Step 1: Inquiry Phase
You begin the adoption process with Adoption Horizons by making an inquiry contact by phone. During this brief interview, you will provide us with basic information that will help us share some important facts about adoption and our agency. After this contact, you will receive an information pamphlet about our agency and other adoption materials.
Next, you are invited to attend our Meet-the-Agency Night, which is held on the third Wednesday of each month from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. at our office. At this meeting, you will learn the history of Adoption Horizons, the role of the governing Board of Directors, and state licensing features. In addition, you will be given an overview of the adoption process, expenses and how the homestudy process works. Often, a Board member, social work staff member and an adoptive parent will also attend.
You are then invited to a free consultation meeting with a program director to discuss specific program guidelines and review qualifying information. This appointment takes 1 to 1?? hours and requires both potential applicants (if married) to be present. At the end of the consultation, and an adoption appears feasible, you will receive an Adoption Horizons Application Packet. (Cost: $75.00)
A motivated family can easily complete this part of the adoption process in one to four weeks.
Step 2: Application & Approval Phase
Adoption Horizons works with about twenty new clients and five birthmothers a year and accepts clients all-year-round for all programs. Applicants may begin the adoption process as soon as their application has been reviewed and accepted and they have contracted for services.
When an application has been accepted, the applicant is then invited to “Contract for Adoption Services” which takes 1 to 100 hours. During this meeting, the family will be asked to sign various contracts, and will be given an orientation to their “Contract Binder” which contains all the materials needed from the start through the finalization of their adoption. The homestudy and program fees are due at this time. ($3,500 $4,500)
Now a family’s journey to adopt their child begins. Shortly after contracting, the family’s preliminary information will be forwarded to their assigned social worker who will make contact with them to set up their homestudy appointments and home visit.
Over the next three months, the family will be asked to do the following:
1. Meet and talk by phone to other experienced adoptive families
2. Collect and complete all documents necessary for the homestudy
3. Make a final program selection
4. Attend all homestudy meetings and start to prepare their program’s dossier or presentation packet
5. Complete the foster care license application (Fost Adopt)
6. Attend adoption education classes
7. Attend Meet-the-Agency Night & While-U-Wait Meetings
A motivated family can complete this process in 90 days.
Step 3: Waiting / Search and Referral Phase
Upon completion of your homestudy and foster care licensing (if pertinent), you are now ready to accept a child into your home. We call this the “waiting/search/referral” stage of your adoption. This period can last from two months to two years depending on your selected program. The search and referral stage is the most difficult of the entire process. All the paperwork, visits and classes have been completed, therefore you have taken care of most of the agency process until referral. This time period can be very difficult for families, as often the agency cannot give you a clear idea about when you will get a referral. This varies from program to program, but for some programs, you must exercise patience; and Adoption Horizons cannot guarantee the placement of any child. A family must understand there are many factors that are outside of our control when processing an adoption.
The waiting/search/referral stage is very important because it gives you time to prepare for receiving the child.
Some of the activities and preparations we recommend during this time are:
-Read about your child’s culture
-Decorate your child’s new room
-Get in shape so you can walk long distances and/or carry a heavy baby
-Take parenting or infant care classes
-Connect with other adoptive parents
-Read about special needs cultural-related issues
-Prepare family members or siblings
-Attend Adoption Horizons monthly While-U-Wait group meetings
-Attend adoption education classes
Once you have been offered a child, the following happens:
1. You receive a picture or video of the child and available background information
2. You meet the birthmother during her pregnancy (Infant Placement Program)
3. Meet with the agency to discuss your referral
4. You sign a post-placement contract and pay the fee ($1,000 $3,500)
5. You prepare for travel or travel multiple times to meet the child
6. You work with your social worker to prepare for the child’s homecoming
Step 4: Post Placement / Legal Adoption Phase
Once your child is placed, you will initiate the legal process to either adopt or re-adopt in California. Families often lose interest in completing the necessary paperwork as they now have a new little person who is occupying their time and space. Many families find it particularly difficult to complete the paperwork once the child arrives. We have a finalization clerk who will maintain contact with you to assure that this final leg of the adoption process gets completed in a timely manner. You will be asked to turn over key documents, as well as attend monthly Post Placement meetings.
Also during this time, you will be busy doing the following:
1. Settling your child into your home
2. Introducing your child to friends and relatives
3. Attending and receiving monthly guidance and support from your adoption social worker
4. Working on adjustment issues or attending counseling sessions
5. Completing the court documents for adoption
6. Attending a court appointment to make your adoption final