Generally, any adult who is considered a "fit parent" may adopt a child, but some states have special requirements for adoptive parents. In a few states, adoptive parents must be a certain number of years older than the child. In other states, adoptive parents must be residents of that state for a specific period of time before they are allowed to adopt. If you are adopting through an agency, you may also have to meet additional agency requirements, which are often stricter than state laws.
Some people will likely have more difficulty adopting a child than others (i.e. a single woman or homosexual couple may have a harder time adopting than a married heterosexual couple). This is because all states look to the "best interests of the child" when placing them with adoptive parents. Many state courts or agencies will use the "best interests" argument to judge a prospective adoptive parent or couple according to preconceived biases about who makes a good or a fit parent. Additionally, birth parents who are placing their children with an agency for adoption may have some of the same biases.
Issues that may affect adoption:
- sexual preference
- marital status