There are a lot of ways to make a family in today’s age, so it’s essential that people understand all their options in creating their family. One popular way to grow your family is through adoption. Adoptive parents should seek out an attorney who primarily practices in family law and handles adoptions. The procedure and law varies state by state and within each county.
What Does the Process Look Like?
Prior to the process, and when consulting an attorney, an adoptive parent should know the timeline, cost and legal requirements. In the adoption process, a parent can either use an attorney or an adoption agency. All families applying for consideration for adoption must do a home study. The home study will be conducted by the State of Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. There are several documents that must be submitted during the home study process, including:
- Financial forms
- Medical forms for all household members
- Criminal background checks
- Tax returns, proof of employment and proof of medical coverage
- Child abuse clearance
- Safety audit
- Fire inspection
- Birth, marriage and divorce decree
- Reference letters
- Copies of driver’s licenses, SSN card, passport, etc.
All approved home studies will be valid for two years, and after that time, the adoptive families would have to be updated. Once the home study has been completed, the family will be notified if the application to adopt has been approved.
Working With an Agency
Thereafter, the family will work through their agency or attorney to match with a child or accepting birth mother. Each family can select the specific agency they work with and speak with them to understand their matching ability and the ability to connect with the birth mother. During that process, the parties decide whether they want an open or closed adoption and whether they would meet with the birth mother; they can choose the type of situation they want to be in.
Once matched and approved, the adoptive family will receive their placement with the child about 72 hours after the birth, and they can expect the final adoption process to be completed about six months after placement. An agency can also provide training to families both pre-placement and during the process. Some agencies will also provide training for the home study so the parents know what to expect.
The Waiting Game
This can be an emotional time for the adoptive parents, and it can be a long process. Matches may take months – or even years. It can be frustrating, as the parents will have to wait for a placement. Being prepared for the required paperwork is the main work in the adoption process. Once they have been approved, there is nothing else they need to do for the process. During this time, they should focus on themselves and enjoy each other. Once a child comes into their lives, everything will change. As they wait, they should travel, laugh and go out on date nights. Adoption is a wonderful process that allows families to grow. Even though it can be tedious and long, it is worth it.
For more questions regarding the adoption process, please contact KJK Family Law Partner Carly Boyd (CBoyd@kjk.com; 213.736.7254).