Individuals, married couples, and stepparents are all generally allowed to adopt a child. In some states a married person may adopt as an individual only if legally separated or if they have a spouse who is legally incompetent. Even grandparents can adopt a child under certain conditions, especially if the child is related to as least one of them.
There are generally age restrictions imposed on adoptive parents. The rules vary from state to state, but basically, the minimum age requirement is from 18 to 25. Some states do allow minors to adopt other minors in special circumstances, but they usually require the person adopting to be older by a specified numbered of years than the person being adopted.
In general, most areas require a person to be a resident of the same state in which the adoption will be occurring. Exceptions are possible in some states like Texas; however, a family law attorney in El Paso may be needed to petition for this to be considered. This residency requirement allows for regular monitoring and inspections of the home by state adoption officials.
Meeting the basic requirements is usually not the end of the qualifying process to adopt a child. Depending on the situation, a person may have to undergo several evaluations, investigations, and a complete criminal background check. Because the life of a child is at stake, the state wants to be sure the child is placed in a loving and safe home.