I’ve met those who have been curious about the adoption process and some who are interested in perhaps pursuing adoption, but feel overwhelmed. I’m not an expert, but I’m an advocate for adoption and I am happy to share our experience if it can help anyone in any way. Keep in mind, this is just our domestic/local adoption experience with our agency (the process varies state to state and agency to agency). We’re still in the thick of it so I’ll continually update this post as we move through the process.
- Agency Info Sessions
- Preliminary Application
- Formal Application
- Adoptive Parent Training
- Home Study Stage – includes Packet/Paperwork and Home Visits
- Birth Certificates
- Marriage Certificate
- Last 1040
- Individual Questionnaires
- HIPPA forms
- Discipline Policy
- Marriage History
- Family History
- FBI Fingerprinting/Background Checks
- Child Abuse and Neglect Info Request
- Other States Lived in Form
- WATCH disclosure and release
- FBI Fingerprinting and criminal history check
- CPR/First Aid Training Certificate
- Physicals and Physician’s Reports
- Financial Worksheet
- Insurance Information
- Pet Vaccination History & Vet Reference
- Adoptive Parent Training Log
- Release of Information
- Adoption Release and Consent Form
- Openness Covenant
- 4 Friends (no relatives)
- Counselor – if applicable
- Older child(ren) – if applicable
- Home Study Visits (3 total for our agency, one includes a walk through of our home)
- Complete Safety Walk Through Checklist
- Create Profile Book
- Write Expectant Parent Letters (4 Letters total. Robbie and I each write one letter to the expectant mother and one to the expectant father.)
- Home Study Approved – Enter Waiting Pool. Once we are “active,” we will provide several copies of our Profile Book and the expectant parent letters. Now we wait to be matched/chosen!
- Matched/Chosen by expectant family!
- Post-Placement Report
- 3 post-placement in-home assessments and reports
(Please note that there are a lot of other things that happen in between, but these are the main stages and milestones.)
When we first started considering adoption, we hit up good ol’ Google to find out what our options were. We had an idea that we wanted to pursue a domestic infant adoption so I went online and looked for agencies in the Portland metro area.
Timeline: This part didn’t take too long. We found several agencies we wanted to look into and scheduled times to attend their information sessions.
***Agency Info Sessions
We did an internet search for local agencies in the area and we were able to narrow it down to a handful we wanted to visit. Agencies usually have a monthly information session that you can attend to learn more about them. The agency we ended up choosing actually only offered one-on-one meetings with the social worker so we set up a meeting with her. All the other agencies had group info meetings.
Timeline: We scheduled meetings with four agencies over the course of 6 weeks, before Thanksgiving and into the New Year. We hoped to pick an agency by the beginning of January so we could start the year off officially pursuing adoption.
This was a simple application that we filled out to show our interest.
This was the official application (more in depth than the preliminary one) and there was a fee required. Once our formal application was approved, our agency sent us the home study packet. They also had an upcoming group training (2 days after we were approved!). The next one wasn’t till spring.
Fees: A fee is due at the time of application.
Adoptive parent training and there also was a fee. We traveled up to Seattle for this. It was an all day training and we loved it! You can read more about it here.
Fees: A fee is due for this training.
Timeline: It’s an all day training. Additional hours are required that you complete on your own time.
***Home Study Packet aka Background Checks, All Sorts of Checks, & Lots of Paperwork!!
Adoption is a very paperwork driven process. Lots and lots of paperwork as you can see from the list I provided above. There are also things that need to be scheduled like fingerprinting, physicals, and CPR/First Aid training. Some of the forms and questionnaire were very in-depth too (pages upon pages) and they get pretty personal.
Fees: The home study fee is due before you can start the home study process. You also have to pay for trainings, fingerprinting, etc.
***(During the Home Study Stage – Create Profile Book)
During the home study stage, you should be working on your profile book and expectant parent letters. The profile book will be presented to expectant mothers and it’s their first impression of you. Our agency requires 7 copies. (This can add up! Those things can be spendy.)
Fees: You have to pay for your books.
***Home Study Visits
Our agency requires 3 home study visits. I’m blogging about our home visits so you’ll be able to read more about each one specifically. The couple is interviewed together and separately and there will also be a thorough walk through of the home. We had to make sure we could meet all the things required on the safety checklist (we needed carbon monoxide detectors, fireplace screen, first aid kit, etc, etc).
Once the home visits are complete, the social worker will create a writeup or report about 20-30 pages long. It will include all the information about us and our home that she’s learned through the interviews and the walk through.
Timeline: Our social worker said the report generally takes her 3-4 weeks. Once this is complete and our home study is approved, we are ready to become “active” and enter the waiting pool!
***Enter the Waiting Pool – Wait to be Matched/Chosen
Once your home study is approved, you must pay the Waiting Pool fee in order to become “active.” Once we pay this fee (it’s the largest one out of the process), we will enter the waiting pool and our profile will be available for expectant mothers to view. From there, an expectant mother can ask to meet us and if she likes us, she can choose us! If we agree to proceed, we are then considered “matched”! It’s very possible that your book is viewed many times, you even meet with the expectant family, and you are not selected. This may happen repeatedly. It’s also very possible that this only happens a few times and you are chosen right away! We hope for the latter. 😉 Another scenario is when an expectant mother is at the hospital (never having worked with an agency) and chooses adoption then and there. The hospital then contacts an agency. If it’s our agency, our agency will provide the expectant mother with a few profile books of families that seem like a good match. She will then pick and the agency will contact a family and let them know they have a baby! There’s also the situation when the expectant mother decides to parent the child once the child is born (or before then), which is very much her right. This is her child. In these moments where she changes her mind, couples are often left heartbroken as they’ve become very vested and attached. It’s an extremely emotional process. The wait for “the call” can be torture in itself. So as you can see, anything can happen once you enter the waiting pool and you have to prepared for that. Some wait weeks, some wait months, some wait a year or more. Adoption is one crazy, amazing adventure!
Fees: The Waiting Pool fee ($$$$$) is due before you can become active and enter the pool.
(This is the point we’re currently at! We met our Stage 1 fundraising goal on 5-6-16 and became an official, active waiting family on 5-9-16. Thank you for all your generosity and support! And now we wait…)
***You’re Chosen aka Matched!
7-19-16: WE’VE BEEN MATCHED! Baby girl is due late September 2016. We can’t wait to meet our little Hazel! Read more here: Match Blog Post
10-3-16: BABY HAZEL HAS BEEN PLACED WITH US AND SHE IS OUR DAUGHTER! Read more here: Hazel is Here!
Fees: The Placement fee (2nd largest fee) is due when you are placed with your child.
More to come…
More to come…
Fees: There is a fee and it is to be paid at the same time as the Placement fee.