” and it involves identifying family strengths and exploring different communication styles as part of a self-assessment. Though not strictly a state requirement, it is a good idea to have a support system of family and friends in place before adopting to ensure that you will have the help you need.

Contrary to popular belief, your marital status, i.e., single, married or divorced, does not affect your eligibility, nor does working full time nor renting your home rather than buying. More information about adoption is available on our website.