HOW DOES ADOPTION WORK?
Building Arizona Families understands the fears experienced by adoptive parents as they begin the adoption process.
Whether you have struggled with infertility, have biological children and want to expand your family, or have the desire to make a difference in the life a parent-less child, adoption can be a very rewarding option to consider.
Below you will find some general information about what the adoption process entails. The basic steps of the adoption process are as follows:
+ Choose the type of adoption
+ Select Hague Accredited agency or Hague Accredited attorney (if choosing International Adoption)
+ Complete a home study
+ Wait for a placement or referral
+ Finalize the adoption
What is the first step in the adoption process?
You will need to decide whether to adopt through a private or public agency. As you examine these options, you will discover that there are advantages and disadvantages to each, so take your time and be thorough in your research.
What should I expect when I call?
The agency may invite you to attend an orientation. The information given at orientation is very valuable. They will discuss their process in detail as well as give you an opportunity to ask specific questions, obtain their fee schedule, and meet other families considering adoption. It is a good idea to attend more than one agency’s orientation to compare procedures and philosophies and get a sense of which agency you will be most comfortable working with. When the orientation is complete, you will leave with an application to complete and return with an application or registration fee.
What is a "home study?"
After the agency has reviewed and accepted your application for adoption, you will need to complete a home study. The main goal of the home study is to evaluate the environment the child will be raised in and to help the adoptive parents prepare for parenting and the arrival of the child. There are several different ways to meet this state requirement. Your agency will advise you as to their preferred method. The assessment will include two or more visits with a social worker, at least one of which will take place in your home, and possibly some educational classes with other adoptive families. You will also be required to have a physical exam, fingerprints, and a background check. The average time for completion of the home study is approximately three months.
How long will we have to wait for a child?
The waiting period varies depending on several factors. If you are adopting a Caucasian newborn, many agencies have a waiting list of two to five years. This is due in part to the fact that adoptive parents and birthmothers are matched according to the requirements of both the adoptive parents and the birthmothers. Adopting a child of another race may reduce the waiting period significantly. International adoptions may take a year or more depending on the requirements of the foreign country.
When is the adoption finalized?
After the parental rights of the birthparents have been terminated, the child has been in the home for at least six months, and the social worker has submitted a recommendation for approval, a judge will finalize the adoption by awarding the adoptive parents all legal rights and responsibilities. This final step will vary with international adoptions as there are additional legal processes required, including those of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.