Adoptive parents provide a “forever family” for children in the agency’s permanent custody. Just like foster parents, adoptive parents need to work hard to incorporate the child into their family so that they may be successful not only in the placement, but in life. Once the child’s adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents take on full responsibility for that child’s health, education, and overall well being.
To become an adoptive parent, you must meet certain requirements and also be willing to participate in a very thorough home study process. The requirements include such things as being at least 18 years old, having an income that is sufficient to support your household, and being free from any condition that could negatively affect the care of a child in the agency’s permanent custody.
Some of the activities that must be completed during the home study process are as follows:
- Home visits by an adoption assessor
- Interviews with all household members
- Fire and safety inspections
- Fingerprinting/criminal record checks
- Medical examinations
- Reference checks
Furthermore, all adoptive homes must attend a 36 hour pre-service training prior to approval by the agency.
Once all activities are completed successfully, the agency will approve your home study.
Unlike foster parents, adoptive parents are not licensed by the state. After approval, the adoptive parent’s home study can be considered for the placement of children in any agency’s permanent custody. Updates of the home study must occur at least once every two years.
Other services that may be available to adoptive parents include the following: adoption assistance/subsidies, pre-finalization services, post-finalization services, medical card and case management. It is important to note that eligibility for some of the financial programs must be determined (on either the child and/or the family) and therefore, may not be available for every adoptive family.
Can I be a foster and adoptive parent?
Yes!! Most often, children do not come directly into the agency’s permanent custody. Usually, children who are eventually available for adoption have spent a period of time in foster care. If a foster child moves from temporary custody to permanent custody and none of the child’s relatives can offer permanency, the current foster parent is given first consideration to adopt that child if it is in that child’s best interest.
If the foster parent is also already approved as an adoptive parent, the adoption can proceed more quickly. Many times, families contact us feeling certain they want only to foster or adopt. Later, however, they develop an interest in the other program and realize the advantages to be dually approved. So, even if you think you are certain that only one program is for you, be sure to discuss dual approval with your foster care/adoption specialist. Most of the agency’s homes are dually approved and it is no extra work to do so.
The children that are in the agency’s temporary/permanent custody range in age from 0-18 years old (up to 21 years of age if developmentally delayed) and come from all races and economic classes. Many have a variety of behavioral, psychological, developmental, emotional, physical or educational special needs. These children have most often been removed from abusive and/or neglectful situations and therefore, will at the very least, be dealing with issues related to their past treatment.
Furthermore, regardless of their past treatment, children who are both temporarily and permanently removed from their biological families very often have to deal with issues of loss and acceptance. It is extremely important that any person interested in the foster and/or adoption program be aware of the types of children they may have placed in their home. Although being a foster/adoptive parent can be very satisfying, it is also extremely challenging and should only be pursued after very careful and deliberate consideration.
In Ohio, there are more than 3,200 children available for adoption. Many of these children belong to a sibling group; have been in an agency’s permanent custody for more than one year; are members of a minority or ethnic group; are six years of age or older; have a medical condition, physical impairment, developmental disability, emotional disturbance, or behavioral problem; have a personal or familial history which may place them at risk of acquiring a medical condition, physical, mental or developmental disability or an emotional disorder; or have experienced a previous adoption disruption or multiple placements.