Each state’s adoption laws can vary, so it is important that if you are considering adopting a child in Alaska that you become familiar with Alaska’s adoption laws.
Alaska adoption laws are in place to protect the birth parents, the prospective adoptive parents, and the child being adopted. You will want to find an adoption agency or an adoption lawyer who is very knowledgeable in the Alaska adoption laws.
We will cover some of the legal specifics for those adopting in Alaska involving newborn adoptions through the domestic adoption process, as well as adopting an infant or older child through the foster care system.
Click on the following to jump to an area of interest:
- Adoption Requirements in Alaska
- Adoption Consent in Alaska
- Alaska Subsidies for Foster Care Adoption
- Alaska Adoption Advertising Laws
- Birth Parent Expenses in Alaska
- Accessing Adoption Records in Alaska
- Post Adoption Contact Laws in Alaska
- When are Adoption Birth Certificates Issued in Alaska?
With so many aspects of Alaska’s adoption laws and their corresponding policies, it is impossible to cover them all in one article. We will, however, dive into many facets of the adoption laws in Alaska.
You are strongly encouraged to contact a licensed adoption agency or an adoption lawyer for specific adoption laws and policies in Alaska, as laws and policies do change.
Can you adopt without a lawyer? How much do adoption attorneys cost? Learn all that and more by visiting Adoption Lawyers in Alaska: Do You Need an Adoption Attorney? where we also give you step-by-step instructions on how to vet an adoption lawyer.
Adoption Requirements in Alaska
- Must be 18 years of age or older.
- No age, race, or lifestyle discrimination.
- LGBT, married couples may adopt.
- A large income is not required.
- One may rent or own.
- Physically and mentally capable to nurture a child.
It is common knowledge that adoption is costly, but that is not to be confused with a false expectation that a prospective parent should be well off financially. Financial security is important and expected when applying to adopt a child, yet being upper class is not one of those qualifications.
Financial security simply means that you are able to pay your bills, cover your rent or mortgage, and that you have a reliable means of income and transportation. What matters most is that a child is loved, cared for, and kept safe and comfortable.
Learn more about adoption attorneys in our article What Does an Adoption Attorney Do? We Find Out.
Adoption Consent in Alaska
Below is a summary including key points of the adoption consent laws in Alaska put together for your convenience and is intended to be quicker to digest. For a complete listing of all adoption consent laws in its legal format and in its entirety, visit Title 25. Marital and Domestic Relations – Chapter 25.23. Adoption courtesy of Justia US Law.
Sec. 25.23.040: Persons Required to Consent to Adoption
It goes without saying that consent to adopt is a huge part of the adoption process. We may forget, however, that there is more involved than the birth mother’s consent.
Other aspect may come into play that you will want to keep in mind.
- The adoptee who is 10 years of age or older must give their consent to the adoption. An exception to this would be if the child is mentally incompetent.
- The presumed father has the right to consent to the adoption, if:
- He is the father of the minor.
- He was married to the mother when the child was conceived.
- If the father was married to the mother at the time the minor was conceived or at any time after conception, the minor is the father’s child by adoption, or the father has otherwise legitimated the minor under the laws of the state.
- Any person lawfully entitled to custody of the minor or empowered to consent or which holds permanent custody and which has placed the adoptee for adoption.
- The court having jurisdiction to determine custody of the minor, if the legal guardian or custodian of the person of the minor is not empowered to consent to the adoption.
- The spouse of the minor to be adopted.
- A petition to adopt an adult may be granted only if written consent to adoption has been executed by the adult and the adult’s spouse or by the guardian or conservator of an incapacitated adult.
Sec. 25.23.050: Persons as to Whom Consent and Notice Not Required
- Abandonment of the adoptee.
- For purposes of this section, a parent who has abandoned a child for a period of at least six months.
- For purposes of this section, a parent who has abandoned a child for a period of at least six months.
- A parent of a child in the custody of another, if the parent for a period of at least one year has failed significantly without justifiable cause, including but not limited to indigency.
- A parent who has relinquished the right to consent under AS 25.23.180.
- A parent whose parental rights have been terminated by order of the court under AS 25.23.180(c)(2) or AS 47.10.080(c)(3).
- A guardian or custodian specified in AS 25.23.040(a)(3) or (4) who has failed to respond in writing to a request for consent for a period of 60 days or who, after examination of the guardian’s or custodian’s written reasons for withholding consent, is found by the court to be withholding consent unreasonably.
