In the so-called real world, each agency, facilitator, or other adoption professional can set its own requirements for PAPs. Some have age restrictions or rules about marriage (you must be married, marriage length, no more than one divorce, etc.). I’ve already talked about the fact that some agencies and adoption professionals discriminate on the basis of religion, marital status, and/or sexual orientation.
In Robyn’s Adoption Land, all agencies and attorneys would have the same requirements for PAPs:
- PAPs must be at least 21 years older than the child they hope to adopt.
- The oldest PAP must be no more than 55 years older than the child he or she hopes to adopt.
- PAPs may be single or married.
- If single, PAPs may be male or female. (In real life, many agencies will work with single women, but not many will work with single men.)
- If married, PAPs must have been in a relationship for at least two years, and married for one.
- If not married, but living together, PAPs must have been in a relationship for at least three years.
- If married or part of a couple, PAPs may be of the opposite sex or the same sex. (That is, gay people can adopt.)
- PAPs may be of any religion, or no religion. That is, there are no religious requirements, nor is there a requirement for PAPs to believe in God or a higher power.
- A PAP’s previous divorces are irrelevant.
- PAPs can be of any race, and can adopt a child of any race, even if it is not their own. (Adoption education requirements will be discussed in a future post.)
- At least one PAP must be a US citizen, and the other must be in the US legally.
- PAPs must be financially stable, and able to provide food, clothing, and shelter without government assistance.
- PAPs must be able to provide health care for their children. That health care may be in the form of Medicaid, Medi-Cal, etc. (Although, in my ideal Robyn’s Adoption Land, everyone has health insurance, thanks to the government, like they do in France.)
- PAPs can have any number of children living in their residence, as long as that residence can comfortably hold that many children. (In other words, you can have 0 kids or 10 kids, as long as the house is big enough.)
- PAPs may be fertile or infertile. There need not be a documented reason for infertility. Adoption may be a first choice.
- PAPs cannot adopt at the same time that they are pregnant. If PAPs become pregnant during the adoption process, they must put their file on hold until that pregnancy is resolved (preferably through birth, but sometimes, we know that pregnancies don’t work out).
- PAPs can be homeowners or renters. PAPs can live in an apartment or condo. There will be specific square foot requirements per child, as well as home safety requirements.
- PAPs can have any type of pet, as long as the residence remains comfortably habitable by humans. Certain breeds of dogs and other large pets must have a veterinarian’s note stating that they behave appropriately with children.
- PAPs must have a complete physical, including a doctor’s or other medical professional’s note that states the PAP can handle the day-to-day duties of raising children. There will be no discrimination on the basis of disabilities.
- PAPs who are on medication for psychological disorders must also have a mental health professional’s note that states the PAP can handle the day-to-day duties of raising children.
- If a PAP has had cancer, he or she must furnish a doctor’s note discussing his or her chances of survival for the duration of the child’s life. (Currently, there are some agencies that will not work with any PAPs who have had cancer, even if they have been deemed “cured” by their doctors.)
- PAPs do not have to vaccinate themselves, their children, or their indoor pets. (They can if they want to, but it’s not a requirement.)
- PAPs who have criminal records must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. A criminal record is not necessarily a “death sentence” when it comes to adoption. However, if a PAP has been convicted of a crime against a child, he or she will not be able to adopt.
- If a PAP has a history of drug or alcohol abuse within the five years previous to starting the adoption process, he or she must furnish doctor’s notes, treatment notes, etc. regarding his or her sobriety. He or she may be subject to random drug testing. If the drug or alcohol abuse occurred more than five years previous to starting the adoption process, and there is no criminal record associated with it, then the PAP does not have to disclose it.
What did I miss?