By Cathy Warmbrod, Attorney
McDonald, Levy and Taylor, PLLC
Qualifications for Adoption
A person must be over the age of 18 to file a petition to adopt in the State of Tennessee, but single, divorced, or married persons can adopt. You are not required to own a home or be employed full-time to adopt, but in most circumstances, you must be a Tennessee resident to file a petition for adoption of a child residing in Tennessee.
Department of Children’s Services
Although it is possible to adopt a child that is in the Department of Children’s Services system without becoming that child’s foster parent first, the majority of children adopted from the foster care system are adopted by their foster parents. In fact, foster parents are given preference in the adoption process.
A foster parent is a person with whom a child in the custody or guardianship of the Department of Children’s Services is placed for either temporary or long-term care. You can learn more about adopting from the foster care system in Tennessee here: https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/dcs/program-areas/foster-care-and-adoption/adoption/faqs.html. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent yourself, more information can be found here: https://www.tn.gov/dcs/program-areas/foster-care-and-adoption.html.
There are also several adoption or “child-placing” agencies in the State of Tennessee, but a little research is needed before contacting an agency offering such services. Child-placing agencies should be licensed to do business in Tennessee. You should also research costs and fees when considering these agencies. The Department of Children’s Services maintains a list of adoption agencies and related costs and fees that can be found here: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/dcs/documents/licensing/TN_Adoption_Fee_Schedule.pdf.
Over 40 Years Experience in Family Law
McDonald, Levy and Taylor have served clients in a wide range of domestic matters including adoptions for more than 40 years and understand the emotional and financial challenges. We bring an extraordinary depth of knowledge and experience to help you navigate the adoption process.