Arkansas Adoption Laws and Policies

Who Can Adopt in Arkansas?

A single adult or married couple. A married individual without his or her spouse if the spouse is a parent of the individual to be adopted and consents to the adoption, the petitioner and his or her spouse are legally separated, or the court excuses the spouse by reason of prolonged unexplained absence, incapacity, or circumstances constituting an unreasonable withholding of consent.

Arkansas Domestic Adoption Laws

Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? Not addressed in state statutes.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Not addressed in state statutes.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Medical, legal, living (housing, food, clothing, etc.), reimbursement for expenses incurred or fees for services rendered related to the pregnancy, delivery and post partum recuperation period. Expenses paid must be disclosed in an affidavit by the petitioners.

Is there a putative father registry? Yes.

When can consent to adoption be granted? Any time after the birth of the child.

When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? 10 days after child’s birth or signing, whichever is later. If 10th day falls on weekend or legal holiday, period extends to next business day. Return automatic.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Not addressed in state statutes.

Arkansas International Adoption Laws

Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Yes, if the decree is by a court following due process of law.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Not addressed in state statutes.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The State Registrar of Vital Statistics will issue a U.S. birth certificate of a child adopted in an Arkansas court upon receipt of the certificate of adoption, proof of DOB and place of birth of the child, and a request from the court decreeing the adoption, the adoptive parents, or the adopted person if s/he is 18 years or older.

Adoption from Foster Care in Arkansas

Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, adoption subsidies are available for a special needs child as defined by one of the following: 9 years or older if white, 2 years or older if of color, member of a sibling group who share at least 1 biological parent/have lived together prior to adoption or have a special bond, have ongoing medical/psychological needs that require treatment, at high risk for or has developmental, physical, mental, or emotional condition documented by a professional. In addition, the child must be in the custody of the state of Arkansas. The adoptive family must undergo a means test to determine if the family’s resources exceed state eligibility requirements. Starts upon adoption finalization.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in Arkansas?

Access to Adoption Records in Arkansas

Who may access non-identifying information?

  1. Adoptive parents, the child’s guardian, or any welfare agency with custody of the adoptee.
  2. Adoptees at any age.
  3. Birth parents.
  4. Following the death of the adoptee, the adoptee’s children or their guardians and the widow/widower.

Who may access identifying information? Available upon request to any person with access to non-identifying information.

Can adoptees obtain their original birth certificates?  Only available upon court order or as provided by regulation.

Arkansas Adoption Unit

Program Manager: Marilyn R. Carter-Counts

700 Main Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203-1437
Phone: (501) 682-8437
Fax: (501) 682-8561

E-mail: Heart Gallery


DISCLAIMER: The state laws and policies outlined above are offered to readers only for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the state laws were accurate at the time of compilation, but The Current Initiative cannot guarantee that there have been no subsequent changes or revisions to the laws. Please do not rely on the information above without first consulting an adoption attorney licensed in your state. Updated in November 2014.