What Steps Are Involved In The Process?
Many agencies require applicants to attend a group orientation meeting before an application can be made. At this meeting, a representative of the agency explains the agency and its application process. After the group meeting, the prospective parents can better decide whether to further pursue application with that agency. If you are not comfortable with everything about the agency, you should look elsewhere.
Once the application is made, the agency may proceed with a home study. During the home study, the applicant is interviewed by a social worker employed or contracted by the agency. These interviews often require 2 to 4 sessions. You should expect that the social worker will visit your home at least once during the home study. You may be expected to submit a written autobiography or provide written answers to questions. Some agencies may require a few photos of your family, home and surroundings. This process will help the social worker get to know you and determine the appropriate child for your family. Training classes are required for most adoptions and vary by domestic and international adoption. Ten hours are required internationally
After the completion of the home study comes the hardest part of the adoption process — the wait. The length of your wait depends on which agency you select and whether you are doing a domestic or international adoption. Do not be afraid to contact your social worker periodically during the wait, to let him/her know that you are still there, and still want a child. Other adoptive parents are a tremendous support during this time, as they have all been there themselves. It is reassuring to talk to someone who has actually received a child!
After what may seem like an eternity, a call will come saying that there is a child for you. Just when and how the placement is actually done depends on the agency, and by what the social worker feels will provide the best transition for the child. In some cases, several meetings with the child may occur before he or she is placed in your home.
After the placement is made, the social worker will keep in contact with you to see that the child is adjusting well to his/her new family, and assist the family in dealing with any issues that may arise. Remember that your social worker is there to help you, even after your adoption is finalized. She/He works with you as a team, helping with the bonding process and is willing to work with you if issues do develop. Don’t be afraid to call your social worker if problems arise, the social worker’s goal is to help the make the adoption successful.
Once the child has been in the adoptive home for several months, the agency will consent to formal adoption proceedings through the court. This procedure, due to changing laws, is usually performed by an attorney. In international adoptions, the country sets a specific length of time for post placement visits and reports, usually 6 – 12 months.