The adoption program lies at the heart of NOAS and is dedicated to
developing and supporting lifelong adoptive families for children who cannot
be reunited with their families of origin. Agency staff recruit parents for
waiting children and provide assessment, preparation and ongoing support to
children and adoptive/foster families.
Preparing the child
Becoming part of a new family is exciting and scary for children. The
children we serve have often waited for years for a permanent home. Staff
are passionate about their commitment to children and the importance of a
forever family. They work closely with every child to help them understand their
past and move toward a brighter future. We believe that knowing a child well
prior to placing them in an adoptive home greatly increases the likelihood
of success for all involved.
Child specific recruitment
Our staff members plan and implement a specific research-based strategy
for finding families for kids. A recruitment plan is specifically designed
for each child taking into account his/her unique personality. We use photos,
videos,community events and word of mouth to advocate for each child’s right
to a family to call his/her own. Special efforts are made to keep siblings together.
Potential adoptive families attend education groups. These classes are
geared to help parents decide if adopting a waiting child is right for them.
Potential adoptive and foster parents are trained together, and at the end of
the groups, folks can decide to pursue adoption, foster care, or both.
Click Here for a list of upcoming classes.
Along with NOAS Permanency Planning Specialists, parents will focus on
assessing their own skills and deciding what type of child(ren) will be right
for them. There will be ample time for questions. If a family chooses to be
both foster and adoptive parents, a single assessment is all that is needed.
Foster families who wish to adopt are given full consideration, as we
recognize the importance of stability for children. Generally, a family
assessment is completed within 4-5 months after the receipt of the family’s
application. The assessment needs to be updated every two years.
Learning about waiting children
Children are what this is all about! From the first contact with NOAS,
families can learn about children who are waiting for adoptive families.
If parents are interested in a child on referral to NOAS there will be ample
opportunity to talk with the NOAS worker who knows that child(ren) best. We
feel this is an essential ingredient in the recipe for success.
Click here to view some of the children waiting for a family.
Placements are not made based on how long a family has been waiting, but
rather through a matching process. Through a team effort involving both
parents and social workers, a match is made by considering the child’s needs
and the family’s ability to meet those needs.
Visiting plans are developed with all the parties involved and vary due
to the child’s age, travel distance, and other factors. During this time
initial plans will be made for school enrollment and other services the
child needs. Generally 2-4 visits occur over a several week period.
Both before and after a child is placed with an adoptive family, NOAS
staff are there to assist the family. Staff are sensitive and knowledgeable
about the process and the feelings all family members experience. They are
available to offer help, support and encouragement. Once a placement has
occurred, a social worker will continue to visit the home at least once a month.
When the family is ready to take the final step to make the new family
arrangement permanent, (generally 6-12 months after placement) NOAS staff w
ill be there to help. They work with the courts to complete the necessary
paperwork and accompany the family on this most important day.
After an adoption is legalized, our agency’s required involvement comes
to an end, however NOAS staff remain available to families whenever there
is a need–whether it is 3 months or 3 years after legalization. A home
visitor can assist families in locating needed services, linking them with
respite or just connect adoptive families with one another for support.
Since many of the children placed are school-age or older and know their
identifying information, NOAS supports the concept of openness in regards
to adoption. Many children have important connections with foster parents
or family members from their past which need to be maintained.