Once you have made the decision to adopt a baby , where do you start ? There is a myriad of confusing information out there , and making the wrong decisions or missteps will cost you valuable time and money, so Forever After Adoptions has put together a step by step guide to get you on the RIGHT road to adopting. 1. Get a home study. 2. Put together a Parent Profile. 3. Network to find a child to adopt. 4. Explore the laws. 5. Hire an adoption professional. 6. Interstate Compact. 7. Finalize adoption.
- Get a Home Study .The first thing that you will need to do once you have made the decision to proceed with adopting a baby is to get a home study done. This can be done by a state licensed adoption agency in the state that you live in . DO NOT HIRE THE AGENCY FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN COMPLETING YOUR HOME STUDY. Most people naturally think that hiring a local adoption agency is the first step in adopting . Unfortunately , many agencies are closing due to lack of eligible children that are adoptable. Once you have paid them , you are at their mercy as most are nonrefundable. Protect yourself and if you are contacted by an agency statin g that they have a child that would be a good potential match for you , ask them if the fee is refundable if the situation does not work out , and ask them why they are not giving the situation to one of the families that has already hired them .The home study is a detailed report that signals that you are capable of parenting a child. It consists of a criminal background check , social history , financial repost and an inspection of your home. If you are seeking to adopt a child, this is a necessary first step. A home study can range in price from $1000- $2500 . It is usually good for a year and , if you have not adopted within that period, will need to be “updated ” ..there is usually a small fee involved in an update.
- Put Together a Parent Profile . A parent profile is going to be one of the main marketing tools that you use in your quest to locate a child to adopt. If you do an online search you will find many examples. We suggest that you make an online profile on WIX.com . This is a free website building site. Once completed, you can send the link to potential birth mothers
- Network to Find a Child to Adopt. Now that you have your home study under way , it is time for the most difficult part . Finding a baby to adopt in the United States is not usually an easy task. Long term birth control and other social issues have created an atmosphere of an all time low birthrate. With more people putting off having children until later in life, the rate of infertility has seen a sharp increase in recent years. In addition , single women are more likely to keep a child these days if they are experiencing a pregnancy out of wedlock. There are many ways to network. You can start a facebook page with your profile attached and request that your friends help you spread the word. You can contact attorneys and agencies throughout the country and request that they keep you in mind for situations that they need families for. You can check our site under AVAILABLE ADOPTION SITUATIONS . You can also send us contact form requesting a referral to one of our attorney or agency client /associates that will have access to our birth mother referrals.
- Explore the Laws in the State that you are Adopting From. Now that you have been chosen by a birth mother to adopt her child, you will need to explore different avenues regarding the legal method of adopting that will be required. There are two different avenues . One is through an attorney . This is where the birth mother will sign a consent allowing you to adopt her child. The other method is through a state licensed adoption agency. With an agency , the mother signs a relinquishment . Essentially she is relinquishing her child to the agency . Some states require that an agency be involved. They do not allow attorneys to do adoptions. Some states will allow either, but there are different guidelines for each. For example, a consent may not be able to be signed until 5 days after the birth , and she then has another 30 days to change her mind and revoke the consent , whereas a relinquishment can be taken 48 hours after the birth and cannot be revoked. In some states, like Texas, an attorney can handle the adoption UNLESS there are any living expenses to be paid to the birth mother. If so , the state will require an agency.
- Hire an Attorney or Agency in the State in which you are Adopting. Once you have researched the options in the state where your child will be born , and have made a decision as to which is the best route, you will need to retain an agency or attorney in that state. We recommend that if you are hiring an attorney , that you find someone that specializes in the field of adoption . The most highly acclaimed adoption attorneys in the United States can be found HERE. We recommend that you speak to the attorney about what financial risks would be involved in the event that the mother changes her mind about placement . Make sure that you are not entering an agreement that does not give any kind of a refund of unused legal fees in that event.
- Interstate Compact. Or ICPC as it is commonly called, is the agreement between the state that your baby is born and the state that you live in . It is necessary to get the approval of the “leaving ” state and the “welcoming ” state in order for you to bring your baby home. You may be fortunate in that your child was born in a state like Arkansas where you have actually finalized your adoption in the state of Arkansas 10 days after the consent was taken . If not , you will need to wait in the state in which your child was born until you have ICPC clearance. This usually takes 7 to 10 days.
- Finalize the Adoption. The state that the baby was born in may offer finalization to out of state adopting families. California is an example of a state that allows this. The attorney will file the adoption petition with the court , and you generally do not have to appear. It can be finalized via a telephone conference. This will probably be less expensive than having to retain a second attorney in the state that you are living in to finalize there . Keep in mind though that not all states will allow you to finalize there if you are not a resident.
We hope that you have found the above guide to be helpful. We at Forever After Adoptions receive calls daily from potential adopting families that call us and lament that they have been waiting for years to adopt , and that they are unable to proceed with a service that has birth mother situations available because they hired an agency that demanded all of their money up front and they do not give refunds. Some of these services have been around for many years and they may have had good results at one time, but the face of adoption is quickly changing , and although they may have good intentions, most of them are unable to fulfill the dreams of all of the adopting families that they have taken on in a reasonable time.