Are you and your family interested in the necessary steps to adopt a child? Adoption is a beautiful thing, but several areas must be addressed of before you can love on your new child. Below is a tour through the steps of the adoption process for those who are considering adoption. If you do indeed decide to take the next step toward adoption, here’s how the adoption process will work:
Decide if Adoption is Right For You
This is likely one of the biggest decision you’ve ever made, so it’s important that you first consider all of your options. Every situation is different, and only you know what’s right. Consider the important factors, such as:
Choose an Adoption Professional
While researching various adoption professionals, it is important for you to understand that not all entities provide the same services in the same manner or require the same steps to adopt a child. Some handle the entire adoption process, helping you through every step, while others may only handle certain parts of it. For instance, you may need to hire a lawyer if you are looking to adopt your spouses child. It is crucial that you ask each adoption professional you are vetting to give you an accurate layout of ALL the costs you will incur while working with them.
Some questions you’ll want to ask an adoption professional include:
- What kind of children does the entity place (ages, backgrounds, etc.)?
- How many children has the entity placed in each of the past few years?
- What criteria does the entity use to match Birth Parents with Adoptive Parents?
- How long, on average, is the wait time?
- What is the homestudy and what does it require?
- How much does a completed adoption cost — in total and each part?
Complete Your Homestudy
Every Adopting Parent in the United States must complete a homestudy in order to adopt a child. A homestudy is a series of meetings between you and an agency social worker. Think of it as an ongoing conversation which is part of the adoption process and prepares you for parenting.
The social worker who prepares your homestudy will need to ask you for certain documents such as birth certificates, marriage license, child abuse clearances and personal references before finalizing his or her report. At least one meeting will be at your home. All individuals who live in your home will need to attend. The social worker ensures that you and your family are prepared to have a child or youth in your home. Your social worker can also answer questions for you and point you in the direction of further resources to support you as you move along on your journey.
A successful homestudy results in an official approval for the adoption to move forward. In some cases, the social worker may feel that an adoptive placement is not in the best interest of the child or family.
Prepare For Your Child
Before the birth, you will have to think about home preparation for your new child. This means doing everything required to make a new home safe, welcoming and comfortable for a new child. What home preparation entails can vary depending upon the Adoptive Family. But there are a few common requirements that all adoptive families can prepare:
- Child-Friendly Environment: A child-friendly home is one that is clean, orderly, and free of overt adult paraphernalia. This includes things such as literature, films, images, and decorations that are inappropriate for children to see or be around. This is also extended to child safety precautions. Proper precautions must be taken in the bathroom, around stairs, basements, attics, and other rooms where a child could injure themselves.
- Proper Supplies: Healthy foods, necessary toiletries, medications, utensils, and furniture needed and designed for children are a great way to prepare your home for your coming child.
Finalize Your Adoption and Bring Home Your Child
If you are bringing your baby home from another state, you will need to complete the ICPC (“Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children”) process. In order to legally take a child from one state to another, you must comply with the ICPC requirements. This can take anywhere from 8-14 days after birth.
Once you have completed all the steps to adopt a child, your adoption professional will begin the process of petitioning for your adoption. As soon as this petition is submitted to the court and all necessary legal forms have been signed and submitted by all parties involved, it can then by approved or denied by the court.
If you are interested in adopting, having your new spouse or other third party adopt your child, or learning the steps to adopt a child you want to be sure that the process is handled correctly the first time around. Contact Stoffel Law today to arrange a free adoption consultation or call (317) 674-8222.