November is National Adoption month, and Saturday the 17th is National Adoption Day. Since many of us at SureID are adopted or have adopted children, this is a topic dear to our work family, and we want to encourage you to think about how adoption can be faster, easier, and better for everyone.
We know that navigating the adoption process can be challenging. To help, we reached out to Michelle, a Software Engineer at our parent company, Sterling Talent Solutions. As a single mom who runs a mother’s group with over 1000 members, she knows a lot of people who have adopted children, and she recently went through the process herself.
Michelle had a lot of good advice. In this post, we’ll summarize what she recommends and give you links to some Facebook groups that might help.
Ten Tips on Navigating the Adoption Process
1. Make a checklist of the documents you’ll need
Most agencies should have a checklist, but you may have additional needs based on your individual situation. Make sure you know what you need and have those resources on hand. Make a note of when you’ll need to renew these documents, too – usually on an annual basis.
Also, keep your originals when you can. It doesn’t hurt to scan them and have them available to send electronically.
2. Get your federal record with fingerprints
SureID provides access to your federal criminal record for adoption and can get you a copy of your record within 24 hours in most cases (where states allow it). Here’s where to get more information, and go to adoption.fingerprints.sureID.com to start your federal record request.
3. Prepare a budget
Be honest with yourself here and make sure you can afford to adopt. Work with your agency or department to ensure you know all the costs associated with adopting before you start the process. Some states help with costs, and many organizations will provide discounts to families who adopt, so check all your options.
4. Unite the family
Bringing a new person into the household is challenging and exciting for everyone. If you already have children, make sure they are on board and happy about adding a sibling.
5. Be open
The more open you are about the types of children you will adopt (age range, special needs, siblings, etc.), the more quickly you will be matched with children.
6. Don’t forget US children
More than 117,000 children in the US are in foster care, waiting to find permanent families.
7. Apply to more than one agency
If your state’s laws allow it, apply to multiple agencies; if not, pick your agency carefully. Ensure that they will accept your family situation (single parent, two parents of the same sex, etc.), and do your research (see our Facebook group links at the end of this post). And don’t forget that you can adopt directly from the Department of Children and Families in some states.
8. Foster a child!
Every state needs good foster parents, and many foster parents end up adopting the children placed with them.
9. Attend an Adoption Party
Once you are far enough along in the adoption process, your agency or department will allow you to attend events where you can meet children. These gatherings put no pressure on the children or you to make a decision, so attend as many as you can. Later, a social worker can help match you with children for one-on-one meetings. This is a great way for you to figure out what kind of child you want to adopt and to get an idea of the process involved.
10. Get support
Adoption is a long and sometimes difficult process, and a lot of families are going through it. Reach out to these families for support and suggestions. Here are a few Facebook groups you can consider joining:
- Single Mom Adoption
- Single Adoptive and Foster Parents
- Foster Care Adoption: Seeking Forever Families
SureID Supports Adoption!
Yes, our business can help you collect the personal documentation you need to adopt. But this post is really about the people here who have been touched by adoption, like:
- Maria, who was adopted herself
- Ned and Kristin, both of whom have sisters that were adopted
- Nick, whose mom, wife, and mother-in-law are all adopted!
We wish all those families touched by adoption out there a great National Adoption Day!