Can You Adopt Children If You Live in an RV? (Yes! Here’s how)


adopt living in rv lg

Lots of people live and travel in RVs. But if you’re considering expanding your family, you may have wondered can you adopt children if you live in an RV?

I did some research, and here’s what I found out:

As a general rule, it is unlikely that one would be disqualified from adopting a child due to living in an RV if the other requirements for a child’s well-being are being met. But the laws around adoption differ from state to state, and the adoption agency has the final say.

But really, what they are looking at is what’s in the child’s best interest.

There’s so much more to know. In this article, we’ll explore whether an RV is considered housing and what will disqualify you from adopting a child.

And we’ll also find out if an RV is considered a stable home for a child.

Is an RV considered housing?

No, an RV is not considered housing. An RV is a recreational vehicle and is not designed to be a place of primary residence, although many do use them that way. Most people who own RVs also have houses that they live in when they are not on the road.

But there’s a growing subculture around RVs such that some people use their RVs as their place of primary residence or spend a considerable chunk of their time in them.

Some RVs come with an array of amenities that makes them incredibly comfy “houses.”

Strictly speaking, an RV is not a house. However, in addition to the two types of people we identified above, there are also folks who have fallen on hard times and who use their RVs as their “houses.”

I suppose the question you’ll really want me to address is: is it legal to live in an RV?

Yes, it is. But it cannot simply be parked anywhere one likes. There are public places that you can’t park your RV at. Campgrounds, of course, are fine, although some will limit how long you can stay.

Some towns and cities also have ordinances against sleeping inside vehicles (when parked in public places). So, it’s smart to be knowledgeable about these regulations.

But are RVs considered mobile homes?

Find out in a recent article where I shared the differences between RVs and mobile homes and which one depreciates faster. But I also revealed which kind of RV holds its value the best.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What will disqualify you from adopting a child?

The following may disqualify you from adopting a child: Being considered too young or too old, being in a bad state of health, a lack of financial stability, having a criminal record, having a record of child abuse, or an unstable lifestyle.

We’ll explore a few of those in greater detail below.

But before we do, it’s vital to stress that these conditions are not punitive. They’re logical preconditions based on ensuring that the adopted child or children live in a safe environment where they can thrive.

The safety and well-being of the child are what is being prioritized.

Age

There is no singular age that’s used as the criterion before one can adopt.

But some states require you to be at least 18 before you can adopt, while some have a minimum age requirement of 21 or 25.

And at the other end of the spectrum, most use 50 as the cutoff. That’s to say you will be disqualified from adopting a child if you’re 50 and above.

And yes, that sounds a bit agist to me. But then I had my 3rd daughter at age 53.

The idea is that if you’re too young or too old, you may not be able to offer the adopted child quality parenting. But the age depends on the state or the adoption agency. So be sure to ask.

Health Challenges

You’re not going to be disqualified because of every health issue.

In fact, there are serious illnesses such as anxiety and diabetes that may be ignored. And even cancer! In some states, if you can prove that it’s been in remission for 3 months, you qualify.

The main thing they want to confirm is that you’re healthy enough to give the child quality care. It’s a reasonable expectation if you ask me. If you’re actively managing your illness and it doesn’t inhibit you from taking care of a child, you probably have nothing to worry about.

Criminal History

It goes without saying that no one who has a history of violence against a child would qualify to adopt a child or to be a foster parent. The same thing applies if you have neglected a child in the past.

But it’s not a given that once you’ve had a charge against you that you can’t adopt a child. It depends on what really happened. If it’s something serious, your application is likely to be rejected.

If they’re offenses that do not involve felonies, the agencies are willing to examine them on a case-by-case basis.

Is an RV considered a stable home for a child?

Yes, an RV is considered a stable home for a child if it consistently has electricity and water, and provisions are made to ensure that the child’s health, nutrition, education, and other basic needs are met.

There’s also the need to ensure that the living arrangement aligns with the custody agreement if co-parenting with an ex.

So, an RV that doesn’t consistently have power would not be considered stable.

Ensuring the child is educated is one of the most vital considerations. Public schools come to mind. But if you’re on the road a lot, it’s not possible to get the child to attend, as most schools require strict attendance. And they should.

Fortunately, you can consider homeschooling or online schooling.

Online schools are like public schools. It’s just that the lessons are conducted online. There’s homework to be submitted, and like traditional public schools, they are free of charge. The main challenge you’re going to face is a stable internet connection.

Something you can’t always be sure of in an RV.

