Welcoming a new baby into the family is a call for celebration and congratulatory messages from family members. However, there are many American families, including some in Colorado, who cannot experience this joyous moment. Some couples may be having problems conceiving a child naturally. Fortunately, adoption is one family law option that might be a happy solution to their problems.

People who can adopt a child are not limited to those couples having fertility issues or certain medical conditions. Generally, any single adult or married couple is eligible to adopt. Stepparents also can adopt the birth child of their spouses or partners. There are also restrictions and qualifications that must be met before you can adopt. There are six states that set the age for potential adoptive parents at 18 years old. In Colorado, an individual can only adopt if he or she is at least 21 years old, while some other states limit adoption to individuals who are at least 25 years of age. Also, there may be age restrictions that require an adoptive parent to be older than the adopted person by a certain number of years. In most cases, an adoptive parent should 10 years older than the person that he or she wishes to adopt.

Another prerequisite to adoption is a residency requirement. As of now, there are 17 states that require the adoptive parents to be the resident of the state in which they are adopting. If you choose to adopt, you need to establish your legal residency in the state where you are adopting. Your legal residence should be your permanent or primary home and you must live there for as little as sixty days or up to one year. The required period of residency will vary, depending upon state laws.

There is also an exception to the residency rule. Some states allow a nonresident to adopt a child with special needs. It is important to understand that the laws governing child adoption in Colorado and other states are quite different.

Source: FindLaw "Who May Adopt: Overview," accessed Sept. 11, 2014