Over the last 36 years, we’ve brought over 10,000 children from around the world home to loving families. While adoption can be complicated (any family who’s been through it will tell you that!) and each adoption process is unique, the basic steps that need to be taken are the same. Let’s take a closer look at how a child goes from hope to home.
It all begins when our Family Finders team receives information on a child who needs a family. This information comes from the government body that oversees adoptions in that country, or, in the case of domestic adoption, from a state social worker. Often, these children will have medical needs that may have made it more difficult to find a family. We also see many healthy children, but who are older than the children many families wish to adopt.
Right away, our family finders prepare a packet that includes all the information we have about that child: photos, medical reports, and any available information about how the child came into care. This packet can be easily shared with potential adoptive families.
We’ll use a variety of methods to reach out and find just the right family. Often, the first step is to post the child’s photo on our secure website. This gives potential families an opportunity to see the children who need them. This is one of the fastest ways to match children with families.
While the child’s photo is posted, our Family Recruitment Specialist will reach out through her extensive network of adoptive families, support groups, special needs resource groups, and other advocacy groups. We also send out a newsletter that features the children most in need of families.
When an interested family receives a packet with information about a child, we’ll have them take it to a doctor who specializes in adoption medicine. This gives the family a clear picture of their potential child’s health status, and gives them the opportunity to prepare themselves for any medical needs that child might have.
Once a family is found, our social services team steps in and gets the family started on the homestudy process. A homestudy is a legal document that provides information about a family’s background, resources, and adoption plans to foreign governments, and to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Throughout the homestudy process, the family receives training and education on adoption topics, such as attachment and maintaining their child’s cultural heritage.
As soon as the homestudy is complete, the family is matched with a case manager who is an expert in that particular country’s adoption process. Together, the family and their case manager will work through the paperwork process to make a child legally theirs, and make travel arrangements to bring their child home.
Once that child is home, WACAP is here not only to celebrate with the family, but also to provide ongoing support and resources. A social worker will visit the family in their home a few times, and we’ll send post-placement reports back to a child’s orphanage or country of birth.
The journey from hope to home is one we’ve taken with over 10,000 children. We’re looking forward to taking it with the next 10,000 and beyond.