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Adoption Basics



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 to help along the way.  At Adoptions Northwest we are all dedicated to helping you find the education, the strength, and the dedication you will need to get through the process and providing a forever home to a child.

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

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 happened directly with DHS, but this process is often exceptionally slow, if they’re even 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 or family friend will adopt.  You do not have to be a foster parent to adopt from foster care.  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 ensure that the child you are matched with is an appropriate fit for your family.  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 for a child who

                                                                                          needs it.  

                                                                                          While there are specific qualifications that everyone

                                                                                          has to meet, 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 and 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?  Do you have love to share with 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 your adoption professional.  We strongly recommend joining an adoption support group.  These are individuals who have adopted or are adopting and can provide valuable insight to 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 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 our family?  Do you already have children and how will they integrate with the new child?  These are all great questions and 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 them 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 that 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 has brought 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, work on your behalf during the matching process, transition the child into your home, and finally work with you through finalization.  Please email us (insert email link here) so we can set up an initial meeting.  We will answer your questions, provide additional information, and answer any questions you have at that time.


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 is written report with the results of our investigation of your family, home, relationships, and medical background.  This process takes between 3 – 6 months and 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 we are here to help you adopt.  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 simply eliminate you as a candidate but we have to know about everything in the beginning.  It is the difficult parts of life that will make you a strong candidate as an adoptive parent.  Struggles are a part of life for everyone.  It’s how you responded to those struggles that have made you who you are now, ready to be there for a child who is facing struggles.


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

            Birth Certificates

            Marriage Certificates

            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?

You will be able to create a profile that includes photos and videos.  You’ll share your interests and what makes your family unique and the best family for a waiting child.  These things will help you better 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, you doubt, 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 just 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:

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 the child will be placed in the home soon.


This is the beginning of the last phase of the adoption process.  There will be many challenges and many rewards.  You will feel the euphoria of parenthood and the absolute bottom.  The most important thing you can remember during this time is that what you are feeling, experiencing, and planning for is normal.  Talk with your adoption professional, seek their help and advice.  They have a lot of it!!


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

Email Us HERE to get additional information.

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