How Does Infant Adoption Work?
Step 1: Application for Home Study
The first step to adopt a child through Adoptions Together, a program of Paths for Families, is to complete the Home Study Application. Upon approval of the application and receipt of the application and case management fee, you will be assigned a social worker, who will schedule your first interview. During this initial phase, you will gather the documentation required to complete the home study and submit the information to Adoptions Together. To be approved for an expedited process, you must have a pending placement.
Since the majority of infants that we place are Black, we strongly encourage families who are interested in adopting a Black infant to apply.
Step 2: Completing the Home Study
Home Study Process
Your social worker, who is experienced in the unique issues faced by adoptive families, will guide you through the home study process. Throughout the process, you will be asked to explore your personal expectations about parenting a child through adoption and will discuss in a more personal manner your desire to become an adoptive family. To complete the home study, there will be a series of interviews, including at least one that will occur in your home. You will provide information and documents in addition to participating in the interviews. Personal references will be contacted. You will also participate in pre-adoption trainings which explore core issues of adoption, including transracial and open adoption. When the home study process is complete, a report will be prepared. The home study report will be approved within 90 days after you have submitted the required home study documents, taken the required trainings, paid the home study fee, and completed the required interviews. Once your Home Study has been approved, you will begin the Profile Prep Phase.
Annual Updates of Home Studies
To meet state licensing regulations, your Home Study must be updated annually. An update requires medical clearances, child protective service and criminal background clearances, additional updated documents, and a home visit by a social worker. If the Home Study is not updated annually, it is considered inactive.
Step 3: Profile Prep Phase
Once your home study is approved, you will start the Profile Prep Phase of the Domestic Infant Adoption Program. While in Profile Prep, you will get access to Parent Finder, a service that will help you create your online waiting family profile and video. Your profile will be displayed on the Paths for Families website and on the Parent Finder website and can be accessed by birth parents in search of placement across the country. The fee to enter the Profile Prep Phase is $1,000. View all infant adoption fees here.
Step 4: Entering the Domestic Infant Adoption Program
Once your profile is complete and a spot opens up for you in the placement pool, you will be contacted by a member of the Domestic Infant team. They will schedule an intake meeting and invoice you for a program deposit, which is 35% of the placement fee (please review fee information). At the intake meeting, you will review and sign the Domestic Infant Program Agreement, the Domestic Infant Fee Agreement, and fill out a matching tool. Once you have paid your deposit, signed the agreement, and created your Parent Finder profile, you will join the Domestic Infant Program placement pool.
Adoptions Together maintains 30% of its placement pool for families of color.
Step 5: The Domestic Infant Placement Process
A child will be placed with you when you are selected by a birth parent to be the adoptive parents of the child. In many cases, birth parents have some requests for the type of family they choose for their child. As we rely upon the preferences of the birth parents in selecting adoptive parents, we have little control over (and cannot predict) the length of time that it may take for the placement of a child in your home. If a birth parent does not want to choose the family, we give preference to families who have been waiting the longest and is a racial match. Please note that the average wait time for the Domestic Infant Program is approximately 18-24 months.
Birth Parent Outreach
Adoptions Together accepts referrals of birth parents through extensive outreach and its contacts with hospitals, medical clinics, crisis pregnancy centers, schools; as well as clergy, medical and other professionals. The agency contracts with www.parentfinder.com to feature adoptive parent advertising on the internet. Adoptions Together recognizes the frustration families may feel during their wait for a child and we are always seeking new ways to make the wait for a child a little easier. We offer support group meetings, an e-newsletter, seminars, and social functions to use the time productively.
As you go through the home study process, you can consider your options and determine how you would like to work with Adoptions Together.
Option 1: Networking
If you choose to join the networking option, you will work with a specialized social worker after you complete your home study documents. This social worker will help you identify an agency/attorney in another state. The social worker will talk with you about your child preferences and adoption budget, revocation time periods in each state, as well as other pertinent aspects to help you choose the appropriate agency/attorney. Once your home study is approved and you begin working with your chosen agency/attorney, the Networking social worker will be available to discuss possible matches or other situations that may arise. The fee for this service is $1,050 and is valid for one year.
Option 2: Hybrid
You can choose to join the networking option to find another agency or attorney for placement and join the Adoptions Together Domestic Infant Program. This option will increase your opportunities for matching. If you choose this option, you will pay the $1,050 Networking fee when you complete your home study documents and you will pay the $1,000 Profile Prep fee when your home study is finalized. During this process, if you do receive a placement with another adoption agency, please notify the Domestic Infant team.
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