You’ve thought long and hard about it and probably discussed it with loved ones. Now you’ve decided to expand your family through adoption–congratulations! Your journey is just beginning. It’s going to be an emotional rollercoaster but one of the most rewarding ones you could ever ride. You have a series of legal processes to undergo, and the first one is getting licensed to adopt. This process can take 4 to 12 months, so you’re probably eager to get started.
To get an adoption license you will first have to find the adoption agency that fits you best. Research each agency carefully to make sure they fit your family values. Hamilton County, Ohio, provides a list of agencies. Other counties offer similar lists on their websites. In Ohio, you begin with filling out a form with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The application process can be confusing. Your agency will guide you in filling out the application.
Training and Classes
Once you submit the application, you will attend training. Generally, you can take these classes at your own pace. Some agencies offer training in person but others have online options like Adoptiontrainingonline.com. This site includes classes for adopting within the country and internationally. These classes teach about how the children will handle the adoption process as they age, aid parent’s understanding of medical needs and guide parents in helping children with trauma. These subjects are vital. Many of these issues will likely arise as the child ages or if the child is not an infant when adopted. Classes also address specific situations like transracial adoptions. In Ohio, there is required reading for parents who wish to adopt. This informative and emotional book is called 20 Things Adopted Kids Wish their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge.
A home study may take place during or after the adoption training. At this point, a social worker will tour your home. They want to get a sense of your home life. They will speak with you and anyone who lives with you. This includes additional children, roommates, and any relatives who live with you. Likewise they will interact with you pets. It is important to make sure that the pet’s temperament is conducive to adding a new child to your family. This part of the process can feel stressful but it’s important for the agency to know that they have found a suitable and loving home for your future child.
Along with a home study, your county will conduct a home inspection. You must prove that the home is structurally sound and up to code. They will test the electricity for faulty wiring and ensure that all outlets have a child safety cover. They will need to test the plumbing this is mostly to make sure that the water is suitable for drinking. Other aspects of your home, inspectors will be looking for, according to Livestrong, include:
- General cleanliness
- Working smoke and fire detectors
- Safety measures, e.g., gates on stairs
- Locking cabinets
- Safely stored firearms and ammunition
- Fences around pools
- Locking covers for hot tubs
You and your spouse or partner will need to provide multiple documents. These include birth and marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and employment records. You may also need to prepare:
- Health insurance information
- Infant CPR certification
- Certification of residency
- Pet vaccination records (if applicable)
- Credit report
Once you get licensed to adopt, the agency will work within their network to find a birth parent for you. Many times the agency will work with other states to find a birth parent for you. Should your child be born in a different state additional fees may apply but you will not have to register for a second license in the state where your child is born.
Adopting internationally has its own challenges. First, you must find an agency that is accredited to handle them. You will still get licensed in Ohio (or the state in which you live). However, you must also meet eligibility requirements for the country from which you plan to adopt. Each one may have requirements about age and marital status of the prospective parents, among other things. Plus, you must fulfill requirements of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. According to sources such as the Salt Lake Tribune, more hurdles are in place than ever before to protect against child abduction and trafficking. Adoption is far from an easy choice but it is one of the most rewarding choices anyone could make. The process is confusing and filled with complex emotions but should you need help with the legal aspects of adoption or just understanding the legal terminologies the attorneys at Rapier Y Bowling are here to help. PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain