5 key points about adoption eligibility

Thinking about adoption and wondering if you'd be eligible under Tennessee law? Below are five things you should know:

1. You don't have to be married. There is a stereotype of married couples adopting children, and, while this happens often, it's absolutely possible to adopt if you're divorced or single.

2. You don't need to own a home, and you can have other kids. Maybe you're a long-time renter. Maybe you already have two kids and you're just looking to grow your family, not adopt a first child. That's all fine. You could still be eligible as long as you show you can care for the child.

3. You may be a full-time or a part-time worker. It is important that you earn enough to support the child. However, you're not obligated to show that you work full time, to earn more money, or that you work part time, to spend more time with the child. You also don't have to drop out of the workforce entirely. Parents balance work and family life all of the time.

4. You do need to be a 21-year-old resident of Tennessee; that's the minimum age to be considered. If you're a resident in another state, you may be able to adopt there.

5. You have to meet the family's needs. This is considered on a emotional basis and a financial basis.

While these are the guidelines for all adoptions in the state, they are also key points that will be considered if you're thinking about adopting a partner's child after getting married. Be sure you know what legal steps to take to create your blended family.

Source: Tennessee Department of Children's Services, "How to Adopt," accessed Dec. 30, 2016

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