Frequently Asked Questions
- What is adoption?
Legally, adoption is the process of transferring parental rights from one set of parents to another. For adoptive parents, it is accepting full legal custody of a child not born to them and raising the child as their very own. The birth family would not retain any legal rights to the child(ren).
- How can I be sure adoption is the right decision for me?
Making a decision for adoption is one of the most important decisions a person will ever make. This is why counseling and assistance in this process can be very helpful. An Agape maternity counselor will guide you through your decision making, including exploring options, weighing pros and cons, anticipating consequences and clarifying the options that are best for you.
- Is adoption harmful to a child?
In almost every situation, it is not harmful. Adoption provides a child with a loving family who have been carefully screened and approved. Adoption provides an opportunity for individuals to grow their families. Because of this, they are extremely grateful for the sacrifice of birth mothers and are usually highly motivated parents. Depending on the age of the child at adoption, they may be more aware of the events taking place in the adoption. It is therefore the responsibility of the family and professionals to help them process their feelings about this event.
- What is “open adoption?”
Open adoption refers to the degree of open contact and communication between the birth parents and the adoptive family. There is a wide variety of contact in open adoptions and can range from occasional letters or photos to meetings between the families thorough the year.
- Can I choose and meet the adoptive family?
Yes! This is part of what's involved in openness in adoption. Birth parents are given extensive information on prospective adoptive families and have the opportunity to meet and interview them. The choice of a family to adopt your child is yours to make. At Agape, we play the role of bringing people together. We help each one to take more charge of their destiny and work together toward mutually satisfying outcomes.
- How carefully are the adoptive parents screened and evaluated?
Each family goes through an extensive evaluation process called an "Adoptive Home Study." This includes a series of interviews and reference checks to determine their emotional stability, parenting understanding and ability, financial security, motivation and understanding of adoption, marital stability, etc. Not everyone who applies to adopt is approved.
Can the adoptive parents truly love my child?
This is also a common fear, but is again based in an exaggerated perspective of a worst case situation which does not happen. Adoptive parents open their hearts to a child and love the child as if born to them. Bonding and attachment begins immediately and it is both ways! If you know an adoptive parent, you know how true this is.
- What is the birth father’s role in the adoption?
Ideally, the birth parents have discussed making a plan for adoption and are both willing participants in this process. The birth mother and birth father will need to sign the appropriate paperwork to surrender their rights as legal parents. However, we understand that there are many reasons why the father of the baby may not to be involved. If the birth father is not in favor of adoption, there may be some legal intervention required. We can help you understand the laws in your state and the options you can consider as you proceed further.
- How confidential is adoption?
Agape takes confidentiality very seriously in the adoption process! Any information received about you is considered privileged and confidential. Sharing of this information only occurs with a signed release of information. In open adoptions, there are instances where more information may be shared between the birth and adoptive families, but this is also done with your permission and participation.
- How do I begin the process of becoming an adoptive parent?
We are so happy to hear of your interest! Any prospective adoptive parent will need to contact the Agape office for information. Generally, the process includes an orientation or workshop, completion of an application and completion of a home study. There are several levels within each step and Agape staff is happy to assist with any questions you have.
- What financial obligations are required for adoption?
Because ever adoption is different, it is best to discuss financial obligations with Agape staff. Generally, there are fees paid for the adoption workshop, home study and placement. There are several financing and grant opportunities available and Agape staff are happy to provide information to you.
- What is foster care?
Foster care is the ability of a family to take temporary custody of a child or children who have experienced abuse or neglect at home. Foster parents provide housing, food and general care for children in their home until the child’s parents are able to provide adequate care. Foster care is usually coordinated through a state’s child welfare agency.
- How can I become a foster parent?
A substantial amount of training is required to become a foster parent. Those interested in fostering must complete the state’s required “pre-service” training as well as the completion of a Foster Care Home Study to assess your emotional stability, parenting understanding and ability, financial security, motivation for fostering and your ability to care for children who have experienced a history of trauma.
- What types of children could I have in my home for foster care?
There are several different characteristics of children that come into foster care. The vast majority have experienced a history of trauma and need adults to show love, compassion, empathy and concern for their wellbeing. Children in foster care can range from age newborn to 21. During the home study process, Agape will work with you to determine the appropriate age, sex, characteristics, etc that are appropriate for foster children in your home.
- What contact will I have with the child’s birth family?
There may be opportunities for contact with the family of a child in foster care. This could occur at scheduled meetings, court hearings or other events. There are various types of foster parents with varying levels of communication and contact with the birth family. Your role as a foster parent will be determined with each case. It is important to note that foster parents will explore their beliefs and feelings about birth families during the home study process.
- What type of support will I receive while fostering?
Every foster family is assigned an Agape case manager that supports you throughout the time that your home is certified. If there are ever any concerns about the foster care process, children in your home, discipline practices or general communication, just give your case manager a call. There is 24/7 access to Agape staff in the case of an emergency. Financial support in the form of a per diem is also available to foster parents. This per diem rate varies depending on the type of care each child needs and their age.