It is just another part of the background checks necessary. The purpose is to make sure you are who you say you are. The FBI will most likely run your prints through their databases to be sure you aren't a sex offender or other criminal who has managed to create a new identity.
It's for the safety and well being of the child, and for your own protection as well.
Here is more from Wiki s contributors:
You can send your paper work if you wish, but you will still have to travel there for your fingerprints. You can not have them made by anyone other than INS.
If you have all of your paperwork in order, you can submit it and have the fingerprints made in the same day (assuming you write the check, of course). Make sure that you check the INS website for the requirements before you go. Triple check your paperwork, or else you will be making another trip if there is something missing.
Our home study agency left off their state certificate, and we almost had to make another trip (an 8 hour round trip and another day off for both of us). Fortunately, God was with us, and I was able to convince the clerk that a faxes copy with their signature would be just as true to the original as a photocopy. However, they would not accept the fax on their machine(even though it was only 10 feet away on the other side of the counter). Fortunately for us, our adoption agency was 20 miles away and accepted the fax for us. Within minutes of giving them the certificate, we were fingerprinted and on our way.
A married couple or an unmarried adult are generally eligible to adopt a child in the United States. Stepparents can also be granted the right to adopt a birth child or children of a spouse. Specific laws might vary slightly in each state, so a person seeking to adopt should review the law in his or her state before beginning the process. Additionally, an adoption can be handled through an adoption agency or independently without agency involvement. The desired contact between the birth parent(s) and adoptive parent(s) determines if the adoption is closed or open.In a closed adoption, most adoptive parents do not know the birth parents or where the child was born. The files in the case are physically sealed and the child will not know the identity of his or her birth parents. Open adoptions are the opposite, where the adoptive and birth parents meet and maintain some degree of contact. An open adoption gives most birth parents a voice in selecting the adoptive parents for a child.The Adoption ProcessProspective parents are required to participate in a home study process before an adoption is granted. There are three primary purposes to this process. The adoptive family receives information to educate and prepare them for the adoption. The social worker can use this time to gather specific information about the prospective parents to help in making the best match. The social worker can also determine the emotional, behavioral and financial fitness of the parents to care for a child.Some prospective parents experience anxiety during this process, fearing they will not be approved. However, agencies are not looking for perfect parents, but rather are looking for parents who are capable of accepting the realities of parenting.Once the home process is completed successfully and a child is located, the adoptive parents will petition the court for approval. This may require an adoption hearing before the adoption is finalized. The birth parents have already relinquished parental rights and duties for the child.A consent notice is sent to the birth parents, the adoption agency and the legal representative for the child prior to the hearing date. The judge will issue an order that approves and finalizes the adoption. This order legalizes the adoption, granting a new parent-child relationship between the adoptive parents and the child. An official name change for the child by the new parents can also be requested.
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