Monday, November 12, 2012

The Steps to Adoption: A [Mini] Tutorial

One of the questions I hear most often is around the process of adoption and the steps involved. Adoption is a complex process that includes preparation, education, the legal process, finances, and matters of the heart.  No two adoptions are the same, but each takes the same general steps.  

Ashley and Jeremy began consulting and two months later had sweet little Zion

Here's your adoption road map:

Hire an adoption consultant
Hiring an adoption professional to walk you through the process, direct you to quality and ethical agencies and attorneys, and ensure a higher level of security will be key. Someone to help you determine when to take each step and how to complete them is invaluable.  Check out the tab on the top for more reasons to hire an adoption consultant.  

Complete a home study
The home study is an evaluation of a prospective adoptive family that is required by state and federal regulations. This involves education of the adoption process, background checks, medical evaluations, and an enormous amount of paperwork. Typically, a social worker makes at least three visits with your family and writes an evaluation of your ability to provide a safe, loving, and secure home for a child.

Create your profile
Your profile is a sort of  "scrapbook" of your family that birth parents use to choose the adoptive family. You can imagine how important it is for your family's personality, passion, and heart to come through in these pages to give birth parents a clear picture of who you are and how their baby will be raised. You can see a few examples of how we create these here.

Prepare your finances
The cost of adoption can be high. Preparing your finances by applying for available grants, creative fundraising, and accessing tax and employer credits will allow you to have the resources necessary to be available to situations.

Apply to agencies and wait for a match
I've found the most efficient and effective way to adopt is by using a multi-agency approach. This approach gives greater exposure to available situations in adoption friendly states and cuts the wait time down considerably.  For most of our families, adoptions typically take between six and ten months.

Match with a situation
Once your profile is in multiple states with multiple agencies (more on this new approach here), you can be presented to birth families. When an agency or your consultant is contacted about a situation that matches your preferences, you are given all of the information available on the situation (health of the baby, etc.) and have a chance to think and pray over your profile being presented. The birth parents then choose the adoptive family they want to raise their child.
*Many of our families are prepared for an emergency situation or a "stork drop" where the baby is already born and this happens over a matter of hours.

Since we work with adoption friendly states, the baby is placed with the adoptive family soon after birth. At that time, physical custody is granted to the adoptive family.

Post Placement
Each state requires a post placement supervision period of anywhere from 30 days to approximately 9 months. During this time your social worker makes regular visits with you to ensure the placement is going well and provide any needed support for your family.

After the required post placement supervision, a finalization hearing is held in where a judge will sign the final judgement decreeing you to be your child's parents and legally changing their name.

Although there are multiple steps to adoption and they can be complex, finding the right people to guide you through the journey can make all the difference. The right consultant, agency, and attorney can lower the risk of an adoption and avoid the stress of feeling like you're on your own.

In the end, after all of the hard work and paperwork and finances and waiting, providing a child with a forever family is worth it.

Want more information on adoption?  Email me at

Want more adoption [mini] tutorials? Click here for more resources!

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