By Alexandra Hoops, Director of Adoption, Loving Hearts Adoption Services
For many prospective parents looking to grow their families through adoption, patience, and education are key.
Long before adoptive parents welcome their child into their arms, they must be equipped with the tools and educational resources to become an official “waiting family.”
Successful adoptions start with education and preparation.
At Loving Hearts, all prospective parents are required to complete adoption education materials wherein they learn about the adoption process and further connect with adoption staff to lay out their adoption plan. Part of this education process includes hopeful parents having conversations with the agency to determine which factors and placement “preferences” they are comfortable with moving forward (e.g., types of substance(s), if any, a child has been exposed to in utero, family history of mental illness, legal risks of a placement, child’s age, etc.).
After education requirements are met and the family has determined their preferences, the agency prepares and initiates a home study summary outlining what the family has been approved for and what their “preferences” are.
These home study summaries involve local, state and federal background checks, medical assessments, references, and home safety inspections to ensure that the family is well-equipped ahead of placement.
In effort to be selected by an expectant parent, waiting families typically create an introduction letter and profile book for expectant parents to view when selecting an adoptive family for their child. Upon the completion of an approved home study summary, Loving Hearts may begin presenting a family’s profile to expectant parents who are making an adoption plan for their child. These profile items are important for expectant parents, as this is their first look at who the waiting families are and their first opportunity to make emotional connections with a family that may become their child’s adoptive family.
The wait is worth it
Once the necessary educational requirements are fulfilled and the introduction materials are created, these hopeful parents must undergo one of the hardest parts of the adoption process – the waiting period.
It takes approximately 18-24 months to be matched with an expectant parent. The waiting period is influenced by many factors, such as the family’s “preferences”, and can extend beyond 24 months.
Additionally, expectant parents are encouraged to meet some of the waiting families to ensure they are comfortable with the potential adoptive family before making final decisions. Such a meeting is a valuable opportunity for all involved to create the most appropriate match.
In some cases, expectant parents may wish for the agency to select a family for them. From there, the agency will determine the placement of the child based on the expectant parent’s wishes, the adoptive parent’s preferences, and ultimately, what would be in the child’s best interest.
These waiting families are crucial in the adoption process to highlight the breadth of hopeful parents to expectant parents looking to find their child’s perfect match. Once the match is made and adoption plans are copasetic, a new relationship can continue growing as the birth families, adoptive families, and adoptees continue throughout the lifelong journey of adoption.
Having licensed and compassionate professionals and a trusted adoption agency is crucial to ensure that all parties in the adoption triad are supported and have the resources they need to navigate the journey.
Further information about the lifelong journey of adoption can be learned by calling 702.385.3351 or visiting lovingheartsadoption.org.
Alexandra Hoops is Director of Adoption at Loving Hearts Adoption Services, a child-placing agency in Nevada.