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Can you adopt with an arrest or conviction on your record?

Deciding to adopt a child is one of the most selfless acts any person or family can undertake. That being said, many people also commit dumb errors in their youth (for instance, drunk driving). Does your record prevent you from being eligible to adopt a child? Assuming you meet all the other criteria, this post will analyze the impact of an arrest or conviction on your opportunity to adopt.

The short answer is no, an arrest or conviction won't derail your adoption application, but it isn't good. The nature of the crime, whether you disclosed it, how it was resolved, and how open you are about the details all factor into the decision.

If you have a record, you need to be open and honest. Include it in your application, and you need to be open to the external scrutiny. The agency will rigorously interview you, to ensure that your criminal past does not define you. Also, the type of crime also matters. For example, if you were arrested for shoplifting as a young adult, that may not matter as much as a felonious drunk driving charge.

As you can see, a conviction or arrest isn't a death knell for your adoption application, but it isn't good. If your adoption application is denied, you may want to seek the assistance of an attorney to review it with you and consider appeal options. Keep in mind that the agency and court will allow parents to adopt only if it is in the best interests of the child. So, take the advice stated above, be open and honest with your application. You can be in the best interests of the child if you demonstrate mature parenting and dedication.