You’ve made the decision to adopt. What is the adoption process?
Step 1: Talking to an adoption counselor
Congratulations! Making the decision is the first step in the process, and can often be one of the toughest. You have to be absolutely certain that adoption is the best option for you before you will be able to fully commit to beginning the process. As you anticipate what is ahead, it is a good idea to find an adoption counselor who can help you work through your options. The counselor will present you with information you may have never hear before, and will then help you process what you hear. Legacy Adoptions has four counselors who are ready to take your call and help you work through options.
Step 2: Choosing an agency
Once you feel comfortable and confident in moving forward with the adoption process, you are ready to choose an agency. There are many different types of agencies, so be sure you have a list of the things that are most important to you in an agency. Don’t rush into a decision without feeling like you have a firm grasp on the reliability of the agency.
Step 3: Filling out an application
When you feel confident in moving forward with an agency, you are ready to fill ou their application. This step will take quite a while because of the detailed nature of the questions found on most agency’s applications. Many decisions will have to be made while filling out the application, so it is something you and your spouse will have to undertake together. Don’t feel like you have to rush through the application; be sure you take time with each section.
Step 4: Becoming an active family with Legacy Adoption Services
If you chose to fill out an application with Legacy Adoptions, you will become an active, waiting family once all application materials have been received and you have had an introductory interview with our agency. Once all your information has been processed, you will be asked to make a book about your lives for us to have on hand to show expectant mothers. This waiting process can be an extremely tense time, but it is best to be patient and know that God’s timing is best. While it is good to look forward to and be ready for “the call,” try not to dwell on it all the time!
Step 5: Matching
The waiting period is over! You’ve been matched with an expectant mother. Now you move into the communication period; you have a lot to learn about the expectant mother, and she has a lot to learn about you. Through your adoption counselor and the executive director, you will spend a good chunk of time communicating with the expectant mother. You will learn about her history, as well as any information that is known about the birth father. This is an exciting step! You will most likely get to spend some time in person with the expectant mother, which will help make the entire process seem a bit more real.
Step 6: Finalization
The new addition to your family is here! Obviously, this is an exciting and emotional step. However, there are many legal proceedings that must take place before the final adoption decree is issued. If you are adopting across the borders of your state, you will have to complete Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) paperwork before you will be able to go back to your state. It usually takes about 7-10 business days to process all of this paperwork. After you are settled at home with the new baby, you will have monthly post-placement visits by a social worker who will be making sure everything is going well at home. The last legal step is the finalization hearing. The judge will look at your ICPC paperwork and the notes from your post-placement visits as well as review the parental termination papers to be sure they were completed correctly.
Step 7: Post-Placement contact
If you and the birth mother decided on having an open adoption, you will now begin the post-placement contact with her. You’ll send pictures, stories, and updates on how your baby is doing. This step will be unique to each adoption story, and it is one that will last as long as you and your birth family have decided on.