Choosing to adopt is a big decision. You have explored all the roads to adopt and have determined that Domestic Adoption is the right path to expand your family. We are sure you will have plenty of questions about the journey including the process and so we have created a step-by-step guide for first time families working with AFTH. Know that our social workers are always there for you whether it’s one simple question or a list of 100 questions you’d like to talk about.
1) Complete your application. Read and sign each form including Description of Services for Fees Contract and Agency Policies for Domestic Adoption. Return completed forms to AFTH with your application fee.
2) Upon receiving your application, you will be contacted by an adoption social worker to schedule an individual adoption counseling session.
3) After meeting with a social worker, you will be required to attend an Education Course, Home Study Sessions and Transracial Adoption Course for those considering adopting a child of a different race.
The Education Course dives into the topic of open adoption from the perspectives of all three members of the adoption triad: adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoptees.
The Transracial Adoption Course discusses topics related to raising a child of a different race necessary for prospective adoptive parents considering transracial adoption to explore. The interactive training debunks the idea of being colorblind, discusses strategies for becoming a multicultural family and reviews how to talk with children about race and racism.
The Home Study Sessions cover topics including your road to adoption, parenting and discipline. They are typically held in a group setting with other families. Additionally, you will be given a list of the required paperwork to complete for your home study. Once your home study paperwork is received, a social worker will visit your home.
4) After your home visit, you will come to a Profile Meeting. The focus is your profile (which is a 10 page visual story of your family for expecting parents to view) and profile key (guide for social worker indicating your preferences regarding expectant parent situations). Meeting topics include the dos and don’ts of creating your profile, overview of the profile key, the process after being selected and what to expect at the hospital.
5) Then, you will come into the office for a Video Session to create a 5 minute video. It allows you to talk candidly about your family and let your personality shine. Expecting parents have the ability to view videos in addition to seeing profiles when selecting a family.
6) Families submit their profile to their social worker for approval. Your profile will be shown to all expecting parents agency-wide whose situations match your profile key. You will be given the opportunity to have your profile and video on our website as well to increase your exposure.
7) During the wait, you will have access to your social worker for any questions and concerns. You are also encouraged to take advantage of support groups and continuing education classes.
8) When selected by expecting parents, you will have a match meeting with your social worker to review background information about the placement. In the case of Emergency Placements, which currently account for nearly 50% of our agency’s placements, all of the information will be discussed with you over the phone and recapped in a follow up email due to time constraints.
9) At the time of being matched, you will be given escrow forms to submit your placement and miscellaneous fees which will be placed in an escrow account until the time of placement. In the event of an Emergency Placement, the fees are be deemed earned at that time forgoing the escrow account.
10) Upon the expecting parent’s request, if time allows, a pre-placement meeting will be held with the social worker, prospective adoptive parents and expecting parents. In the case of Emergency Placements, the prospective adoptive parents may have an opportunity to meet the expecting parents at the hospital.
11) When it’s time to travel to the hospital, you will meet with a social worker at the hospital to complete the placement paperwork and then meet the baby and possibly the biological parents as well.
12) After the birth parents sign their legal consent to adoption, the baby will be discharged with you from the hospital. IMPORTANT – Keep in mind that during this time the child’s birth parents have a revocation period which varies from state to state. The revocation period is time for the birth parents to be certain of their decision. During this time, birth parents may legally change their mind(s) and choose to parent.
13) If the baby is born outside your state of residence, you will be required to stay within 2 hours of the hospital and will be unable to return home until interstate paperwork is processed and approved by both states.
14) When you do return home, your social worker will conduct post placement visits with your family.
15) The adoption will then be finalized between 6-8 months after placement. AFTH hosts ongoing events and classes to bring families together for support. Your social worker will continue to be available for you to answer any questions you may have as your child grows.