What is adoption?
Adoption is the permanent, legal transfer of all parental rights and obligations from one person or couple to another person or couple. Adoptive parents are real parents. Adoptive parents have the same rights and responsibilities as parents whose children were born to them. An adopted child has the same legal rights and privileges as birth children.
Who are the children who are available for adoption?
More than 120,000 children wait for permanent homes in the United States. Most are school-aged or older. There are brothers and sisters who need to stay together. More than 60% of the children come from minority cultures. The majority are boys. Many have emotional, physical, learning disabilities or mental retardation. All are waiting for the love and security that only a permanent family can offer.
Who can adopt?
All kinds of people choose to adopt, there is no one " acceptable " type. Agencies will consider single, married, divorced and same sex applicants. Agency requirements vary, but the age range most acceptable is usually 25 and up and often depends on the age of the child. There are women and men who are highly educated with well-respected jobs, high school graduates with blue-collar jobs, people with grown children, and others who want to care for a child with special needs. They are all capable people who have a lot of love to share.
How long will it take to adopt?
The time frame, like the cost, varies with the agency and the type of child being adopted. The wait is typically between two and seven years for a healthy infant. If the prospective family has a completed home study, children with special needs can often be adopted quickly, within several months.
What is a home study?
The home study is an educational process designed to help the agency get to know you and teach you about adoption and its impact on children and families. You will attend a series of meetings with a social worker that will provide more in-depth information. Social workers want to be sure that a person or couple can provide a safe and nurturing environment for a new child in their home. The home-study process varies from agency to agency. Some conduct individual and joint interviews with a husband and wife; others conduct group home-studies with several families at one time. Most ask applicants to provide written information about themselves and their life experiences.
Where are the children living while waiting to be adopted?
Most children who are waiting for permanent families in the United States (those with special needs) live in foster or group homes because their parents were unable to care for them. Often, personal and family problems made it impossible for the parents to maintain a home for their children. Most of these children have been abused, neglected or abandoned.
How does foster care differ from adoption?
Foster care is meant to be temporary shelter for a child; generally the plan is for the parents to take their child back when they are able. If that fails, the child is legally freed from their birth parents and made available for adoption. Once adopted, the child becomes a legal member of a family other than his/her biological one.
Can the birth parents take a child back?
In order for a child to be adopted, the birth parents have to relinquish legal custody or their rights have to be terminated. With most agency adoptions, a child is already legally free for adoption before a placement occurs. While cases where a parent changes his/her mind (usually before an adoption is finalized) are highly publicized, they occur infrequently.
Can I adopt a child in a different state?
Yes. The Adoption and Safe Families Act, passed in 1997, requires state agencies to speed up a child ' s move from foster care to adoption by establishing time frames for permanency planning and guidelines for when a child must be legally freed for adoption. The bill also removes geographic barriers to adoption by requiring that states not delay or deny a placement if an approved family is available outside the state.
What is involved in adopting a child from a different state?
Currently to adopt across state and territory lines a process must be followed. That is guided by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children(ICPC). This agreement lays out who will be responsible for the supervision of and the financial aspects of the placement. In other words, who supervises and who pays for that supervision. This financial responsibility also includes which state or territory will pay for post- placement therapies, subsidies and respite care, thus it is vitally important that this process be followed properly.
Can I adopt a child of another race?
Yes. In October 1995, the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act became effective. This act and subsequent revisions bar any agency involved in adoption that receives federal funding from discriminating because of race when considering adoption opportunities for children.
Should I be a foster parent before I adopt?
In order to adopt, it is not necessary to begin as a foster parent. Foster families should be able to adopt the child in their care, if the child becomes legally free. Becoming a foster parent may increase your chances of adopting a young child.