Frequently Asked Questions about Alaska Adoption
What is Alaska adoption?
Alaska adoption is the process by which an adult takes on the legal and physical responsibilities for a child’s wellbeing that are usually assigned to biological parents. Adoption may occur at any time in a child’s life, though it most commonly occurs for infants and very young children. Older children and teenagers are sometimes considered less desirable by parents, but of course there is a great need for them to be adopted as well.
Guardianship can be put in contrast with Alaska adoption, since guardianship is also an arrangement by which one person asserts their legal responsibility for another. However, guardianship is usually adults acting for adults who are handicapped in some way that makes them unable to make decisions for themselves. Furthermore, guardianship has less far-reaching effects than adoption, and may be further limited by the courts—for instance, a guardianship that only allows you to make medical decisions on another’s behalf.
Can I get financial assistance for an Alaska adoption?
Yes, Alaska adoption subsidies are forms of financial assistance available to families who want to make a commitment to a child with special needs but who might otherwise be financially unable to do so. The definition of special needs for this purpose is especially loose. It can include any physical or mental disability, emotional trauma, membership in a sibling group, a doctor-certified risk of physical or mental disability, or even racial or ethnic factors.
The amount of a subsidy will never be more than the existing amount that is paid to foster parents. Their exact amount will be decided after a home study conducted by an OCS Permanency Planning Conference team, and the family must apply and be approved for the subsidy before the adoption takes place. Once a subsidy agreement is signed by both parties, it becomes a binding document and cannot be changed unless one party violates its terms.
In addition, a one-time reimbursement of up to $2,000 is available through this program for parents who need to compensate legal counsel who helped to facilitate the Alaska adoption.
When is a guardianship preferable to adoption?
A guardianship, since it is a less serious legal action than Alaska adoption, may be the preferable tact depending on what relationship you hope to have with the child and what relationship they maintain with their parents.
First of all, a birth parent may retain what are called “residual rights” with a guardianship that will allow them to continue to visit the child and possibly to choose its religion or claim its body in the event of a tragedy. In Alaska adoption, the adoptive parent has total control over what the child’s relationship with their birth parent will be.
In the event of the death of the adult, there will be no rights of inheritance automatically given out to a ward as there would be to an adopted child. Furthermore, wards usually do not take their guardians name, as adopted children do.