How do I get started?
Congratulations — just by visiting our web site, you already have begun! Check our "Events" section if you are interested in attending an in-person information session. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with additional questions you may have, or call us at 781.444.7148.
The first step is to fill out our application and send it in. Once we receive it, a social worker will be in touch within two weeks to get started on the home study.
How long does it take to adopt, from start to finish?
This varies widely, and there is no easy answer to this question.
For domestic adoptions, some placements happen as quickly as six months while others take well over a year or more. The more situations an adoptive family is open to, the more opportunities there will be for their profile to be presented.
International adoption time frames vary, and it is best to remain flexible (patience is a great asset as well!) While an international adoption process is more likely to be determined by how long a family has been waiting than a domestic adoption, countries can and do change their requirements – which may affect the length of the wait.
What is a home study?
A home study is a process that helps people prepare for adoptive parenthood. It involves several meetings with a social worker to discuss background experiences, views on parenthood and adoption, and other issues. It addresses questions and concerns, and educates people about building and raising an adoptive family. At the end of the home study process, the social worker will write a summary report that describes the family in terms of their background, education, occupations, interests, home, and so on. The process differs slightly for domestic and international adoption, but many of the components are the same.
Expect several visits with your social worker — including at least one visit with each person individually, at least one joint visit, and one visit in your home.
You will also be asked to gather medical records, financial records, proof of employment, letters of reference from people who know you well, and to write an autobiography. Criminal records and child abuse records will be checked, and you may have fingerprints taken.
While this can feel intrusive, our social workers work hard to make it as comfortable as possible. It's a wonderful opportunity to discuss concerns, and think about how you will parent, how issues related to adoption will be discussed, and future child care plans. The bottom line is to find safe and loving homes for the children!
What are the fees involved in completing an adoption?
Adoption fees fall into two categories-agency fees and program fees. The first fees will be agency-related, for such things as the home study process and report, administrative/coordination/outreach fees, etc. The next portion of the fees will be related to the program and travel costs (if any.) Fees do not come up all at once, but are spread out over the course of the adoption process.
Most adoptions range from twenty-five to forty-five thousand dollars, although the fees are not paid all at once. Fees are broken down into categories, such as home study fees, document fees, program fees, travel costs, and so on.
This range is due to a variety of factors – how much travel is involved, whether it is a domestic or international adoption, if, in the case of a domestic adoption, birth parent support is needed (each state has their own guidelines for how much can be given and for what purposes), and so on.
Keep in mind that there are grants available, as well as the federal Adoption Tax Credit. Additionally, your employer may offer financial assistance towards building your family through adoption.
I don't live in a state where Alliance is licensed. Can I still work with you?
Yes — absolutely! We will help you find a licensed agency in your state to complete your home study, and then you can apply to one of our programs.
What are the qualifications for adopting a child?
For an international adoption, qualifications vary widely and are set by the sending country — for example, Russia may have different restrictions than Colombia or Haiti. These guidelines relate to age, marital status, and certain health conditions. As these are set by each individual country, Alliance For Children has very little room for flexibility. In addition, the adoptive family's state of residence may also have certain rules, regulations, and qualifications. See the information about each specific program for more information.
In the domestic program, Alliance For Children has very few restrictions for waiting families. We work with married couples, same-sex couples, single parents, and parents of many ages with a variety of health issues. The birth family, however, usually selects the adoptive family. While there may be more flexibility in the qualifications because of this, there may also be certain types of situations that will lead to a shorter or a longer wait.
We do not require that you own a home or that you have a specific income level — although some programs (and, in the case of an international adoption, the federal government) may have requirements that we do not. Our team will look at your financial ability to provide for a child, but it is more about living within your means than earning a certain dollar amount.
If you have concerns about a specific situation, please call us — one of our social workers will be happy to speak with you.
How does domestic adoption differ from international adoption?
In all situations, families will complete an application and a home study – and will also do post placement visits with a social worker.
In domestic adoption, the potential birth family generally decides what adoptive family to place the baby with. Adoptive families put together a "profile" of photos and information about their lives as a way to introduce themselves to the potential birth families. Children usually join their families as newborns. There is often (although not always) at least some information available about the baby's social and medical family history, as well as the birthmother's level of prenatal care. There is generally some contact between the birth family and adoptive family, depending on the level of openness desired by each.
In the case of international adoption, there is generally a government agency that oversees the placement and "matching" of children available for adoption — families are presented with a referral, which they are then able to accept or decline. The number of trips required by each country varies, but there will usually be between one and three visits. The youngest children available in an international adoption are 12-24 months old, with older children available as well. Sibling groups are also available for adoption. In most cases there will be no contact with and less medical/background information on the birth family. Ethnicity, culture, and heritage may be a more relevant factor.
What is the overall process for an adoption?
The first step is research — which you are already doing, just by visiting our web site!
Next, fill out an application and send it in to Alliance For Children. From there, you will complete your home study. If you are pursuing domestic adoption, you will create a "profile" and if you are working towards international adoption, you will also start preparing your dossier.
Once these pieces are complete, you wait until a match or referral is made. If you accept the referral, things move forward – once the child is born or arrives home, you have some post placement visits with your social worker (requirements vary by state). Domestic adoptions and some international adoptions will involve going to court to finalize or re-finalize the adoption.