Frequently Asked Questions
The first step in any adoption is a Family Assessment, also known as a homestudy. Families must be approved through the Family Assessment process before a child can be placed in their home for adoption.
The Family Assessment involves a series of meetings between the family and an adoption worker. Training regarding adoption process and common issues in adoption will also be required before or during the assessment process. During the assessment, your social worker will talk with you about your motivations and expectations for adoption. It also gives the adoption worker a chance to get to know your family.
This process usually takes three to six months to complete, depending on factors such as worker caseload and family cooperation. Assessments are typically prioritized based on the types of children waiting and the characteristics of families who have applied. The process typically consists of a number of meetings at the home as well as personal interviews. The study generally includes the following:
Social History – A complete history and evaluation of your current family life and past experiences – and how they will affect your capacity to parent an adoptive child – is written.
Health Statements – All household members will need to provide a medical history and a recent physical (within one year).
Criminal Background Check/Fingerprinting – Applicants will need to complete a state police check, Protective Service clearance, fingerprinting (effective 1/1/08) and a local police clearance. A state police check and Protective Service clearance will also be required for all other adults in the home.
Income Statement – Applicants will be required to provide proof of your income, such as a copy of an income tax form, a paycheck stub, or a W-2 form.
Personal References – You will be asked to provide the names, addresses, and phone numbers of three unrelated individuals who can share their knowledge about your experience with children, the stability of your marriage and/or household, and your motivation to adopt.
Be sure to choose an agency you feel comfortable with. The Family Assessment process can feel intrusive, so it is important that you trust the people you work with. Your agency will become your strongest ally and advocate in this process.
The assessment process typically takes about 120 days. This is very much dependent on the family’s willingness and ability to turn in all required paperwork in a timely fashion. Once you are approved for adoption, the matching process can take anywhere from a week to several years, depending on your interests and the children we have available at any given time.
The legal process for adoption also ranges in length from six months to over a year depending on several factors. Please join us for an adoption orientation to learn more about all three of these processes!
Yes! We will give you all of the information we have on the child prior to a first meeting. You will have the opportunity to look over the file and develop questions. We will then set up a meeting for you to meet with other adults who know the child well such as adoption worker, foster care worker, therapist, teacher, foster parent and/or possible relatives. You will ask all of your questions and get to learn more before we set up an initial meeting.
Legacy Adoption Services has a Post Adoption Resource Program that families may access prior to the adoption finalizing as well as any time after the adoption occurs. This program provides in home therapy for children and families and referrals to appropriate resources for additional needs. We also have a monthly Support Group available virtually for adoptive families and their children. If your concern/crisis is beyond the scope of the LAS program, we can refer you to the state PARC program. This program also supports adoptive families post adoption and has additional resources and capabilities.
No. Because foster care is considered to be a temporary placement, it is not a good idea to become a foster parent with the expectation that you’ll be able to adopt any child placed in your care. A foster parent is expected to work with the agency and birth parents, in the hopes that the family will be reunited. A foster parent must be objective, and must be able to let go of a child if and when it comes time for that child to leave the foster home.
Sometimes, however, children are unable to return home. Once parental rights are terminated, relatives and foster parents are given consideration for adoption. This is why there are very few young children available for adoption.
Adoptive parents always have the right and responsibility to determine the individuals their children see and interact with. Children awaiting adoption from the foster care system have usually been made available because of court ordered termination of parental rights. Once their rights are terminated, birth parents have no right to maintain contact with their biological child. However, contact with appropriate family members after adoption is strongly encouraged when it is in the child(s) best interest.
Many of our children have siblings who have been adopted by other families or grandparents, aunts or uncles with whom they have a strong relationship. It may be important to the child’s well-being that those relationships continue.