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Adoption Basics

Search Team



We are so happy that you’re considering adoption as a way to grow your family.   


The adoption process is a minefield of emotions, love, red tape, and the biggest game of “hurry
up and wait” you’ll ever play. While it can seem overwhelming, there are a lot of people who
can help along the way. At Adoptions Northwest, we are dedicated to helping you find the
education, strength, and dedication you will need to get through the process to provide a
forever home to a child.


Every family, and every adoption, is unique but there are several basic steps that apply to every

What Exactly is Domestic Adoption?

Domestic adoption refers to an adoption of a child within the United States. Adoption fees and
costs will vary widely, depending on the type of adoption and where you are looking to adopt
from. Domestic adoption can be very affordable and contain minimal red tape. 


Domestic adoption can happen directly with DHS, but this process is often exceptionally slow,
and they may not be processing adoptions at the time you’re looking to adopt.  For this reason,
DHS contracts with private agencies to assist them in writing home studies and working with
families through the adoption process. In Oregon, these are known as SNAC (Special Needs
Adoption Coalition) agencies.  There are two types of domestic adoption: foster care adoption
and independent adoption. Both have their advantages.


Foster Care Adoption:  There are currently over 500,000 children in foster care across the
United States. Of these, over 100,000 are available for “stranger adoption,” meaning a non-
relative can be the one to adopt. You do not have to be a foster parent to adopt from foster
care, but you will have to be certified as a foster parent, specific to the adopted child, until the
adoption finalizes. 


Most children in foster care will have some type of special need. These needs range from minor
educational delays to serious emotional, mental, and medical challenges. Do not let this
dissuade you from foster care adoption. It is the responsibility of your adoption professional to
work with you and to ensure that the child you are matched with is an appropriate fit for your
family. In our agency, this means we will guide you away from any child that has higher needs
than your family is prepared to support. 


In most cases, children adopted from foster care will have financial assistance available, in the
form of adoption subsidies, to help defray the legal, medical, and living costs associated with
adopting a child from foster care.


Independent adoption:  Any adoption that is not foster care adoption is independent adoption.  This can be a relative adoption, infant adoption, or step-parent adoption.  Financial assistance is not available for independent adoption.

Can We Adopt?


YES! We are happy to represent any family that meets the basic qualifications to adopt. You do
not have to be married, own a home, be a parent, not be a parent, or be straight.


                                                                            If you have a clean background, are financially and                                                                                              medically stable, and have love in your heart for a child, 
                                                                            you can adopt. We are not here to judge your lifestyle we                                                                                  are only interested in discovering if you can provide a safe,                                                                              stable, loving, forever home fo
r a child who needs it.  

                                                                             While there are specific qualifications that everyone has to                                                                               met, we are here to help you through each step of the                                                                                       home study to ensure you are a qualified candidate. At                                                                                     Adoptions Northwest, we are dedicated to assisting all                                                                                     qualified individuals through the adoption journey
                                                                             without prejudice.

Should We Adopt?

This is a huge decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. It can be one of the most rewarding
decisions you’ll ever make. It will change your life forever. While adoption may be the perfect
choice for your family, it is not the right choice for every family. It is imperative that all
immediate family members are heard during this decision process. Here are some things to

consider while making this decision.

          Am I ready? Is my family ready?

Now is a good time to consider these questions. The process is hard, long, and emotionally
challenging. Are you prepared to make sacrifices for a child? Have you fully considered what
you’ll be giving up to bring a child into your life? Are you ready to put their needs before yours?
Be honest with yourself and your family about why you want to adopt and how you think it will
change your life. Write down all the things you think will be positives and negatives. Talk over
these concerns with family members and with your adoption professional. We strongly
recommend joining an adoption support group. These are made up of individuals who have
adopted or are adopting, and they can provide valuable insight into the process.

Taking the time to answer these questions now will help you decide if adoption is right for your family.  We also recommend the following reading:


                    Parenting the Hurt Child by Gregory C Keck, PhD and Regina M. Kupecky, LSW.

                    A Child’s Journey Through Placement by Vera I. Fahlberg, M.D.

                   The Connected Child; Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn B Purvis, PhD.

 Who Should We Adopt?


The answer to this question will be different for every family, and it may even change over time
for your family.


          Do you want to adopt an infant, toddler, older child, or sibling set?

          How will this child change the dynamics in your family?  

          Do you already have children, and how will they integrate with the new child?


These are all great questions that need to be considered.

If you currently have children, be sure to

include them in the adoption decision and process.
They will be impacted by the addition of a child,

especially one who will likely need extra attention

and reassurance in the beginning. Making your

children feel heard and a part of the process will

help them welcome and bond with the new child. 

