Becoming a foster parent is a wonderful way to make a positive impact on the lives of children. If you plan to adopt, fostering can be a good way to learn about the process and prepare for the transition of bringing a new member into your family. The adoption process is complex, so here are three steps to help you successfully adopt a child through foster care.
1. Hire a Lawyer
Adoption is a legal process just like filing a lawsuit or getting a divorce. You probably know to hire a lawyer for the latter two scenarios, but you may not understand the importance of hiring an attorney to help with the adoption process. Finding the right adoption attorney such as Tully Rinckey is important for a smooth legal process.
A representative from Tully Rinckey Law can help you navigate the legal process of adoption to ensure you don’t miss any important dates or documents. A good lawyer can also advise you on the legalities of adopting a child when parental rights have not been terminated. In cases where the biological parents have no claim on the child for any reason the legal process of adoption is relatively smooth and easy, but things get complicated quickly when parental rights are involved.
2. Get the Paperwork Prepared
Whether you are fostering or adopting, there’s a lot of paperwork involved. You need the proper documentation and paperwork for either option, so having it all together is the best way to expedite the process and ensure you meet application deadlines. Requirements vary among states, so check your local laws regarding adoption to make sure you have all of the paperwork you need.
Once you have all of the documentation completed, you must have a way to keep it all organized. Having to search for a specific application when you are on a deadline can delay the process, so consider using a file cabinet to keep all of the paperwork organized. You can sort each type of application into labeled folders so that you can quickly find the documentation you need at any time while going through the adoption process.
3. Have Your Home Inspected
A home inspection is a standard step for both fostering and adopting. The state must inspect your home and make sure it meets certain safety standards before it will allow you to house a foster child. The faster you complete this inspection, the quicker you can bring foster children into your home and prepare to start the process of adoption. It’s important to be flexible and make any adjustments necessary to keep your house safe for children of all ages.
For example, you will need to install a backyard fence if you have a pool. You must have safety latches on your doors and cabinets, and you need to ensure that all sharp objects such as scissors and knives are locked away from little fingers. If you have stairs in your home, you will also need to invest in barriers to keep toddlers from tumbling. Many of these safety standards are age-appropriate, so you will likely need to choose which age group you plan to foster. Teenagers have different needs than babies, so although the adoption process is the same, there will be various safety standards in place based on age. In either case, these standards must be met before you will be allowed to accept foster children into your home. If parental rights have been terminated, you can choose to begin the adoption process.
Adoption is a lengthy process. If you want to foster a child with the intention of adopting, use these tips to prepare.