Adoption Frequently Asked Questions
A facilitator is a person (or business) that finds expectant woman who may want to place their child for adoption. They seldom provide any other pre or post adoption services and are not legal in all states. If you go the attorney route, I strongly recommend that you use an attorney that specializes in adoption. To find one, check out these Creating a Family resources on adoption attorneys. If you go the adoption agency route, you can use our 3 step process for choosing an adoption agency. With international adoption you will need to use an adoption agency with a program in the country you are considering. With foster care adoption you will need to work with either your county child welfare agency/foster care agency or a private adoption agency with a contract with your state to find adoptive families for children in foster care.
- Why Open Adoption? (blog)
- Open Adoption (10 minute video)
- Open Adoption: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (1 hour podcast)
- Open Adoption: How Open is Open? (1 hour podcast)
- Top Ten Essential Topics Every Prospective Adoptive Parent and Birth Mother Should Discuss Prior to the Adoption
I am often asked about adopting from a country that is not often associated with international adoption, such as a European country. There is a logical reason that most adoptions to the US come from only a few countries—availability of children in need of homes. Most developed countries (yes, I know that there are exceptions such as China and Korea) do not have a surplus of young children in need of homes. Women in developed countries often postpone child bearing, and infertility is increasingly becoming a problem. Domestic adoptions increase with infertility. Also, the social stigma against single motherhood is crumbling everywhere. In other words, the domestic adoption situation in most developed countries is remarkably similar to the US.
Most countries have older children who have been removed from their parents and are in need of homes, but only a very few allow these children to be placed outside of their country. If you are considering older children, don’t forget that the US has plenty of foster children in need of homes.
- Evaluating Risks in Domestic or International Adoption
- Nature vs. Nurture/ Genetics vs. Environment – discussed the likelihood of inheriting different mental illnesses.
- Prenatal Alcohol And Drug Exposure-How Much Is Too Much
- Evaluating Health and Legal Risk Factors for Domestic Adoption
The second way to adopt from the foster care system is through what is often called the foster-adopt program. Different states call it different things, but it is usually a variation on that label. Most of the younger children that are adopted from foster care are placed through the foster-adopt system. In this program, you first go through the training to become a foster parent (usually a 30-35 hour training course is required). The child that is placed in your home is not legally free for adoption (meaning that the parental rights have not yet been terminated) and may not become legally free for adoption since the goal is to reunite birth families where possible, or place children with extended family. The child will be available for you to adopt only when these options are not available. Family reunification is an option for only about 50% of the kids in foster care. Some case workers have a feel for which children will become available for adoption and they try to place these kids in foster-adopt home, but there are no guarantees and many caseworkers say that they have no way or predicting which families will heal and which won’t.
Keep in mind that most states not only place foster children for adoption from the county department of social services, many also have contracts with private adoption agencies to find homes for these children. To increase your odds of finding a child, it helps to check with both public and private agencies. Also, you do not have to adopt a child from your state or region. Most agencies try to keep children in the foster-adopt program nearby because parental rights are not yet terminated, but children who are currently free for adoption can be placed across state line. You can check out some photolistings of children currently waiting for adoption at our Waiting Child section.
You will need an adoption home study. Your adoption agency or adoption attorney can suggest whom you can use. It will have to be done by an adoption agency or social worker in your state. Yes, it can be completed in 2-3 months. You need to be very clear with whomever you use to do the home study about the time frame and make certain they can give you that turnaround. If you’re starting to spread the word about adoption, it is a good idea to have your home study ready. The only downside is that they do expire. In most states they expire in 12 months, although they last a little longer in a few states. Renewing an adoption home study is usually less expensive and less time consuming. You and this prospective birth mother also must become educated on open adoption so you can decide on what degree of openness you both want and how to structure your future relationship. Creating a Family has tons of resources on open adoption to help educate you.
- Combining Children by Birth and Adoption (1 hour radio show)
- Blended Families: Combining Kids Through Birth and Adoption (video)
- Top Ten Tips for Blending Children by Birth and Adoption
- Recommended Books to Prepare Children for the Adoption of a Sibling
- Tips for Preparing Children for a New Adopted Sibling