Who are the children "waiting" for adoption?
The children who wait for adoption are children who have special needs. The children need adoptive homes because their birth families cannot care for them in a safe and nurturing way. Most of these children are school aged. They might have problems in school, they may misbehave because of the abuse they suffered, they may have medical conditions or they might need to be adopted with their brothers and sisters. All these children have one very special need: they are waiting for an adoptive home.
How long does it take to adopt a child?
Adopting a child can take anywhere from a few months to several years; however, OKDHS cannot guarantee an adoptive placement. Before a child is placed in your home, you must have a home study done and attend adoption workshops. You will adopt more quickly if you choose a waiting child rather than if you want an infant or a "perfect" child.
How much does it cost?
OKDHS doesn't charge any fee for parents for adopting a child. However, there are other costs. Everyone in the home will need to have a medical exam. This fee depends on your doctor and is paid by you.
Do I have to earn a lot of money?
No. In fact, most people who adopt waiting children work in everyday jobs. You must be able to feed, clothe and house a child, just as you would if the child were born to you.
Do I have to own my own home?
No. You can live in your own home, a rented house, an apartment or a trailer home. You must have a safe home with enough space and a bed for a child.
What if I already have children?
OKDHS is happy to work with families who already have children. Your parenting experience is valuable, and your other children will provide more family for the adopted child.
Do I have to be married?
No. Many single men and women adopt waiting children.
What if I have been divorced?
Waiting children have been through a lot of troubles in their short lives. Parents who have had some troubles usually have learned how to cope with life's ups and downs. They can also be more understanding of waiting children's troubles. Divorce or any other life trouble can be a learning experience that makes parents stronger and wiser.
Am I too old?
There are many variables when it comes to age. Some people are full of life at 60, while others don't seem to have much energy at age 40. Agencies who place waiting children are interested in your ability to raise a child and be involved in their activities and the likelihood you will live long enough to see your children reach adulthood.
What if we adopt a child who has special needs we can't afford?
Our agency can help with the expenses of special needs children through Adoption Assistance. OKDHS cares about the placement of special needs children and can provide monthly adoption subsidies for sibling groups, older children and those with emotional, learning or medical problems. We can also help with the legal costs of finalizing the adoption in court.
Isn't there a lot of "red tape" and paperwork?
Yes, there is some, but there is a reason for it. If you were going to be sent to live with a stranger for the rest of your life, wouldn't you want to be sure they were not going to hurt you, starve you or make you do bad things? Agencies who place the children have a responsibility to protect waiting children from abuse. Because of this responsibility, laws have been passed which require certain paperwork and questions. But OKDHS wants to help you get through all this painlessly, so they will help you fill out the required forms, and will explain everything to you carefully.
What if we apply to become an adoptive family?
OKDHS has established criteria for choosing adoptive families.
The parents' age is evaluated in relation to life expectancy and maturity and the family must live in a locality which provides protection from identification and interference from natural parents. Adoptive parents must be willing to allow the child to develop to his or her full capacity.
OKDHS also requires: A family medical evaluation to ensure parents are physically capable of caring for the child, verification of all marriages and divorces, recent photos of all family members and positive recommendations from references.
What if our adopted child should need information about her past?
OKDHS is required by law to maintain records containing medical and social information on all children placed for adoption. The records are also used to document an adopted Native American child's Indian ancestry. If there are matching requests from biological relatives and adult adoptees, OKDHS will assist with the reunion through the Mutual Consent Voluntary Registry. OKDHS also administers a Confidential Intermediary Search Program for adult adoptees and their birth family members.
What if we need help after our adoption is finalized?
As a result of changing federal and state laws regarding permanency for children in foster care, the number of children placed in adoptive homes by OKDHS has steadily increased. The children being placed for adoption are usually older children, those who are physically or mentally challenged, victims of abuse and neglect or sibling groups. As the challenges adoptive parents face in raising these children increases, so does the need for post adoption support services. Parenting issues do not end with the finalization of the adoption. Adoptive families are more successful when they are provided services that are tailored to their unique issues and needs.
OKDHS recognizes the need adoptive families have for support groups, respite care, easy access to medical and mental health care, therapists who are trained specifically to work with adoptive families, training and retreats. OKDHS is working to assist adoptive families with Post Adoption Support Services.
How do I start?
If you are an Oklahoma resident and would like to learn more about becoming an adoptive family through OKDHS, you may contact your local Human Services Center in the county where you live.
If you live in a state other than Oklahoma, and wish to be considered for an Oklahoma child waiting for adoption, or would like to reach an adoption specialist in your area who can tell you more about our adoption program and answer all of your questions, contact OKDHS Adoption Services.
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