What are some adoption procedures to know about?
It's a fairly complicated process, what processes do I need to know?
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edited November 7
The adoption journey can be quite the journey! You are right that it really is a complicated process. However, the process happens in stages, making it a little more linear and easier to navigate in that sense. Here are some of the major steps that you need to know about.
After you have joined on with an agency or adoption attorney, you will undergo a home study. This process is essentially a study of you and your life. It will include a FBI criminal background check for you, your partner if applicable, and anyone in your home over the age of 18. You will also experience typically multiple home visits by a licensed social worker. Part of these visits will be a safety audit of your home. This ensures that your home is safe to bring a child into checking things like ammo and gun storage, fire safety, evacuation routes, etc. Your visits will also include interviews with any adoptive parent and your family members. The worker may ask questions about your childhood, how you plan to discipline, why you are adopting, and also answer any questions you may have. They may also require that you create a biography about yourself before these visits. Another aspect of the home study process is the education portion. This is education about adoption and bringing up an adopted child. It may cover child rearing issues as well as multi-cultural topics. Once this process is complete, the social worker will draft a report to file with the courts. Note that the social worker is not there to "fail" anyone, only to ensure that you are prepared to adopt a child and make sure that any issues are addressed before you bring your child home. Unless there are glaring issues with safety, criminal background, etc, it is likely that the process will proceed favorably.
ICPC stands for the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children. This compact allows for a process in which the state in which a child is born prepares and sends paperwork to the state to which the child will travel to live with their adoptive parents. This is really a notification process that allows the states to be made aware of the transfer of custody of a child and also helps to prevent trafficking. The ICPC process is common for those adopting a newborn or child from a state other than the one in which they live. If you are adopting a newborn from another state, expect to stay in that state for a few days-few weeks while this process is completed.
If you are adopting a newborn or a child who is not yet legally free to adopt, the child's birth parents will have to undergo a Termination of Parental Rights, or "TPR", before you are able to begin the process of finalizing your adoption. It will vary state to state how long a birth parent has before TPR once they have consented to the adoption. 3-10 days after a consent is signed is common in many states, though it may be lengthier or immediate in some situations. Involuntary TPR may also occur, often in many foster situations. Once this time has passed, the TPR and consent to adopt are irrevocable.
After you have brought your child home, you will be subject to post placement visits. These also vary from state to state,but are typically 3-6 visits over a 3-6 month period where the social worker really just checks up on the child and family. Our visits were usually only about 30 minutes. Once these visits are completed, a date for finalization will be scheduled. Typically, the court date is a formality and more of a celebratory ceremony of sorts if there are no concerns with paperwork or post placement visits. You will typically be informed of any concerns before hand. Once finalization occurs, the child becomes your child legally, just as if they had been birthed into your family.
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