Can anyone adopt?
No. Each state has its own rules and requirements about who can adopt. Also, the rules are different for foster care/foster-adopt and private adoption.
Generally you must be mature, stable, financially secure, free of communicable diseases, free of a criminal or child abuse history and have a life expectancy that would allow you to raise the child to adulthood. You don’t need to be rich, you don’t have to own your own home, and you don’t have to be perfectly healthy. Many disabled people adopt and make wonderful parents.
How do I find out if I can adopt?
Contact an agency licensed in your area and inquire about the requirements for a home study.
How long does it take to adopt?
That figure is hard to predict and is dependent upon many factors: what race of child you are open to, what issues or exposures you are open to, what your budget is, etc. Obviously, the more you are open to, the more opportunities there will be to adopt. However, most families will adopt within 12 months.
What does it cost to adopt?
The cost can vary from nothing, if you are adopting from the state, to a high of $80,000 in some international or embryo adoption programs. You will need to research agencies carefully and decide which best fits your needs. You are paying for services on the case, not buying a child.
Who will pay for the prenatal care and delivery of the child?
Typically a mom is eligible to be covered by Medicaid, but she may also have private insurance. You will be responsible for any copays or deductibles, which are generally $0 if she has Medicaid and may be a few thousand dollars with private insurance. We will investigate the mother’s medical plan and advise you as to what to expect. Please keep in mind that the placing agency will do everything possible to ensure a mom is approved for Medicaid, but she herself has to complete the paperwork and provide the necessary documentation; we cannot do that for her.
Will my insurance cover the baby?
Yes, there is a federal law that mandates all group health plans of a certain size must cover the baby just as it would a child you gave birth to. This is interpreted in different ways by insurance companies attempting to save money, but generally means from the time of birth.
What is a “stork drop” case?
A stork drop case arises when a woman has already given birth and then decides to put her baby up for adoption.
How long do I have to ask to be presented on a case?
We typically present stork drop cases within 3-5 hours of posting and most other cases within 3-5 business days of posting. Whether or not we send more profiles out after that time is based on how many choices the mom got in the first set and whether she requests more. If a case has been posted more than 3-5 days, email the office and ask if we are sending profiles if you wish to be considered. Also, as soon as a case has a confirmed match, we will remove it.
What information will I be given on the child and birth family?
The birth mother (and father, if he is available and cooperative) will fill out a complete social-medical history on their family. It will include a physical description, education level, hobbies and interest, health exposures during this pregnancy and health issues in themselves or immediate family. This will be provided to you. Furthermore, you will often have access to the pediatrician at the hospital to ask any medical questions you may have.
If I adopt a child, can’t the mom take the child back at any time?
That is a myth and totally not true. In most states, a mother only has a few days following birth to make a final, irrevocable decision.
Can I choose the gender of the child I want to adopt?
Yes, you can, but be aware that it can greatly extend how long it takes you to adopt. Most (80-90%) of the moms will not know what gender their child is before they select a family.
What does closed, semi-open and open adoption mean?
Closed adoption means that you know nothing about the birth family and they know nothing about you. There is no contact at all. Semi-open adoption means that you and the birth family get to know each other during the pregnancy. You often talk on the phone, email or even visit and attend medical appointments. You may also spend the few days at the hospital caring for the baby together, but after placement, all contact goes through an intermediary, typically the agency. This is the most common type of adoption. In an open adoption, the birth family and adoptive family stay in communication directly after birth. This contact may be nothing more than an occasional email or Facebook exchange, or it may include periodic visits. Open adoptions are built on trust (like any relationship) and many birth families and adoptive families find they like each other so much that they often end up with an adoption far more open than originally planned.
Is an open adoption good for the child?
Absolutely! As a matter a fact, this is the biggest reason a family should have for agreeing to an open adoption. Study after study has shown that children in open adoptions are less questioning of their identity and who their family is, and they have stronger self-esteem and fewer anger issues as they get older.
Who gets to make decisions for the child? Who gets to make the rules?
You do. You are every bit that child’s parent, both in physical and legal terms. You get to set the rules and boundaries for what is best for the child. As the child grows older and reaches school age, he or she will have an opinion to contribute. You can let that opinion help guide you.
Won’t I feel like the babysitter if I agree to an open adoption?
A parent is made by the day-to-day interaction and love that is provided — the boo-boos that are bandaged, the bedtime stories that are read and the safety net that you provide. It is not made by mere biology. All adopted children have two sets of parents. That is a fact. Denying it or ignoring that fact will do nothing but cause emotional issues for your child as he or she ages. A child’s roots are best discussed openly and positively on a regular basis from the earliest ages.
What if my child’s birth mother or father has a lifestyle I don’t approve of? Do I still allow visitation?
