All Children Deserve a Family "All Children Deserve a Family"  

Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption

  1. What is foster care?
  2. What is adoption?
  3. Who can adopt?
  4. What are the basic steps?
  5. How long does it take to adopt a foster child?
  6. Isn't it expensive to adopt children?
  7. Can I lose the children I adopt?
  8. Aren't many of the abused or neglected children hardened, difficult and unruly?
  9. "Special Needs" Children
  10. Support For Adoptive Parents and Children
  11. Where can I find out more info?

What is foster care?

Foster care is...
(hopefully) temporary care provided for a child when the child's natural parents are unavailable for them. Unfortunately, some children are never able to return to their birth families, and remain in state supervised foster care until they are either adopted or reach adulthood.

What is adoption?

Adoption is...
a lifelong commitment to a child
Kinds of adoption
  • Infant adoption through a private agency, usually from a birth mother.
  • Foreign adoption through an agency specializing in foreign adoptions.
  • Adoption from relatives by way of an agency or attorney.
  • Adoption from foster care
Adoption is governed by state law. Most other kinds of adoption (rehoming) are illegal.

Who can adopt?

  • You must be a mature and responsible adult.
  • You may rent or own your home, as long as you have stable housing.
  • You must have adequate income to meet your family's needs.
  • You can work outside the home, stay at home or be retired.
  • You may be married, divorced, widowed or single - with or without children.
  • You and all adults in your home must pass a background screening.
  • You must complete free special training and have an adoptive home study completed.

What are the basic steps?

Pick up the phone to talk to your state's child welfare staff or to a private adoption agency in your state. Many states and agencies have interest forms you can fill out online to receive more information. The process is similar in most states.

Most states also offer preliminary foster care and adoption information meetings, then training may be provided and a family home study will be completed. Some cost is dependent on whether you choose to go through a state child welfare agency or a private child placement agency.

In either case, before you can adopt you will need to have a current (within a year) home study. The home study fully explores your motivation to adopt and the type of children you are willing and able to parent.

Once this is done, you may call, e-mail or fill out an interest form on the child or sibling group you are interested in any state in the US. At this point, some state procedures differ; if you are considered a potential match for a child the child's state "case worker" may contact either you or your "adoption agency worker" for an initial exchange of information, (i.e., your adoption preferences, your skills, maybe your home study, and the child's special needs).

If both the child's caseworker and your adoption agency worker agree that this may be a possible match you are contacted by your adoption worker. Your adoption worker will share additional information on the child or sibling group with you. If you are still interested then your home study is sent in to the child's caseworker for review and a selection staffing is held for the child. Typically several family home studies are reviewed to make a selection for the children. It may take a while.

If you are selected, your adoption worker is advised and you will be allowed to read information about the children. If you are still interested then you will meet the children and have preplacement visits, maybe some overnight visits before the children are placed with you.

How long does it take to adopt a foster child?

The entire adoption process, including orientation, training, background-screening, placement, post-adoption home visits and the legal formalities, can be completed in as few as nine months.

Isn't it expensive to adopt children?

It costs fairly little to adopt foster children. Most fees are paid by the state or re-imbursed as tax credits. Other kinds of adoption may be pricier. A private or foreign adoption may cost $20,000 or more. In most states, almost all of the expenses in a foster care adoption are covered by the state, including court and attorney fees.

What if my adopted child's birth parents change their minds?
Can I lose a child I've grown to love?

No. In the state child welfare system, children do not become eligible for adoption until the rights of their birth parents to raise them have been permanently terminated by a judge.

Aren't many of the abused or neglected children hardened, difficult and unruly?

Many parents are reluctant to adopt children from the state, in part due to misinformation about adoption of children from foster care.

Many of the children waiting for adoption through the state child welfare system have endured serious trauma and losses in their young lives. Nearly half of all foster children have special needs, meaning they are either developmentally delayed, physically disabled or suffer mental or emotional disabilities. These are often the children who have the greatest need for a loving, stable and nurturing home.

That's why, child welfare administrators say, the adoption process focuses so heavily on building trust among prospective parents and the children they want to adopt.

The parent training offered ensures expectations are realistic for everyone involved. All adoptive parents receive training on the dynamics of abuse and neglect and child behaviors and they have the opportunity to meet with other adoptive parents to learn what they may experience.

What are "Special Needs"?

"Special Needs" does not always mean that the child has a physical, mental or emotional disability. However, you may qualify for special financial assistance the may qualify if the children meet one or more of the "special needs" criteria below.

  • The child is age 2 and part of a minority
  • The child is at least eight years old
  • The child is mentally, physically, or emotionally disabled
  • The child belongs to an ethnic minority
  • The child is a part of a sibling group who need to be placed together

Is There Financial Support For Adoptive Families?

Children grow best in families.

Yes. Some. Ask for details from your local agency.

  • Adoption Tax Credit (applies to many states, too)
  • State adoption subsidy payments may be available to parents adopting children with "special needs".
  • Medical assistance may be available for the child through age 18.
  • Most expenses related to the adoption (such as court costs and attorney fees) are eligible for reimbursement. Some states may reimburse up to $1,000 for adoption finalization fees.
  • Tuition waivers - Children adopted from some states are eligible to receive up to four years of paid college tuition at universities, colleges or vocational programs.
  • Adoption Support Groups - Support groups for families may be available in your state or from your agency. Other community-based support groups and services may be available.

Where can I find out more info?

We have found this program beneficial in finding families for our children. We ask that as you view the children, consider that they live in our communities. Respect their right to privacy, and be aware that they may attend school or church, or play at the local park with your children and relatives. The availability of their pictures leaves our children recognizable and vulnerable to negative attention. Although we strive to protect them, we need your help. Thank you!

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