Everything you need to know about adoption

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  • 1. ==== ====Adoptionhttp://tiny.cc/7sxx7==== ====This article is the first in a series. It is in no way complete or thorough. Please look for furtherarticles in the future. There are many legal aspects to adoption that vary from state to state, courtto court, and case to case. You will need an adoption attorney for complete advice on the propersteps to take for your situation.Step 1: Educate Yourself about AdoptionTalk to adoptive parents, read pertinent books and articles, and contact local and nationalorganizations that can provide you with information about adoption. Acquaint yourself withcommon adoption terms, and learn about relevant laws in your state to make sure that you arefollowing legal guidelines as you pursue your adoption.Step 2: Contact an adoption attorney.Adoption is a complex legal process. an attorney versed in adoption can give you advice specificto your circumstances.There are several places that you can look to find an adoption attorney. The local yellow pagesunder adoption attorneys, the local court system, the local or state bar association, the AAA(Association of Adoption Attorneys), and sometimes local adoption organizations or agencies willhave listings.Step 3: Consider the type of child you can best parent.Open your mind to the different children available for adoption. You will need to consider age,race, number, ethnic background, special needs issues, and sex. Each of these possibilitiesopens new doors for you. The type of child you choose will affect your waiting time.Step 4: Decide what type of adoption is right for you.There are several kinds of adoption, each with its own complications, wait times and advantages.No matter which option you choose, starting with an attorney is always your best choice.Public Social Service Agency AdoptionPublic agency adoption involves any child in public foster care, those involuntarily terminated fromtheir parents, most children with special needs (abuse issues, medical needs, sibling groups, age,etc.), or any child in the custody of the state or county. Cost is usually none or minimal.Private Agency Adoption

2. Private agency adoption offers more flexibility, younger children and babies. Private agencyadoption fees start at $15,000. Intercountry, also called foreign or international, adoption is also inthis category.Independent AdoptionIndependent adoption involves an attorney, the birth parents, and the adoptive parents. Thechoise of adoptive parents depends on the individual birth parents wishes. Costs includeattorney fees, court costs, travel and any support given to the birth mother.Paid Facilitator (Unlicenced Agency) AdoptionPaid facilitator adoption is not allowed in most states and poses a legal risk. Facilitators are notlicenced in most states. Paid facilitator adoption offers less protection for the adopting couple,birth parent, or the child. Some facilitators charge the same or more than licenced adoptionagencies. Check carefully when choosing this option.Step 5: Investigate ways to cover adoption expensesAdoption agency service charges vary widely. Always request information from the agency prior tosigning any contracts. Many agencies reduce service fees to families who adopt children withspecial needs. You will need a home study, and because adoption is a legal process, you willneed an attorney. The cost of a home study vary. Plan to spend between $2,000-$3,000. Attorneyfees and court costs can range from $1,500 to $7,000 depending on the complexity of your case.Fortunately, due to federal and employer-initiated programs, parents have several options forcovering the cost of special needs adoption.Loans - Adoptive Families can apply for flexible loans such as home equity loans andinsuranceloans.Grants - The National Adoption Foundation (NAF) provides eligible families with financialassistance, services, and support before, during, and after their adoptions are finalized.Employer assistance - Employers that offer adoption benefits may provide workers with:- direct cash assistance for adoption expenses- reimbursement of approved adoption expenses- paid or unpaid leave (above and beyond federal leave requirements established through theFamily and Medical Leave Act of 1993)- resource and referral servicesTax Credit - Since tax year 2002, adoptive parents whose annual adjusted gross income is lessthan $190,000 have been able to take advantage of up to $10,000 in tax credits or per child tooffset qualifying out of pocket adoption expenses.For special needs adoptions finalized in 2003 and after, adoptive parents can claim up to $10,000adoption tax credit per child regardless of their out of pocket expenses. The tax credit can becarried over for 5 years if not all used in the first year. 3. Adoption Assistance - If adopting a child who has special needs, adoptive parents may be eligiblefor a federal or state adoption subsidy (also known as adoption assistance). Special needschildren are considered hard-to-place and therefore qualify the adopting parents for specialservices. Special need is decided by each state but is always based on age, number of siblings inthe group, medical needs, or history of severe abuse or neglect. These children can be from apublic or private agency but must fit the state criteria to qualify. Benefits vary from state to state,but commonly include:- monthly cash payments- medical assistance- social services- one time adoption costs (travel, legal fees, court costs)Step 6: Begin the Home Study ProcessA home study is best described as an educational and evaluation process designed to help yoursocial worker learn more about your ability to provide a stable home, to teach you about adoptionand its affect on children and families, and to prepare you to parent a child whose experiences andhistory may be different from your own.With few exceptions, everyone who hopes to adopt must have a completed home study.Depending on the agency, the worker, and the prospective parents cooperation, the process cantake from two months to a year. The following items are commonly required during the homestudy process:- an autobiographical statement a statement you create about your life history;- certified copies of birth certificates for you, your partner, and any children;- a certified copy of your marriage license- certified copies of divorce decrees- the death certificate of a former spouse- certified copies of the finalization or adoption decrees for any adopted children- child abuse and criminal record clearances, or a notarized statement from the police declaringthat you and your partner have faced no felony convictions- income verification (may include tax returns, W-2 forms, and paycheck stubs)- a statement of health provided by a physician, which might include lab test results- written references from friends, employers, neighbors, etc.- finger prints- interviewsStep 7: Attend Adoption and Parenting ClassesPublic agencies require adoptive-foster parenting classes. These classes are designed toacquaint prospective parents with issues that can arise when adopting a child in state custody.Private agencies or attorneys may also require some form of parenting training. Contact your localFoster Parent Association or your state or county department of social services for information ontraining available in your area. 4. Step 8: Begin Searching for a ChildIf you adopt through an agency, learn how the agency matches birth and adoptive parents. Homestudied families, approved to adopt, can register to become a site member of AdoptUSKids.org. Ifyou are a family or individual at the beginning of the adoption process, you can useAdoptUSKids.org to view children awaiting adoption in the United States. You do not need a "userID" or "password" to search the listings of waiting foster children and read their profiles.Photolistings are also available for individual states. (These lists do not include those childrenavailable through private agencies, independent sources, or facilitators.)To keep the process moving, stay in close contact with your agency and offer to help in the searchprocess by reviewing photolistings, attending matching parties, or updating your parent profile.The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) maintains a listing of adoptiveparent support groups, as well as other good sources of information about special needs adoption.To request a list of local support groups and other adoption resources, contact NACAC atinfo@nacac.org.Some portions of this articles information are provided by the National Adoption InformationClearinghouse.For Websites and Additional Resources -http://www.10kidsathome.com/recentarticle%20suppliment.htmlJanelle Spaulding: Stay-at-home mom and teacher to 10, 8 of whom are adopted. Author of -http://www.10kidsathome.com - The Family Assistant Newsletter: A resource for parents andfamilies.Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Janelle_Spaulding==== ====Adoptionhttp://tiny.cc/7sxx7==== ====


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