Adoption

Adopting a foster child comes with a unique set of challenges that are not seen with foreign, infant, and domestic adoptions. However, fostering a child can be a way to “test the waters” before making the permanent and irrevocable decision to adopt. There are currently hundreds of children in South Carolina’s foster care system hoping to be adopted into a loving home. This post covers some of the issues and topics pertinent to adopting a foster child in South Carolina.

Nicole Belkin, a 29-year-old living in Las Vegas, NV, never gave up on finding her biological sibling. She and her brother, Jason Burnette, were both born in Lexington, South Carolina and put up for adoption as infants. After tracking down and meeting her biological parents, Belkin set out to find her brother. She spent years exploring every avenue available to her but had no luck. Because Burnette was born two years before Belkin, he had no siblings listed on his original birth and adoption documents. In late June, Belkin wrote about the search for her brother on Facebook. The post quickly went viral, with nearly 30,000 shares. Soon after, Burnette’s friend saw the post and tagged 31-year-old Jason, who reached out to Belkin through his adoptive sister. Belkin learned that Jason Burnette was, in fact, her brother—and he lived in Charleston, South Carolina. Through a GoFundMe campaign, Belkin raised enough funds to travel to Charleston for some much-needed family time with her long-lost brother. She is currently raising money for travel expenses for Burnette and his wife to meet other members of their biological family.

A key component of the adoption process in South Carolina is the home study. When adoptive parents want to adopt a child they must allow for a representative from the South Carolina Department of Social Services, known as an adoption investigator, to come to their home and conduct an adoption home study evaluation. This is a very important part of the process that is meant to ensure that a child’s new home is a safe environment. It is important for adopted children to enter into a warm and loving home situation where they will be safe. A home study is the main mechanism by which the state verifies that the child will not be endangered upon adoption. The home must be clean, safe, in good repair, and offer a loving environment.

It is not uncommon for an unwed mother or an ill-prepared couple to unexpectedly get pregnant and not want to or be unable to take care of the baby. Knowing that a child is on the way and not knowing what to do about it can be stressful. In situations like this, a South Carolina adoption can be a good choice for both the birth parents and the child. In order to help ease the emotional and psychological stress of placing a child up for adoption, the birth parents can take an active role in the adoption process. Birth parents who know that they are going to give their child up for adoption can create an adoption plan for their child, which enables them to have at least some control over the process for their child.

When a family decides to adopt someone new into their family, it is a beautiful and wondrous occasion for all involved. Unfortunately, however, the process is not always straightforward. There are many confusing and potential pitfalls that families looking to adopt would do best to avoid in order to make the process faster and easier. Luckily, there are many ways that a South Carolina adoption attorney can help.

In the United States, when a parent has been found unfit to care for his/her child, the court will terminate his or her parental rights to the child. Each state has its own procedures and threshold by which the court may find the parent unfit or even terminate his or her rights. The one thing that all the states have in common is that there is a high threshold to determine that a parent should no longer have rights to his/her child(ren) because parental rights are fundamental. The termination of these rights must go through strict scrutiny and the decision ultimately lies with the court after significant evidence has been presented showing that the parent is unfit to care for his/her child and that the child remaining with the parent would lead to harm or the possibility of harm, among other grounds that may support termination of parental rights.

When a child is taken out of the home, there can be many consequences as a result of the removal. Removal of a child is serious as it confronts a parent’s fundamental rights to raise his or her children in the manner that he or she sees fit. Taking a child out of the home is never done lightly and usually is the consequence of significant harm or the threat of harm to the child as a result of being within the family home.

Many laws that have been put in place protect the rights of parents with regards to their children. The rights, however, are based on the concept that children are better off with their biological parents than without. At the heart of the issue is the vulnerability that comes from being a child; children are less able to adequately voice their concerns regarding their family lifestyles, and thus, certain laws have been put into place to ensure their protection, even in the face of parental rights. Though parental rights are fundamental, government officials do have a right to intervene on these rights if there is harm or a threat of harm to a child while within the family home.