Homeschooling is known as “Option 3” in some states. In this case, parents or guardians take up the responsibility of educating their kids. They are also responsible for progress reports, grades, and testing.

They have to keep up with all the educational material, and it has to be turned in to the relevant state education department at the end of the year.

Annual visits with their pediatrician are also mandatory for the kids.

So, this has to be planned. It’s not a challenge, as parents and guardians can plan their trips around the visits. In some cases, virtual visits may suffice.

Just clarify with the pediatrician. Ideally, you want to use the same pediatrician for stability and to ensure you’re using a professional who is familiar with the child’s medical history.

To learn more, check out a recent article where I explained whether the CPS can take your child for living in an RV.

I addressed whether it’s legal to live with a child in an RV and if an RV is considered the same as a mobile home as it relates to living in it with a child. But I also revealed some of the reasons the CPS could take your child away!

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Are people who live in campers considered homeless?

A camper’s occupants will only be considered homeless if the camper lacks basic amenities such as power, water, heat, and air conditioning. However, those living in a tent in a campground would be considered homeless.

Again, if we’re looking at this from the standpoint of adoption, the camper just needs to be able to comfortably provide for the needs of the child.

Or a scenario where they have a camper that’s equipped with the amenities they need. In other words, it depends. The simple act of living in a camper does not automatically make one homeless. Other factors have to be considered.

Who is homeless? The McKinney-Vento Act offers the following:

An individual or family with a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station, airport, or camping ground.

And, Children living in “motels, hotels, trailer parks, or campgrounds due to lack of alternative accommodations.”

Homelessness is almost always a marker of class.

The “typical” homeless person is someone who has fallen on hard times, in addition to not having a place to live, they’re often unemployed.

There’s a misconception about living in RVs and campers. This fuels the notion that those enamored of this lifestyle are homeless. But that’s not the case in the majority of cases.

It’s almost always a question of choice, a lifestyle choice to explore nature instead of being tied to just one spot for decades. So, most RV’ers, owners of campers included, also own regular homes.

So, they might be considered homeless by most people, but in truth, they are not.

You’ve probably considered how the weather impacts living in an RV and may have wondered if you can live in a Class A motorhome in the winter.

You’re in luck because that is what I explored in a recent article.

I shared vital info about what you need to know if you’re contemplating living in a Class A motorhome during the winter and the risks of living in your RV during harsh winters. But I also explained how to live in an RV during the winter.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can you be a foster parent if you live in an RV or mobile home?

As a general rule, living in an RV or mobile home would not disqualify one from being a foster parent. Just ensure ample space for the child, and electricity, water, and access to food and education. 

Proof of ownership of the RV or mobile home is one of the vital documents you’ll be required to provide during the approval process.

Familiarity with the adoption law of the state you reside in and speaking to a lawyer are recommended.

But note that the adoption agency has the final say. They may insist that only those who have a permanent place of residence can be foster parents.

There have been cases where folks who live in RVs and mobile homes have been refused!

What questions do adoption agencies ask?

Adoption agencies ask questions relating to the childhood of the parents, their health, their parenting style, and if there are adequate finances to raise a child. Additionally, they will ask about marital status, and what you know about the unique challenges of children who are given up for adoption.

Below I shared a list of some of the questions you’re likely to be asked:

Background

  1. What was your childhood home like?
  2. What about your childhood home would you like to recreate in your own home?
  3. What about your childhood home do you hope not to repeat?
  4. What was your relationship with your parents like?
  5. How is your current relationship with your parents?

Marriage

  1. What is your marital status?
  2. How long have you been together?
  3. How long have you been married?
  4. What are some strengths in your marriage?
  5. What are some weaknesses in your marriage?

What is the easiest state to adopt from?

Alabama, Arkansas, and Arizona are some of the states with the most adoption-friendly laws. A lot of states want children to be adopted with relative ease. But the reality is that the laws are more stringent in some places than others.

For example, some states require the approval of both birth parents before the adoption process is finalized, while some do not.

Below is a list of some of the states with the friendliest adoption regulations.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
Understanding the adoption process

Conclusion

In the article, we explored whether RV is considered housing and what will disqualify you from adopting a child. But we also found out if an RV is considered a stable home for a child.

We looked at whether those who live in campers are considered homeless and if you can be a foster parent if you live in an RV or mobile home.

We considered some of the questions adoption agencies ask. Lastly, we wrapped things up by looking at some states with adoption-friendly regulations.

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Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell travels on and off with his 3 daughters in a Newmar Baystar Class A Motorhome. He writes extensively on both RVs, campgrounds, parenting on the road tips, remote learning & schooling, and much more!

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