3 Steps to Adopting a Child from Foster Care
When children cannot safely be reunified with their birth family, the courts free them for adoption through social services. Adoption grants the adoptive family all legal, financial and medical rights and responsibilities for parenting a child. Families who choose to adopt are eligible for adoption assistance.
In open adoptions, parents know each other’s identities and may maintain an ongoing relationship, such as exchanging letters or arranging visits between the child and birth family. While the circumstances of each adoption are unique, the process typically takes 6 to 18 months.
Matching a Child and Adoptive Family
Once certified, Walden will assist you with locating an adoptive match. During the matching process, your home study and family picture books will be presented to county and regional adoption workers. We will be in frequent contact with you to discuss potential matches.
When a potential match is identified, one of our adoption workers will accompany you to a Disclosure meeting or Telling with the county adoption worker for the adoptive child. By law, the legal custodian of the child (the County) must disclose information about the child to families pursuing adoption.If you decide to move forward after disclosure, we arrange a pre-placement visit in the adoptive child’s current foster home or a neutral setting such as a park or restaurant. Depending on the age of the child, these visits may progress to overnight visits at your home, or an immediate placement.
Court Finalization Process
The court finalization involves several steps, which include a hearing to develop a permanent plan for the child. At the hearing, the court determines whether it is in the child’s best interests to pursue long-term foster care, legal guardianship, or adoption. If the court pursues adoption, the birth parent’s rights are terminated. When the adoption is finalized in court, a new birth certificate ordered.Walden also provides post-adoption resources, such as continued training, family events, support groups, and referrals to community resources and other services.