Section 63-9-60 of the South Carolina Code of Laws provides that any South Carolina resident may petition the court to adopt a child.
Placement of children for adoption pursuant to this article is limited to South Carolina residents with exceptions being made in the following circumstances only:
(a) the child is a special needs child, as defined by Section 63-9-30 (Please see the definition below in "Continue Reading");
(b) there has been public notoriety concerning the child or child’s family, and the best interests of the child would be served by placement outside this State;
(c) the child is to be placed for adoption with a relative related biologically or by marriage;
(d) at least on of the adoptive parents is in the military service stationed in South Carolina;
(e) there are unusual or exceptional circumstances such that the best interests of the child would be served by placement with or adoption by nonresidents of this State; or
(f) the child has been in foster care for at least six months after having been legally freed for adoption and no South Carolina resident has been identified as a prospective adoptive home.
Interstate adoptions are much more complex than an intrastate adoption; please move forward with great care if you are adopting interstate. If the child fits into subsection (a)-(d) and (f) above, the interstate hurtles are much easier to leap because these subsections more clearly define the category in which the child needs to fit to be considered an exception to the rule limiting adoption to South Carolina residents.
If you are trying to work with subsection (e) which is much more ambiguous than the rest, proceed with caution. Though you may ultimately show the court that the circumstances are unusual or exceptional and that the best interest of the child would be served by placement with or adoption by nonresident of this State, the financial and emotion cost to do so could be great.
The Courts have determined that the selection of the adoptive parents by the biological parent or parents is an unusual and exceptional circumstance. Even under this circumstance, I advise you to proceed with caution because you may need the mother to testify that she in fact selected the adoptive parents. The problem arises when you do need the biological mother to testify and she has changed her mind and does not want to give her child up for adoption. Though the biological mother in unable to withdrawal her consent and relinquishment without an order from the court, she can refuses to testify or testify that she did not pick the adoptive parents. If this is the case, then the Court will probably rule that there is no unusual and exceptional circumstances; this leaves the adoptive parents stuck in South Carolina with a child that they are unable to leave the state with. It essentially forces the adoptive parents to relinquish custody of the child or fight a battle that is not winnable because the financial and emotional burden is to great and the outcome so uncertain.
The following definition is provided to help complete subsection (a) above.
"’Special needs child’ means children who fall into one or more of the following categories:
(a) children who are members of a sibling group;
(b) children of mixed racial heritage;
(c) children aged six or older; or
(d) children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.