Questions and Answers for Adoptive Parents
What is involved in adoption?
Adoption is the process by which an individual or couple becomes the legal parents of a child who is not biologically related to them. Before someone can adopt, they need to be approved for an adoption placement through a suitable home study. Once approved, a child can be placed with them. The adoption is finalized through a court hearing. AdoptionLife.org can assist adoptive parents in every step of the adoption process.
Learn more about the adoption process with this step-by-step guide.
What is an adoption home study?
The adoption process usually starts with an adoption home study. A home study includes (1) interviews of the adoptive parents by a mental health professional, (2) a criminal background check, (3) collection of references, and (4) an inspection of the adoptive parents’ home. AdoptionLife.org can assist in all aspects of an adoption home study.
Learn more about the home study process and how to prepare for it.
Can someone with a criminal record adopt?
Some crimes are so serious that they disqualify a parent from ever adopting. Child abuse or neglect are examples. For lesser crimes, however, a home study may still approve individuals for adoption if it can be shown that the criminal activity or other bad behavior was in the distant past or was the product of youth and immaturity. The professionals at AdoptionLife.org can advise whether one’s background disqualifies them from adoption.
Is training required to adopt a child?
The training requirements for adoptive parents vary from state to state and the type of adoption. Generally, parents considering the adoption of a child in State custody must undergo the most intensive training, as the likelihood is greater that they will be adopting a child with special needs. Such parents must attend a series of classes dedicated to various aspects of parenting. At the other extreme, in many states, parents involved in the private placement of an infant for adoption do not need to have any training.
The philosophy of AdoptionLife.org is that parents seeking to adopt a child should have some training regarding child development, bonding and attachment, and parenting skills. In fact, such training is a good idea for all parents. AdoptionLife.org assists prospective adoptive parents to get the training they need, and it includes the costs of that training in its program fee. It also makes sure that the training meets state standards.
A professional with AdoptionLife.org can assist prospective adoptive parents in receiving the training they need and want in order to adopt a child.
How do adoptive parents identify a child to adopt?
Friends, family members, acquaintances, adoption agencies, attorneys, and advertising have all been effective in helping expectant parents considering an adoption placement for their child connect with hopeful adoptive parents. AdoptionLife.org utilizes a service that will maximize the chances that a biological parent will learn of adoptive parents and their desire to adopt. This service involves getting the name and profile of hopeful adoptive parents in places where biological parents are looking for adoption answers. AdoptionLife.org assists adoptive parents to best present themselves for success in adoption.
Can fraud by birth parents be prevented?
Prospective adoptive parents will commonly go to great lengths to identify a child to adopt. This may include providing financial assistance and gifts to potential birth parents and giving abundant praise and recognition. These efforts, while laudatory, also make them easy targets for fraud.
There are individuals who seek to defraud prospective adoptive parents.
Some who do this seek a financial reward. They generally ask for money to pay expenses, creating an expectation that they will place their child with that couple. A birth parent who engages in this type of fraud may not be pregnant at all. If pregnant, they might seek assistance with no intention of ever placing the child for adoption. Finally, some will seek assistance from multiple families or agencies.
Other fraudulent expectant parents seek only attention. They enjoy the praise they receive for considering adoption. These parents may or may not be pregnant, but they have no intention of placing a child for adoption.
There is no guaranteed method to prevent fraud. There are, however, ways to minimize the risks. Pregnancy can be confirmed with a licensed
professional. Simple background checks can be used to determine whether a person is who they say they are. Financial support can be limited and allocated in a manner to ensure that it is properly used. Odd or unusual behavior can be identified and addressed.
The professionals at AdoptionLife.org assist prospective adoptive parents on how to avoid being subject to fraud.
Can birth parents change their mind?
In most situations, a parent cannot make a final or binding decision to place their child for adoption until after the child is born. This is universally true for mothers and commonly the case for fathers. Therefore, until the child is born, prospective adoptive parents must anticipate that birth parents can change their mind.
Once the baby is born and placed for adoption, birth parents are limited. In most states, birth parents must wait for a period of time (usually between one and five days) to sign a final consent or relinquishment document. In many States, they cannot change their mind after signing. In others, they have a limited time to change their mind, although it may be as many as thirty days. An adoption professional with AdoptionLife.org can assist prospective adoptive parents in determining when a birth parent can no longer change their mind.
Of course, if a birth parent’s consent is the result of undue influence, duress or misrepresentations, it may not be valid. Prospective adoptive parents should not, therefore, lie to or seek to force birth parents to place a child for adoption.
Can adoptive parents provide financial assistance to birth parents?
Generally, they can. Prospective adoptive parents, however, must take care to avoid violating the law and putting an adoption at risk.
Every state has laws which prohibit the sale of a child and impose criminal penalties for someone who does. Thus, parents cannot be paid for an adoption or their consent to an adoption. They can, however, generally be reimbursed for medical, legal and living expenses. Any reimbursement should be reasonable and related in some way to the pregnancy. If possible, it is best to pay third parties directly for expenses rather than making payments directly to birth parents. Additionally, many states have limits on how much can be paid or that require court approval for payments.
An AdoptionLife.org professional can assist in providing financial assistance to birth parents.
How much does adoption cost?
According to the most recent survey from Adoptive Families Magazine which surveyed 1,500 about their adoption costs, the majority of domestic newborn adoptions cost between $20,000 and $40,000.
Learn more about affording adoption.
Does an attorney need to be involved?
For an adoption to be secure, it is best to involve an attorney with experience in adoption-related issues. An adoption done improperly can involve both emotional and financial hardship. Thus, doing it properly with qualified professionals is advised.
Can a biological father be excluded from the adoption process?
Ideally, children are placed for adoption with the consent of both their father and mother. But not all adoptions are ideal. Sometimes, the identity of the father is unknown. In other situations, nobody knows where he is. Other fathers are known but want nothing to do with either the child or an adoption. And some children are fathered through rape.
Prospective adoptive parents must recognize that fathers generally have some rights. If they desire, they can assert their parental rights and prevent an adoption from taking place. Thus, fathers cannot simply be ignored. In most cases, it is best to involve them in the adoption process or at least reach out to them and allow them an opportunity to be involved.
If a father is truly unknown, absent or unfit (including rapists), there are ways to deal with their rights. These differ from state to state, so it is wise to consult with professionals. An AdoptionLife.org professional can assist in dealing with fathers’ rights.
Are birth parents involved in a child’s life following adoption?
This depends on what the birth parents and adoptive parents want and decide before the adoption placement. It is common for birth parents to have an ongoing relationship with adoptive parents. These relationships may be as simple as regular exchanges of information or more involved, with regular contact between birth and adoptive parents. AdoptionLife.org can assist parents to reach an agreement on open adoption and provide lifetime support of that agreement.
Is open adoption right for you? Learn more!