The Adoption Process
Adoption is a BIG decision that can be exciting, scary and happy, or unbelievable all at the same time! We promise to explain the process to you, and help you every step of the way.
1. Gather Information and Ask Questions
You’ve taken the first step! As you continue through the process, we encourage you to collect information from various sources. Check adoption websites and libraries. Ask questions…and if you don’t understand the answers…ask again! It’s important that you choose the agency best suited to meet your specific needs. We encourage you to move at a comfortable pace. We’re here to answer your questions, and we want you to feel confident in your adoption decisions.
2. Attend Pre-Service Classes
One of the first and most important steps you will complete is pre-service training. Required by the State of Ohio, the classes are designed to educate you about the children available for adoption, and to prepare you to parent them. We offer the classes throughout the year at various times and locations- Click here to view the schedules.
3. Submit Your Adoption Application
During the first session of training you will receive an application packet. Fill in the application form as completely and accurately as possible and return it to Northeast Ohio Adoption Services. If you have questions we are available to assist you- ask your pre-service trainer or call our office.
4. Home Study (a.k.a Family Assessment)
Once your application has been received, a NOAS social worker will be assigned to begin your Home Study. The process, which usually takes 4 to 6 months to complete, is designed to help us gain an understanding of you, your family, and your environment. Throughout the study we will be working with you to determine what type of child (or children) will be the best match for you.
5. Matching Process – Finding Your Child(ren)
Once your home study has been approved, you are ready for the next step. Keeping in mind the preferences you expressed during your home study, and working closely with you, your NOAS worker will begin the search to find a child(ren) for your family. 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.
This stage begins after you and your NOAS worker have identified a child for your family, AND after the child’s custodial county has selected you as the adoptive parent(s). A typical placement begins with a meeting at a restaurant or park, followed by an afternoon visit to your home, then builds to weekend visits, and overnight visits, until eventually the child moves into your home.
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 will be there to help. They work with the courts to complete the necessary paperwork and accompany the family on this most important day.
9. Post-adoption services
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.