Screening and selecting Adoptive Parents to care, nurture and provide for your baby or child is an important part of the adoption process. Your adoption agency or adoption professional can help you find Adoptive Parents that will provide a loving and nurturing home for your baby. The process of screening, selecting and meeting your child’s prospective Adoptive Parents will depend on the adoption laws in your state. All domestic adoptions require a home study and background check.
Regardless of the adoption laws and regulations that govern your area, there are several practices that any reputable adoption agency or adoption professional will undertake when screening Adoptive Parents.
1) They will be observed under the conditions of a home study, which include home visits.
The home study examines how the family lives and evaluates their environment. This process can take many forms depending on the state or governing agency conducting the visit. It is an important step in deciding if the home is suitable for the baby or child. What do adoption agencies and professionals look for?
- Will the child have a suitable room?
- Will they be living in a safe, childproof environment that poses no risks to them?
- How will the child fit in culturally?
Either during these home visits or in a separate location, the prospective Adoptive Parents are also interviewed several times, both separately and together. The interviews tend to cover topics about the family’s relationship and about their motivations and preparedness to adopt. Home visits are also an excellent way to determine the general readiness of the family on a physical and emotional level.
Only the most suitable families are given the blessing and responsibility of raising your child. Most people that enter the adoption process genuinely desire to have a child be a part of their family and do not take this decision lightly. They are passionate parents to be and will not weaken when the investigation becomes critical because they have dreamed for a child for so long.
2) They will undergo a thorough background check.
The home study will detail almost every aspect of the Adoptive Family. The report will cover the family’s marriage history, employment records, community involvement, past criminal activity, income information, education, extended family trees, birth certificates, and even some information about the Adoptive Parents’ parents. There will also be a fingerprinting and child abuse clearance process that those living in the home must pass. The home study professional will collect and carefully examine all of this given information. The Adoptive Parents may also undergo medical tests to ensure they are physically prepared to take care of a child.
This kind of screening provides a more formal record of the Adoptive Families and their ‘behind-the-scenes’ details. It is a great way for agencies and/or adoption professionals to thoroughly get to know the family. Typically, the family’s closest friends, coworkers, and/or church members will be interviewed in order to give a testimony of the family’s readiness to adopt.
3) They may be required to attend class or training to prepare themselves or the responsibility of a child.
The training may cover a wide variety of topics, from the adoption process itself to the actual howto’s of child rearing. The hopeful Adopting Parents may also receive training and advice on how to build a proper relationship and standard for communication with the Birth Parents. These workshops help build a foundation to help Adoptive Parents think about how they are going to raise the child so that he/she feels loved and supported all through development.
The home study process is lengthy and very personal. Every aspect of the Adoptive Family’s lives is scrutinized, and their physical, mental, and emotional well-being will be looked at and considered.
What to Consider When Meeting the Adoptive Parents
Whether you choose to place your baby for adoption through an adoption agency, a lawyer, or a facilitator, it is important to know that you, the Birth Mother, have the right to choose who you want your baby to be placed with. Many agencies or adoption professionals function by giving you many family options to choose from. Even after you have selected your Adoptive Parents, you will usually have time to decide whether you see the Adoptive Family as a good fit for your child. You may be able to communicate with the Adoptive Family over the phone or meet in person. Your adoption agency or professional will generally act as the liaison between you and the family during this time.
Here are some things to consider about hopeful Adopting Parents:
1) Excellent Communication Skills
Keep communication skills on your mind as you learn about and communicate with hopeful Adopting Parents. Watch for how they communicate with you, but also how they interact with each other and the adoption agency or professional as well.
You and the Adoptive Family may be entirely different people who come from very different walks of life. Even if this is the case, they should make a good effort to ensure that all parties understand each other. If you are able to make a good connection, speak with them, and enjoy talking with them despite potential differences.
Don’t just pay attention to how they speak with you, but watch for their dynamics with each other, if they are a couple. If you are wanting to select Adoptive Parents in a relationship, observe how they communicate with each other: comfortably, easily, and lovingly?
Does the Adoptive Family communicate with the adoption agency/professional, or you directly in a timely and responsive manner? Are they respectful in their dealings with the agency/adoption professional? All parties involved should be on the same page about information, so make sure to pay attention to these dynamics.
You will also play a very important role in maintaining open and honest communication throughout the adoption process. As the Birth Parent, you may have a lot of complicated feelings about the adoption process, and you should feel comfortable voicing your feelings and opinions to the family or to your adoption agent/professional.
2) Thoughtfulness and Understanding of Adoption
It is important that an Adoptive Family prepare for and work to understand adoption and the adoption process. Here are some ways to measure the Adoptive Family’s thoughtfulness and understanding of adoption.
- What is their plan for letting the child know about their adoption and details of how they plan to discuss it with the child?
- How do they intend to create open and honest pathways for discussing you, the Birth Mother, and your adoption decision with the child? Also, it is important to discuss how they will support the child with any difficulties in understanding that the child may have.
- Do they have a plan for how they intend to deal with the negative stigmas surrounding adoption, and how they plan to prepare the child for this possibility.
- Have they thought of how the child will fit into their lives?
While some of these events may not occur until much later on, an Adoptive Family should still be prepared for these questions.
3) Flexibility and Adaptability to Change
Though the Adoptive Family should already have certain knowledge and expectations entering the adoption process, they should also be flexible and ready to adapt to things they didn’t necessarily expect.
The adoption process can be intense and scrutinizing, and Adoptive Families may be tested with different problems or unexpected scenarios throughout the process. They should not appear to have a need to be in absolute control or demonstrate a need for instant gratification. They should not appear too rigid about how they will raise the child, but will rather be open to the possibility that they will learn much through the process of becoming a parent.
It can be difficult to determine the line between unpreparedness and flexibility. It might be helpful to compare your own views about adoption and childcare: you may find that you have a certain set of expectations and beliefs about how things should be done, but you may also think of times when these core beliefs were challenged or thrown into question. The Adoptive Family should be open to flexibility in this process while still demonstrating that they have put a great deal of critical thought into what kind of parents they want to be.
4) Financial Stability and Resources
The Adoptive Family does not need to be wealthy in order to adopt, but should demonstrate financial stability, access to all the resources they will need to raise a child, and show that they have thought critically about the impact a child will have on their finances. This will be highly evaluated in the home study, so Birth Parents can know that the Adopting Parents have the financial readiness to adopt and parent.
Overall, you, the Birth Parent, should trust your instincts when screening potential Adoptive Families. You have the choice of who to place your baby with and many Birth Mothers often say that “they just knew” when they found the right Adopting Parents. Also remember that your Adoptive Family is still human, and you should make sure not to get too caught up in a quest for complete perfection. You should strive to select a great family for your child, but you should also try to go in with realistic expectations of what a family should look like.