Alaska Subsidies for Foster Care Adoption
Adoption assistance, otherwise know as adoption subsidies, is available for foster children in Alaska who suffer from physical, mental, and developmental challenges.
These children are at a heightened risk of health problems, learning disabilities, as well as mental health issues. Subsidized adoption provides assistance to adoptive families for medical access, special equipment, therapies, tutoring, and other support services.
In the US, about 90% of the children in foster care are eligible for adoption assistance.
Special Needs Eligibility in Alaska
A child with special needs may qualify for adoption assistance if the child meets one or more of the following circumstances, courtesy of NACAC.
- Is part of an ethnic group.
- Age consideration.
- Siblings or other minority group.
- Medical issues such as physical, emotional, or mental disabilities
- Considered at high risk due to being born with alcohol or cocaine being present when the child was born, or mental illness of the parents.
Children adopted from private adoption agencies may be eligible for an adoption subsidy, but only if the children are eligible for federal (title IV-E) adoption assistance.
Section 25.23.210: Amount and Duration of Subsidy Payments
As one would expect, the subsidy department determines the amounts and length of time that a subsidy is available for a hard-to-place child, yet does not extend after the child is 18 years of age.
A deferred subsidy may be provided, meaning that that subsidy is not in the form of monetary monthly payments but rather assistance in other ways.
The negotiated amount received may not exceed the amount that would be allowable for such child if the child had remained in foster care, or if a special service, the reasonable fee for that service.
Subsidies are provided from the same public funds and in the same manner as foster care payments.
Alaska Adoption Advertising Laws
Adoption advertising is defined as using a public medium to express an interest in adopting a child or sharing that a child is available for adoption either by print or electronically.
Common means of advertising include:
- Printed Flyers
While researching the adoption advertising laws for Alaska, we found that there are currently no mentions of adoption advertisement use in the state of Alaska. Per ChildWelfare.gov, as of July 2020, adoption advertising is not addressed in the statues reviewed.
There are currently 18 states without regulations on adoption advertising, and Alaska is one of those states.
Birth Parent Expenses in Alaska
Sec. 25.23.090: Report of Petitioner’s Expenditures
In all states, no person or agency is allowed to accept payment for assisting, placing, or organizing the placement of a child, as this is illegal.
There are things, however, that adoptive parents may be allowed to pay for in Alaska which include:
- Medical or hospital care associated with the pregnancy or birth of the child.
- Services relating to the adoption.
Adoptive parents are generally required to file a complete record of expenses related to the adoption that they are covering, and this must happen prior to making a payment toward those expenses.
Once the court approves the adoptive parents documented expenses, the funds may be either paid at that time or placed into an escrow account.
Your licensed adoption liaison will help to ensure that all financial aspects of the adoption process run smoothly and legally.
What do you do, though, if said expenses are paid and the birth mother changes her mind in the end? Adoption Disruption insurance is available for adoptive parents to protect them from such a misfortune for those adopting domestically.
Accessing Adoption Records in Alaska
Sec. 18.50.220: New Certificate of Birth
If a child was adopted in the state of Alaska, adoptees 18 years of age or older may reach out to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to request an OBC (Original Birth Certificate) form. For your convenience, the OBC form can be accessed using the link below:
Once filled out, mail the form to the following address:
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
P.O. Box 110675
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0675
Adult adoptees may also request access to descriptive information about their birth families.
Post Adoption Contact Laws in Alaska
Adoptive parents have a right to decide who has contact with their adopted child and when. Many times in an open adoption, the adoptive parents and the birth family have a mutual and informal agreement regarding contact with the adopted child.
The state of Alaska permits enforceable contact agreements granting postadoption visitation rights for the birth parents of the adopted child.
Continued contact after adoption between the birth family and the adopted child must be in written form in specific terms.
Courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov.
When are Adoption Birth Certificates Issued in Alaska?
Alaska provides a new birth certificate for the adopted child. This new birth certificate takes the place of the original birth certificate in the state files.
When your adoption is finalized, court proceedings should immediately include beginning the process of obtaining a new birth certificate for the adopted child that reflects the child’s new last name and adoptive parents.
Do not hesitate to ask your adoption attorney or adoption agency if you need to initiate that process, or if the courts will do that on your behalf.
DISCLAIMER: The above state law information is provided to our readers as a courtesy and is meant to be helpful in offering some insight as to what to expect during your adoption journey. This information is not meant to be viewed as legal advice. In addition, possible changes to state laws may have taken place since the publishing of this article in July 2021.