That has to be a judgment call you as the parent has to make. However, poor lifestyles don’t necessarily rule out a visit. Many times birth families are in tough places; many are facing drug or alcohol issues or have made poor life choices. If that were not true, there would be no need for you to parent the child. No birth family WANTS to place their child for adoption, but the rare birth family will step up and do so because they know it is best for the child. You can still allow your child to know his or her birth family without exposing them to unhealthy situations; perhaps you can meet in public restaurants or parks. It is important for your child to know the love of his first family to feel healthy and whole.
Can I adopt through foster care?
The answer is yes, but it is fairly complex. In a bid to gain more families willing to foster children, states have begun to solicit families for foster-adopt programs. This means that if the child becomes legally free to adopt, they are given first option. Keep in mind though that only about 20% of cases entering care ever become free for adoption for a variety of reasons. In reality, that leaves very few children available for outright adoption. Most of those children are older than 5 or part of a sibling group. Reunification must be the primary goal of foster parents; permanent adoption must be second.
What happens when a child is removed from his or her primary caregiver?
The state’s first priority is safety of the child. Once that is secured, they will work with what needs to be done to reunite the child with his or her caregiver (be it a parent, grandparent, etc.). This involves a case plan for correcting deficiencies in order for the child to be returned. Things like safe housing, food, drug rehabilitation, parenting classes, etc. The parents will generally work through their case plan over a 12- to 18-month period but that time frame can often be longer if the caregiver is making an effort.
In the meantime, the child will be cared for by either a family member or a foster family. The child will have visitation with their caregivers and will often have their own counseling to attend. The foster family is responsible for meeting those needs.
Where will the child be placed when removed from his or her caregiver?
Social services will look for a suitable relative for placement. If that is not an option, they will then look for a foster home in the surrounding community. Studies have shown that a removal is less traumatic for a child if there is consistency, thus a placement with a relative or someone in the community is best. That way they can attend the same school, church, etc. Community-based care has become an important factor in recruitment of homes for children.
What happens if the parents don’t meet their case plan?
The state will then move toward terminating the parental rights and freeing the child for adoption. Relatives are always considered as a first option and the foster family as a second. If neither of those are an alternative, they will move to the general public for adoptive resources.
Am I paid for foster care?
Yes, each state has a monthly stipend to provide for a child in foster care. The stipend can be paid to the relative or a private foster home. The child will also be eligible for state Medicaid (medical insurance) which will include the cost of counseling, etc.
Does the payment continue if I adopt the child?
That is difficult to call. Sometimes yes and sometimes no. In the harsh economic realities, social service agencies are being pushed to place children without subsidies. You can negotiate the subsidy payments as well as the insurance, but if the child is sought after by many families for adoption, they will most likely place the child with a family who doesn’t require the subsidy.
Why would I want to be a foster parent then?
In James 1:27 God calls us to care for widows and orphans. The bottom line is one should foster because it is the right thing to do. Children are not disposable. If they are not brought into a loving family, that is what we are doing with them – throwing them away. It has been proven again and again that even the most abused and neglected children can love and lead productive lives if given enough patience and love. A parent’s love is unique in that it is never-ending and unconditional. Often in the case of these children though, they have not had that foundational experience. These children need to be loved as our Father loves us.
If I don’t feel up to fostering for whatever reason, what can I do to help?
Not everyone can be a full-time parent, but there is much you can do to assist. You can become approved to do respite (weekend care to give the foster parents a break). You can offer to make meals for a foster family or buy clothes or toys for a child in care. You can give gifts on birthdays or holidays, plan a birthday party for a child in care, or decorate a child’s room if you are creative or artistic. You can be a mentor to a primary caregiver and offer her support and guidance as well as rides to her parenting classes, court dates, etc., especially because transportation can often be a real road block for many of these caregivers. There are many creative ways that you can help that do not involve full-time parenting or a large financial commitment.
Is surrogacy legal?
Yes! In many states surrogacy is legal, but it is important that you work within the laws of a “safe” state and that you pick the correct kind of surrogacy arrangement.
Is there more than one type of surrogacy arrangement?
Yes, traditional and gestational.
And the differences are?
Why would anyone even do a traditional surrogacy arrangement then?
The cost is lower. Traditional surrogacy arrangements can be done with simpler medical procedures (IUI).
What would be the advantage of doing a surrogacy arrangement vs. adopting a child?
The biggest reason is that there are fewer children available for adoption every year. The other reason is that the potential parents have more say and control over who carries their child, what kind of lifestyle she leads, as well as the prenatal care she receives.
The biggest disadvantage is, once again, cost. Surrogacy is generally more expensive than adoption, but the cost is coming down as the cost of medical fertility treatments decrease.
Can we pick the woman who carries our child?
Yes, you can, but she also picks you. Most reputable agencies and attorneys do a thorough study of both the potential parents and the potential carrier. This not only protects both parties but more importantly protects the child.
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