What are the characteristics of a successful adoptive or foster parent?
Most importantly, the ability to care for, support, and love a child who is not biologically your own. Other important characteristics are stability, maturity, dependability, flexibility, and a sense of humor.
Do I have to be married to adopt?
No. Many adoptive parents are single, divorced or widowed.
Do I have to be a homeowner to adopt?
No. You may be a renter or home buyer, live in a house, an apartment, or mobile home. Your home will have to be safe, and you’ll need to have enough room for every member of your family.
Do I have to make a lot of money?
No. In fact, most adoptive parents have very modest incomes. Furthermore, subsidy programs may be available to assist you with the costs of caring the child you adopt. Financial aid programs such as medical cards, tax credits, grants, and other support payments may also apply.
Who are the children available for adoption?
Most children are age eight and above, and come from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. The children are in foster care after being removed from their birth families’ homes in most instances due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Parental rights have been terminated or relinquished as it has been determined reunification with the birth family is not possible. Many of these children are waiting for adoption with their siblings, hoping for a family that will keep them together. Some of these children have special needs.
How much does it cost to adopt?
This is dependent on the agency you choose to work with, but in most cases adoptions from foster care have minimal, and in some cases no, costs to the family. Be sure to ask your agency what types of costs you might expect.
What does “special needs” mean?
Special needs include learning difficulties, physical limitations, emotional or behavioral challenges, and difficulties adjusting to new families. Each child’s special needs are unique – like the children themselves – and may range from mild to severe. “Special needs” may also include being a member of a large sibling group or being age 12 and older.
Is training provided?
Yes. You are required to attend a valuable 30-hour TIPS-MAPP (Trauma Informed Partnering For Safety And Permanence – Model Approach To Partnerships In Parenting) class to help you decide if adoption is right for you and your family and prepare you for your new role as an adoptive parent. There is no charge for the TIPS-MAPP course, which is offered throughout the year in sessions of three hours over a 10 week period.
What is a homestudy?
A homestudy (sometimes referred to as a family profile or family assessment) is a written document about your family prepared by your family caseworker. It will include basic information about your family and the types of children you believe you will be able to parent. Homestudies are shared with child caseworkers who are looking for families for specific children. This lets them know that the family has been approved to adopt and/or foster and what the family can offer a child.
What’s the difference between a family caseworker and a child caseworker?
The family caseworker helps a family complete the adoption and/or foster care approval process, and assists in identifying children that might be a good fit with the family. The child caseworker is responsible for ensuring the day-to-day needs of the child are being met (for example, living in a safe, appropriate environment; access to any needed services; etc.), and finding families for the children they work with that best meet the children’s needs. Once a family is selected for a child, the child caseworker and family caseworker work together to transition the child to their new home and make sure the family has the services it needs to parent the child.
What is foster-to-adopt?
The majority of Kansas children needing adoption find their forever family through foster care. Foster-to-adopt is when a family providing foster care expresses interest in adoption if the child’s case plan goal is changed to adoption and the parental rights of the child are terminated, While a foster-to-adopt placement is not a guarantee of future adoption, its benefits outweigh the negatives in many ways including fewer disruptions in the child’s life, more time to spend with the child allowing for bonding with your family, and continuity of care and support for the child.
What is legal risk adoption?
Legal risk adoption is when a prospective adoptive child is placed in your home although the child is not yet legally free to be adopted. This means that the parental rights of the child have yet to be terminated, although that is the plan for that child. Please note, not all foster placements will be pre-adoptive placements. While many children in foster care will fall into the “legal risk” category, the goal for most is reunification.
What factors are considered in selecting a family for a child?
The most important consideration is the family’s ability to meet the needs of the child. Other factors which may impact decision making include the child’s stated preferences (for example, the desire to have siblings; area of the state they wish to live in; etc.) and the family’s ability to facilitate special circumstances (for example, desire to stay in touch with certain relatives, such as grandparents or older siblings).
How long does adoption take?
There are no set timeframes for adoption completion. How quickly you move from initial inquiry to finalization is dependent on a number of factors including the speed and opportunity your family is able to complete the approval process, the type of child you wish to have in your home, and the unique circumstances and needs of the child you are selected for. For most families, the approval process takes 4-6 months. Depending on your preferences, matching and selection could take a few months, or may take a year or more. Following APA (adoption placement agreement – when the child moves into your home) signing finalization should occur within 6-12 months.
Why does it take so long?
We understand this can be frustrating. However, the adoption process is specifically designed to maximize the likelihood of success for the child and family. If you have concerns about the length of time it is taking to complete certain steps, speak with your family’s caseworker.
Will I have help?
Yes. Your child’s caseworker/agency will provide post-adoption support and services for 12 months following finalization. Your family caseworker/agency may also provide similar supports for your family. You can also access adoptive family supports and information by visiting the Resources page of this website.