Host: What is the process a family goes through when adopting an older child?
Carol Huttar: Well, as a family begins the process, it is important that they identify an adoption agency with whom they trust and are comfortable with and also an agency that can provide them with a high level of adoption support to each part of process. The adoption journey really can be categorized into six main steps. You have your application, your training, your home study, the matching process, the transition process and finalization of the adoption. The first step is the application process and after you have identified an agency the application lets them know more about who you are and your desire to adopt a child.
The second step is probably one of the most important and that is the training. All families who want to adopt an older child are required to have older child adoption training; usually it runs from 24 to 30 hours. The training is very comprehensive and covers a number of topics that the family will need to know about including family preparation, discipline, grief and loss issues, just to name a few. Once a family has completed the training they move on to the third step which is the home study, the home study is the process that ensures the physical, emotional and financial stability of a family who wants to adopt a child. It also ensures the physical safety of the home for a child. The home study is required a nationwide of all families who want to adopt regardless of the age of the child.
The fourth step is the matching process and this begins after the home study is completed. The matching process is really when the agency facilitates a connection with an older child and you decide to parent that child. That whole process can take anywhere from six months to a year and once the decision is made to parent then that family is considered matched with the child and they move on to the next step which is the transition process. The transition process occurs after that decision is made and the child moves into the perspective family s home and it is very important during this process that the family be well connected in the community, to family and friends who can offer encouragement and support during this period.
The last step and perhaps the most exciting is the process of finalization and this occurs no less than six months after the child moves into your home and it is through this legal process that your child becomes a permanent member of your family.