An obviously critical consideration of rules and regulations of American adoption is who may be adopted. Technically, in about half of the United States, even adults may be adopted. As regards child adoption policies in the United States in themselves, all states allow for children to be adopted.
There are qualifications in some jurisdictions, though. States like Indiana will only consent to adoption of children under 18. As for, say, Texas, a child must be explicitly cleared to be ready for adoption, and in Iowa, in particular, a child must live with a family for some 180 days prior to adoption.
An equally essential aspect of American adoption is what rights adoptive parents and birth parents should have. First of all, prospective adoptive parents must be given the rights to adopt at all. The child adoption policies of different states will assess different minimum ages for individuals to become eligible to adopt, whether this be 18, 21 or 25, and in some states, such as California, adoptive parents must be at least 10 or 15 years older than their prospective children, respectively.
Furthermore, American adoption as a whole is largely restrictive of gays adopting children, or at the very least does not openly support the practice. In fact, Florida and Mississippi have an explicit ban on LGBT adoption.
State child adoption policies vary as well in terms of who can give consent for adoption/placement. In all states, birth mothers/married birth couples usually will have to agree to any transfers of primary care (all too frequently, the rights of “putative fathers” are not given the same weight as those of biological mothers).
If termination of parental rights is done by force, however, this decision will become a responsibility of a public or private adoption agency. Then again, half of the states have provisions in their statutes allowing children above a certain age to object to their being adopted.
American adoption law is thus fairly complex. With any omnibus adoption legislation unlikely to pass soon, this complexity stands to remain. As far as adoption reform is concerned, it seems revision of individual State child adoption policies may be the best way to effect changes in the short-term.