Lis and the Single Girl: A Crash Course In Adoption

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Single and fabulous? Well then this is the column for you!

Ever wish you had your own personal Carrie Bradshaw to answer your questions — not just about what to do if your boyfriend dumps you via text message — but serious issues that confront us? This special daily edition of “Lis on Law” will address topics that single women are faced and that everybody wonders about — but no one has time to figure out.

Between work, working out, dating and maintaining a social life, it’s tough to find time to do much else. So, read up and prepare to be fully armed for brunch this weekend with your friends with some super conversation topics! Your pals will be amazed!

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With all the news of celebrities like Angelina adopting babies — What does a single girl need to do to adopt?

First, just to explain legally what adoption means — it’s the process by which a birth parents' rights and obligations toward their child are terminated and the adopting parent or parents assume all those rights and responsibilities. Once a child has been adopted, the birth parents are no longer responsible for their child. Adoption procedures are defined by statutes, which vary from state to state.

Most adoption statutes require that an adopting parent be an adult, but she doesn’t have to be married. A few states have recognized the right of persons in same-sex relationships to adopt.

Sound too easy? Here’s the catch for the single girl — a court can consider whether you are married when deciding if adoption would be in the best interest of the child. Before approving an adoption, a judge has to determine that the adoption will promote the best interest of the child. To determine the best interest of the child, courts generally inquire into matters such as health, age, motive and capacity of the potential parent to actually parent. Such factors determine “fitness” of the potential parents. Often an agent from an adoption agency comes to the potential parent’s residence and after observing them for a while assesses if the best interest of the child could be fulfilled in this environment. How’s that for a stressful situation?

Potential adopting parents may be single, childless or already parenting other children. Agencies just want to ensure that you can care for a child and meet his or her needs. Divorce or a history of marital or personal counseling does not automatically eliminate you as a candidate. In fact you’re not even required to have a certain income. What agencies are really looking for is permanence, stability and commitment.

Recently, in fact, some agencies have even found single parents to be the placement of choice in situations with children who have trouble dealing with two parents due to past abuse or neglect. Recent studies have found single-parent adoptions to be highly successful for adopted children. However, just so you know, infant adoptions are often more restrictive, sometimes requiring two parent homes. But singles out there don’t hesitate to at least apply if you feel like you’re ready!

Just some final thoughts — remember that once you adopt a child you assume all the legal obligations of parenthood. So make sure you’re ready to be a parent — from diapers to college tuition — before you start the process.

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• 10 Steps to Adoption

• The Law and Adoption

• The many faces of adoption

• What happens in the case of a missing parent or an abandonment?

Family Law, 2nd edition; Harris, & Teitelbaum (Aspen)

• What is ‘adoption’ in a legal sense?

• Who Can Adopt?

* Disclaimer

The information contained in this Web site feature entitled “LIS ON LAW,” is provided as a service to visitors of, and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney client relationship. FOX NEWS NETWORK, LLC makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site feature and its associated sites. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of your own counsel.

• E-mail Lis With Your Legal Questions!

Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. She is currently a professor of law at the New York Law School. Wiehl received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1983 and received her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland in 1985. In addition, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987. Lis is also the author of The 51% Minority — How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It. (Watch the Video) To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.