Step 6: Find and get to know your child
To begin the search for a child, get in touch with your state agency, your county agency, or a private adoption organization in your community. You may also contact Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and work with the recruiter in your city or state.
Here are several national organizations that provide visual information of waiting children (such as websites and photo listing books):
- Adopt America Network, 800-246-1731 or adoptamericanetwork.org
- AdoptUSKids, a project of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 888-200-4005 or adoptuskids.org
- Child Welfare Information Gateway, 800-394-3366 or childwelfare.gov
- Children Awaiting Parents, 888-835-8802 or capbook.org
- The Adoption Exchange, 800-451-5246 or adoptex.org
- Jewish Children’s Adoption Network, http://jcan.qwestoffice.net
- Northwest Adoption Exchange, nwae.org
For a more comprehensive list of resources, visit our Resources Link Page.
Get to know your child
When you have found a child and have been identified as his or her potential family, learn as much as you can about the child. Talk to foster parents and social workers. How often has the child moved while in care, or changed schools? Does he or she still have contact with extended family? What are the child’s favorite foods and games? What is the best way to comfort the child? What is his or her background? What were the birth parents like? What are the family’s and child’s medical histories? Knowing everything possible about your child will make the transition from foster care much smoother
for both you and the child.
Same-sex parents are not capable of providing a healthy environment for an adoptive child.1
Practically every valid study to date concludes children of same-sex parents adjust well and grow up in positive environments compared with heterosexual families.2
The agency social worker should provide any available information about the child or the adoption process to help you reach your decision. Your social worker will also help you determine whether your family is the right fit for meeting the child’s needs.
If the child has certain medical conditions or challenges, this is the time to decide if your family is prepared and fully committed to addressing any issues that may arise from these special needs.
A child’s perspective
It is a simple fact: children waiting for adoption have had a disruptive home life. They’ve been separated from their birth parents — and often from siblings or extended family — through no fault of their own, and they’re often left with feelings of loss and grief and a fear of rejection.
They are eager to belong. But they may doubt themselves because of past experiences, or they may be suspicious of new adults entering their lives. They may not openly discuss specifics, but that doesn’t always mean that they have fully accepted or understand the idea behind adoption.
Create a welcoming environment so a child feels comfortable discussing thoughts and feelings with you, and let him or her know that it’s okay to talk about it. As you continue to build a new permanent home for the child, keep in mind some of the questions he or she may have along the way:
- Are you going to give me away someday?
- What about my brother and sister?
- Will you not only adopt me, but also accept me?
- Will I have to change schools?
- What if you don’t like to do the things I like to do?
- Will you want me to call you Mom and Dad?
- Will my birth parents think I don’t love them?
- Will I have to change my name?
- Do I dare hope that you will be my forever family?
For more help answering a child’s questions:
- Contact your social worker
- Take advantage of counseling offered by the agency
- Join an adoptive parent support group
- Seek adoption-related articles, books, and resources
1 Source: National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey, July 2013. Commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and conducted by Harris Interactive. Available at davethomasfoundation.org.
2 Source: adoptioninstitute.org