How long does it take to adopt?
If you are interested in a waiting child, the time it takes can vary on agency. Four months, on the average, should be adequate to determine what kind of child you are best suited to parent. Then you will work with your agency to match you with a child.
When do we get to meet the children?
Once you are ready for a child to be placed with you, your agency will work with you to find a child who would benefit from being a part of your family. The child's social worker will tell you about the child and you will see a photograph of the child.
The child's social worker will tell you about the child's background, his/her personality, and his/her strengths and weaknesses. If you think this sounds like a child who would be a good in match for your family or a child you believe you could parent, we'll arrange for you to meet ... perhaps casually at first. If it appears this is a good match for your family and the child, we will begin pre-placement visits, including overnight visits. These visits give you a chance to get to know each other. They go on for as long as necessary, from a week to several months. Then comes the great day when your new child comes to stay.
We keep hearing about "the waiting children. Who are they?
Waiting children are children who are under the supervision of Ramsey County. They are children of all ages and races, and both male and female. The majority of the children are over 6 years old, 54% are African American, 32% are Caucasian, 7% American Indian, 4% Asian, 3% undetermined. Some are sibling groups, which may be 2 or 3 children, and occasionally more. Some of the children have medical or other special needs. Some require special accommodations. All of these children need families now!
Where are these children?
Most children waiting to be adopted are living in foster homes. Some will be adopted by their foster parents, while others need new families. Some are in residential facilities.
Can we adopt more than one child?
Yes you can! There are many brothers and sisters waiting to be adopted and we especially welcome families able to take siblings. We have many families who adopt a child and decide later that they want to adopt more children.
If we have problems after we get the child, will our agency help us?
Yes. The agency you decide to work with will give you all the help they can. During the waiting period of at least three months before you go to court to finalize the adoption, they will have regular visits with you and will be on call to help with problems that arise. You should call right away, rather than wait until a problem escalates. Even after the child is legally a part of your family, there are adoption preservation programs statewide to assist you.
Can we get a child who doesn't have problems?
No children, whether they are biological or adopted, are "problem free." The level of a child's special needs may vary. Many adoptive children need help at different times in the adoption process. Their past experiences may mean that you will need to acquire support services at various developmental stages. Those services are available.
Why did these children have to leave their parents in the first place?
Some children are placed for adoption because their parents realize they cannot adequately care for them. Other children come to us through the courts because they have been abused or neglected by their parents. When families cannot be reunited, we must look for new permanent homes for the children.
Why have some children had to wait so long for an adoptive home?
The process of terminating both parents' legal rights is very thorough, sometimes complicated and lengthy. However, recent changes in the state's adoption law and practice make it simpler to free children for adoption and prevent them from spending needless years in foster care. We have a renewed focus on finding permanent homes for children.
Does it cause problems if we adopt a child who remembers his/her parents?
It is a different situation from adopting an infant who has never known any other parents. It means we must work with the children to prepare them for adoption, making sure they understand why they can't return to their birth parents. That kind of preparation is the job of the child's team. Then the family takes over and helps them adjust by talking freely about other places they have lived and by respecting their need to think well of their birth parents and foster parents. Sometimes older children keep in touch with various relatives including birth parents or former foster parents, and that does not mean they do not love their adoptive family.
Do a child's birth parents ever try to get him/her back?
This is a common concern of adoptive parents. Recent, highly publicized court battles for children have made everyone realize how important it is that all legal procedures are completed before the adoption. One advantage of adopting through a licensed agency is that you can be confident every legal safeguard has been taken to protect you and your adopted child. The parents of all children that are available to be adopted by us have either had their parental rights legally terminated or have legally surrendered their children for adoption.
What if we adopt a child and when he/she is older he/she wants to find his/her original parents?
Some adopted people are curious about their original family. This sometimes happens, particularly during adolescence, when young people are trying to sort out who they are. Often, we can give you enough information about your child's original family to satisfy their curiosity. It is not always easy for an adopted person to find out about his/her past. If your child feels it necessary to try, it's best if you relax and help in any way you can. Keep in mind that curiosity is natural and does not mean that your child wants to return to their original family. Your child will love you all the more if you can understand his/her need to know about early years.