Once your Adoption Home Study is Approved
Adoption through Foster Care
Some ways families get matched:
- Local recruiters will likely receive a copy of your adoption home study (may be specific to Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties). They will review to see if your family is a potential match for the children they are recruiting for.
- Matching Events: Events that waiting children and approved families attend. They interact with one another to determine if there is a potential match. In Central Florida, these are usually hosted by Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters, but have also been hosted by the agencies. In many, a brief screening will be done to ensure that it is appropriate for you to attend. If you are hoping to be matched with a child under the age of 3, without siblings, that child will not likely be at the event. While matching events can be awkward, please be sensitive adults and do not make it more awkward for the child. It is ok to talk with a child even if you may not be the best match for that child.
- Online photolistings: Take a look at one of the many websites that host information about waiting children, such as AdoptUSKids, Adopt Florida, Children Awaiting Parents, A Family For Every Child, etc. You then find the contact information on that website. You call and say, “Howdy! I am an approved adoptive parent/family, and I would like to learn more about Johanni to see if our family is a good match.” The worker may ask for a copy of your home study directly from you or request that it be sent by your assigned adoption specialist. Every state/agency handles this process differently.
So you think you may be a good match for the child. Here is what may happen next:
- An exchange of information. You provide your home study, they may provide a child study, Comprehensive Behavioral Health Assessment, or other information to help everyone determine if this is a potential match. At some point, a full disclosure process will occur. This involves a review of the child’s history, strengths and needs, and a time to answer any questions you may have. Many agencies utilize this form (Adoption Disclosure Form). It may be possible that the worker will want to set up visits before the disclosure process. In my opinion, it is better practice to know the child’s strengths and needs to determine if you are a good match BEFORE meeting the child. If you know that you are not capable of parenting a child with certain needs, it is better to not lead yourself or the child to think there is a match and then later learn about something that would make you back away from the match.
- You learn about the child and all think there is a potential match. There may be several families interested in the same child. Agencies handle this situation differently. There may be a “match meeting” where the child’s team gathers to review potential families and make a decision. This can be quite stressful for families being considered. If you are not selected, as hard as it sounds, try to not take it personal!! There is so much information you will not know about the child that will influence the team’s decision. Just keep in mind: There are SO many children waiting for their forever families! Keep searching for that child or children that need you.
- If you are a good match with the child, I recommend you try to meet with the child’s team in some manner to discuss a visitation plan. If you have not received thorough information about the child yet, find out when this happens!! Again, I believe it is better to know the important information about the child BEFORE beginning visits. Usually, visits will first be supervised by someone that knows the child or who the child is comfortable with. After supervised visits, the visits will progress to unsupervised visits, and eventually overnight stays, progressing until the child is placed in the home. The team will work with you determine the best visitation plan.
TIPS: What to do on Visits
DO bring pictures of your family, activities, pets, community, etc.
DO NOT bring expensive gifts. This is the beginning of your relationship. It may become troublesome if the child expects your relationship to be one where he/she gets gifts all the time. Same goes for trips to big theme parks. I recommend meeting at a neutral location that allows you to interact with each other well.
In some cases, you may actually be matched through circumstances
- Utilize an agency to get on their waiting list
- Try to advertise yourself
- Let your friends and families know. It’s interesting how often folks become matched once they learn about a relative/friend/coworker who is considering making an adoption plan for their born/unborn child.