Before you get to know an adoptive family, they have taken multiple steps towards becoming parents. Each adoption agency varies slightly in the way they do things, but most adoptive parents have been through the following steps before they meet you.
For more information on how adoptive families are screened, you can get in touch with an adoption agency today.
1. Adoptive parents seek out information and connect with an adoption professional
Many adoptive parents seek out information first before they take steps toward adoption. This can mean researching different forms of adoption, like foster care adoption and international adoption, along with private domestic adoption. (If you are choosing adoption for your baby in the United States, it is usually private domestic adoption.)
When a potential adoptive parent or family reaches out to a private domestic adoption agency, an adoption professional asks some basic questions and shares information to make sure that the potential adoptive family understands adoption and is prepared for the process.
2. Adoptive families fill out an Adoptive Family Questionnaire
Once the adoptive family has learned about the adoption process, they will fill out an adoptive family questionnaire and return it to the adoption agency they are working with. This includes information about the family and what they are comfortable with in the adoption process.
It also includes a call with the potential adoptive family. During the call, the potential adoptive family will talk through their answers with a trained adoption professional.
While this is an opportunity for adoption professionals to screen for potential issues, it is also an opportunity to find places where adoptive families could use education or conversation to be the best adoptive parents possible.
Some of the things they may discuss are:
- Questions about the family’s history
- Questions about how the family came to the decision to adopt
- Comfortability with open adoption and contact with birth parents
- The family’s budget for adoption
- Questions about adopting children in special circumstances, such as multiples, sibling groups, special needs, older children, or children who are born after a rape
3. Adoptive families undergo a home study
Potential adoptive families then go through an in-depth process called the home study. This varies slightly from state to state, but generally requires families to provide extensive documentation, undergo a background check and an in-home visit from a social worker who interviews every member of the household and checks the household for safety.
This process checks for many things, including:
- Financial ability to support a child
- Physical and mental wellness
- Relationship strength and marital/relationship issues
- Home safety
- Knowledge of the adoption process
- Reasons for wanting children
The main thing a social worker is looking for is whether or not the family is safe and prepared for a child to be welcomed into the home. The social worker determines whether to approve the potential adoptive family or not. If the family is not approved, there may be additional steps.
For small issues, like a small but necessary housing maintenance repair, the social worker may point out potential problems and return for another review once the family has corrected them. If there are major concerns, the social worker may disqualify the family from adopting, although in some cases a family can reapply for a home study and get reviewed again in the future.
4. Adoptive families complete their adoption profile
Finally, when a potential adoptive family has their home study completed and approved, they begin the process of creating an adoptive family profile that potential birth parents can view to get to know them.
The prospective adoptive families fill out questions, write letters to potential birth parents, take pictures, and will sometimes shoot videos or do interviews to share with birth parents. These are sometimes publicly available, like the adoptive family profiles here, but you can also talk to an adoption professional if you click here and get directed to great families.
5. Adoptive family profiles are shared with birth parents if they fit the birth parents’ criteria
If you connect with an adoption professional, you may receive a smaller list of adoptive families than if you seek out adoption videos or profiles online. This is because adoption specialists review your wants and needs and look for families that they think will be the best matches possible.
If you prefer a certain type or amount of contact with the family and your child, or you have special requests or needs, a social worker may have additional information about families that is not publicly available and can help you find a family that will be a great match for your situation and preferences. While families have been fully screened before this point, this may help you narrow down your choices to help you find the perfect fit for you and your baby.
Finding a family who can give your child a life full of love, comfort and opportunity is a big step in your adoption journey. That’s why adoption agencies do everything they can to make sure any family you choose is ready to bring a child into their lives. If you have more questions about the adoptive family screening process, speak with an adoption professional today.