Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is adoption?
A: Adoption is the permanent, legal transfer of all parental rights from one person or couple to another person or couple. Adoptive parents have the same rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them, and adopted children have all the emotional, social, legal and kinship benefits of birth children. There are several ways to adopt a child: through a public agency, private agency or attorney.
Q: Who can be an adoptive parent?
A: Single or married. If you are married, you must have been married for at least 2 years. You may own or rent your home, as long as it meets the size requirements for your state. Ages vary from state to state, but general age bracket is age 21 to age 55. No felony convictions-this can also include drunk driving and drug issues. Any race or religion.
Q: What types of adoption are available?
A: The main type of adoption is: adopt a child from the U.S foster care system.
Q: What are the qualifications to adopt? Do adoptive parents have to be the same race or have the same ethnic background as the child they adopt? Do they have to be married and be within an age range? Do they have to have a certain income level?
A: If you adopt from foster care, the answer is no to all the above. Families are as diverse as the children who are available for adoption. If you adopt internationally or with an attorney or private agency, parents are typically under 40, married for at least three years and financially stable.
Q: What qualities are important for parents who adopt?
A: Traits like flexibility, patience, good problem solving skills and a willingness to identify local community resources are all critical. Children don’t need perfect parents, just loving individuals willing to meet the unique challenges of parenting and make a lifetime commitment to caring for and nurturing them.
Q: What is the adoption process?
A: The social worker will walk you through the process. In all cases a homestudy and background check will be needed. In addition, adoption preparation classes are required for foster care adoption.
Q: What is a homestudy?
A: A homestudy is an in-depth application and interview process with a social worker that involves in person interviews, reference checks, background checks and home visits. The study is not standardized and may vary from state to state and agency to agency. The average homestudy usually takes three to six months to complete.
Q: How much does adoption cost?
A: The cost of adoption varies depending upon a number of factors, such as the type of adoption, the agency through which you work, the state where you live, attorney fees and whether travel is required. Foster care adoption can cost $0-$2,500, while independent or international adoption might cost $7,000 to $40,000+.
Q: How long does the adoption process take?
A: There are many variables that determine how long it will take to complete the adoption process, such as whether adoption preparation classes are required, the length of time to complete the homestudy and the length of time to identify a child for your family. On average, the adoption process may take one to two years.
Q: Who are the children in foster care?
A: Children in foster care were removed from their families due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. The child might live temporarily with extended family, a foster family or in a group home while social workers try to help the birth family. If the birth family’s problems can’t be resolved, the agency that has custody of the child goes to court to legally terminate parental rights. At this point, social workers try to find a safe and loving adoptive family for the child. Ages range from infant to early adulthood, although the average age is eights. Virtually every race, ethnic group and socio-economic category is represented. Some children are waiting alone and others are waiting with siblings.
Q: What do I do next?
A: There are several step-by-step instructions to help you through the adoption process.