If you are thinking about adopting a child in Nebraska, you will be glad to know that adoption is a fairly simple and straightforward process in our state. You must be an adult to adopt, but you can be single, married, divorced or widowed. If married, both you and your spouse must adopt the child together unless one of you is already the child’s birth or adoptive parent.
Unfortunately, if you and your spouse are a same-sex couple, you face some legal restrictions with regard to a second-parent adoption.
Private versus state adoptions
You can choose whether to adopt a child through the Nebraska Department of Social Services or through a private agency, including those that handle international adoptions. If you adopt a child from another country, Nebraska will issue his or her U.S. birth certificate once the adoption becomes finalized.
If you wish to adopt privately, you may advertise for birth parents. You may also engage the services of an adoption facilitator as long as (s)he holds a license issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. Nebraska law allows you to pay the birth mother’s medical expenses not covered by insurance or a public assistance program, as well as her legal expenses, living expenses related to her pregnancy, and any lost wages that a doctor verifies were due to her pregnancy.
Special needs children
Should you wish to adopt a special needs child through the Department of Social Services, be aware that you may become eligible to receive a subsidy if your child meets one of the following requirements:
- (S)he is between the ages of 7 and 18
- (S)he is in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services
- (S)he is one of three or more siblings placed together
- (S)he has a physical, mental, emotional or behavioral condition
Whatever type of adoption you choose, keep in mind that you will need to undergo a comprehensive home study that includes a criminal background check. Also be aware that any adoptive child aged 14 or older must give his or her consent to the adoption. Finally, understand that your adoptive child must live in your home for at least six months before the adoption can be finalized.