By Laura Herrera
Although National Adoption Month has concluded, it’s never too late to learn more about what adoption entails and the ways we can help kids feel at home in an adoptive family.
What is Adoption?
Adoption is the process of a child being permanently and legally placed in another person’s care when the parental rights of a biological parent have been terminated. After an adoption, as we often hear judges say, the family’s situation is considered under the law to be the same as if the child had been born to the adoptive parent.
Most Common Types of Adoption
Adoption is not only limited to foster care adoption but can also include kinship adoption, international adoption, etc.
At CASA, the most common type of adoption we see is kinship adoption.
“The most common type of adoption I’ve witnessed is relative ones – children who have gone to live with relatives.” Gladys Munoz, CASA Child Advocacy Specialist.
Kinship or relative adoption is when a biological relative adopts the child. At CASA, we believe a connection to family is crucial. Because of this, reunification of families is always CASA’s first goal for permanency if it’s safe to do so. However, if reunification is not possible, placing children with relatives is the next consideration for a child’s permanency plan.
Length of the Adoption Process
The length of the adoption process “differs case by case” states Gladys. In her experience, once the adoptive family and child are in the “adoption phase [of the permanency plan]…it can take up to six months to a year” for the process to be completed.
The length of this process, however, can be slightly shorter for foster parents versus relatives. This is due to relatives having to go through a licensing process to adopt the child while foster homes already have the necessary licenses needed.
Another factor that can affect the length of this process is the time the child has been in the care of the adopting party. Regardless of who is adopting the child, the child typically must have been in their care for at least six months for the adoption to occur.
CASA’s Role in the Adoption Process
Once the “adoption phase” of the permanency plan begins, our CASA volunteer’s role is to “be available and help the family out as best as possible” states Gladys. Gladys says this can include helping family members fill out all the necessary documentation, following up with CPS, and ensuring the process is moving along smoothly.
Ways to Make Kids Feel at Home
It can be a nerve-wracking time for the child as they begin their journey at their new permanent placement. Below are some resources on how to ease this anxiety and ensure they feel more at home:
- 10 Things Adoptive Parents Should Do When Bringing Their Child Home For the First Time
- Ways To Make An Adopted Child Feel Loved
- 11 Things You Can Do to Help an Older Adopted/Foster Child Feel at Home
Adoption is one way that families are created. CASA applauds adoptive and all other families doing their best to provide the love, safety, and support that all children need.
2021 Advocacy November Adoption