Tips to Adopt

You made the decision to adopt, now what?  There are many options to consider and avenues to pursue.  Private domestic adoption, adoption of a "waiting child,"  foster-to-adopt, international adoption.  There are often many questions associated with risks, costs, and time-frames.  So what is the best route to take on your journey?  The answer is as unique as your own family and may honestly change as time goes on.  Our family has experienced all of the above with the exception of international adoption.

1.  Homestudies are of utmost importance.  They are the written "snapshot" of your family and are used in the matching process.  When the social worker comes to your home to complete the assessment, it is normal to feel nervous and sometimes jitters can interfere with presenting your "real" self.   Ask to review your homestudy and have a trusted friend proof it with a critical eye.  Sometimes wording can misrepresent your family and contribute to an extended wait. 

2.  Marketing your family, for lack of a better word, is also important.  Put together a few pictures of your home, your immediate family, and some photos of activities that you enjoy.  Make it small enough to fit in an 8x10 envelope to be mailed if needed.  Our children loved looking at these prior to moving in with us and I really think it helped tremendously in the matching process.

3.  Consider becoming foster parents.  Although there is inherent risk involved, it can give you the experience and exposure needed to have your children placed with you.  In some states, foster-to-adopt programs are rapidly replacing homes that strictly wish to foster. 

4.  Legal risk placements are those in which parental rights have been terminated, but are under appeal.  It is best for children to be placed in an adoptive home as quickly as possible so the attachment process can begin.  These placements, although not 100% certain, almost always lead to adoption.  Remember that the children are willing to take risks by putting their hearts out there and we need to meet them half-way.

5.  Network with other foster parents and social workers.  Attend foster/adoptive parent support groups.  Go to "matching" nights.  Volunteer time organizing clothing or suitcase drives.  Offer to do respite care for other foster parents...this might require a license so check with the workers.  Provide childcare or transportation to visits and appointments for kiddos in care.  Basically, get involved!!!  This will help get your name and face out there with the social workers and also keeping busy makes the wait time go by so much faster.

I'm sure I will come up with more ideas as time goes by so keep checking back for updates.

While you wait, check out these sites: