Avenues for Adoption

Many people have asked me “how do you find an adoptable child?”  There are many options in which a family can pursue adoption. You as potential adoptive parents will have to decide which route is best for your family. David and I tried two different avenues in our pursuit of growing our family.

The first thing we tried was the local Foster to Adopt Program. We went to training, had our home study done, and accepted several placements. One of the issues with Foster to Adopt Programs is that some counties believe in reconciling the biological family no matter the situation. This frame of mind has kept many children in foster care for years when they could have been adopted. Some children go back and forth from being home to being in foster care for years before the courts will revoke parents rights. Even if the social worker says, “This child will be adoptable”, you can not count on it happening because of the complex laws involving termination of parent rights. While I agree with these laws in general, I disagree with the continued extension of the biological parents timelines for completing their case plan. For example, with one child the case plan was in place for 15 months. When the biological parent went to court to show progress on the plan they had done NOTHING, the judge then extended the plan for another 12 months. This decision locked the child  who had already been in foster care for 15 months into the system for at least another 12 months which is not fair to the child. If a parent really wants to parent they will work the plan and not show up to court having completed nothing. I have seen parents show up to court with completed case plans, which then allows reunification to take place which in some cases is good and in others it is not good.

As foster parents in many counties, you will be expected to open your home not only to children who are cleared for adoption, but you will be expected to open your home to children who have a reunification plan in place. During our three years of working with our Local Foster to Adopt program we had many placements and everyone of them had reunification plans in place. At no time did we ever receive a placement for a child who was slated to be placed for adoption.  However, we do know of several other couples who successfully adopted from the Foster to Adopt Program during that same time period. While this avenue of adoption did not work for us we do hope that we were able to make a difference in the lives of the children who called our house home during the time they were with us.

Once we decided that the Foster to Adopt Program was not working for us we decided to use an adoption facilitator. We met a couple who attend our church who had previously adopted and had opened a facilitation firm. We talked with them and signed up to have them work with us on our adoption. The thing you need to know about adoption facilitators is that they are NOT legal in every state. Facilitators help with paperwork completion, family profile books, networking with agencies, and many other adoption related issues. The good thing about facilitators is that they have contact with adoption agencies all over the place and you are not tied to one agency. Our profile was sent out to several agencies which meant more potential birth mothers were able to consider placing with our family. We signed with our facilitator in Oct of 2007 and our placement of Madilyn occurred on July 1, of 2008. Placement took 9 months from start to finish. Placement time can be shorter or longer, each adoption situation is different.

If you use a facilitator you will eventually have to sign with an adoption agency. Before accepting a placement with an agency you should do some research to determine if the agency is reputable or if they have used unethical or shady adoption practices. Your facilitator should have already done the research but it never hurts to look into the history and practices of the agency yourself. The last thing you want to do is sign with an agency that is not reputable.

Other methods to adopt include private, international and through attorneys. Since we did not use any of these methods I can not speak about how they work or the benefits that each option presents. I can only speak of our experience.

One Response to “Avenues for Adoption”

  1. donna says:

    Next week I will discuss the really hard decisions that come with adoption. The hardest question on all of the adoption forms what is acceptable risk for your family when it comes to health of the child.