It's common to have a very narrow and

specific idea of the child that you want to adopt. The

reality is the child who joins your family is rarely the

child you thought you were looking for. It is
wise to begin this process with an open mind and heart.


Experience tells us it’s important when starting this process to be open to all
children. Limiting options will lengthen the experience and likely make it difficult, leading to
frustration. Many families find that by being open to a wide variety of children, their adoption
experience brings them an overwhelming amount of joy. Your adoption professional will help
you determine what type of adoption and child will be the best fit for your family.

Picking an Agency

This is one of the most important decisions you will make. You will want a licensed agency in
your state. Adoptions Northwest is licensed to assist families in Oregon through their adoption
journey. We will provide you with a dedicated professional to assist with the paperwork, to
work on your behalf during the matching process, to transition the child into your home, and to
work with you through finalization. Please email us (insert email link here) so we can set up an
initial meeting to start the process and to answer any of your initial questions.

Orientation Meeting

The orientation meeting is filled with information about adoption.  We discuss the process, the children, the expectations, and the legal expectations for families and agencies.  We will cover:


            Policies and Procedures of Adoption for parents and our agency

            Characteristics of the children available for adoption

            State Mandated Training on Attachment, Separation, Grief, Loss, Abuse, neglect and other                          traumas suffered by children.

            Adoptive Parent roles and responsibilities

            Cultural and Ethnic Identity and it’s importance to the child

            The importance of birth parents

            The Adoption Process

            Background Checks

            Adoptive Parent Training

            The Home Study

            Rights and Responsibilities of the agency and the family

            Family Selection and Matching

            Placement and Finalization

The Home Study

A home study results in a written report that is created from our investigation of your family,
home, relationships, and medical background. This process takes between 3 and 6 months, and
it involves quite a bit of paperwork. Don’t let the idea of an investigation scare you. It is our
responsibility to ensure that your family is an appropriate placement for a child, but remember
that our job is also to help you adopt a child. The most important thing you can do during the
home study is be honest. 

We want to help you become an adoptive parent. There are very few things that will eliminate
you as a candidate, but we have to know about everything in the beginning. Struggles are a part
of life for everyone. What matters is how you respond to them and how they helped you
develop as a person. Our past experiences can help us be ready to help a child who is facing
their own struggles.


You will need many documents, so now is a good time to start getting them together:

                               Birth certificate
                               Marriage certificate
                               Divorce decree
                               Tax documents
                               Financial statements


You’ll need to have a background check completed. We will review this with you during our
initial meeting.  


Medical/physicals – We will provide the forms for this during our initial meeting.


What do we do While We Wait?

While we are working on your home study, we recommend that you join an adoption support
group in your area and do additional reading and training in preparation as we move forward.
Take this time to network. Tell people you know that you’re going to adopt. Review parent
profiles on listing sites. See what it is that you like, or don’t like, about the way their profile
represents them. How does it make you feel about this family? You’re going to have to write a
parent profile as we move forward, so this will help you in creating your own profile. Examine
the photos included in the profile. What photos will you include in yours?


Your parent profile will includes photos and videos. On it, you’ll share your interests and what
makes your family unique. These things will help you stand out and connect with case workers
considering the adoption placement for kids on their caseload.

Matching and Selection

Now that your home study is complete, you’ll work with your adoption professional to match
your family with a waiting child. There are many web-based listing sites available for you to
view waiting children. We will work with you on how to submit your home study to a case
worker for consideration. This will be a time filled with emotion and doubt. We strongly
encourage you to talk with your adoption professional during this time. Share your frustrations,
your doubts, and your concerns. Again, we are here to help you through this process. We know
it’s difficult, we understand that doubt and discouragement will be a part of it, and we want to
help you. What you will be feeling is nothing new, but it will pass.



Once a match has been made, your time will be filled anticipation, preparation, and excitement.
Now is a time to prepare your home for your child’s arrival and to wait.  This is by far the most
emotional and trying time of the process. Your child is out there, and you’ve met her/him, and
you want them to come home! Use this time to better prepare yourself for your child’s arrival.
We recommend that you use this time to do the following:


Make sure you have all the necessary information about your child
Let schools, counselors, doctors, and your family know that you’ve been matched and that the
child will be placed in your home soon.


This is the beginning of the last phase of the adoption process. There will be many challenges
and many rewards. The most important thing you can remember during this time is that what

you are feeling and experiencing is normal. Talk with your adoption professional, and seek their
help and advice. They have a lot of it!


We are excited to assist you on your journey, and we are grateful for your decision to adopt
and to make a difference in the life of a child.

Email Us HERE to get additional information.

Family Time
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