While each adoption process is unique, the following are several steps necessary to adopt a baby.
To learn more about Open Arms Adoption Network, the first step is to attend a free information meeting. We offer these meetings every few weeks in our various office locations. When you attend a meeting, you will meet a member of the Open Arms team who will explain our process and philosophy to you, as well as answer all of your questions and address your concerns.
After attending an information meeting and learning more about our program, the next step is an orientation meeting. This is a personal session, where we can address your unique situation and circumstances which led you to adoption, and discuss any other questions or concerns that you wish in private.
To get started with the Open Arms process, you will complete an application packet, which will be sent to you after your personal orientation session. Included in this application packet is all the paperwork that you need to complete prior to our beginning your homestudy. Items included in the application packet are documents to obtain criminal clearances, references, medical and financial forms, etc. The application process can seem a bit overwhelming, which is why we are always available to answer questions and help you along.
At this point in the process, an adoption coordinator will be assigned to you to work with you through the next phase of your process. Your adoption coordinator will complete in-home interviews with your family, as well as prepare all necessary paperwork to complete the homestudy process. You will be guided through the creation of your adoptive family profile, which is a booklet unique to you, that we share with expectant parents considering adoption for their babies. At the completion of your homestudy, you will become an approved Open Arms family ready to adopt a baby.
We offer a vast array of educational programming to educate you on all topics related to adoption, attachment and bonding, and more. Adoptive families are required to attend certain workshops, while others are recommended and optional. Topics include titles such as “Newborn Care 101,” “The Hospital Experience,” “Living as a Multi-Cultural Family,” etc. These workshops are a great way to prepare you for adopting, as well as giving you the opportunity to get to know other families in our Open Arms community going through the same process as you.
Once your homestudy and family profile is complete, your profile will be shown to expectant parents considering adoption. While the exact timeline of when you will become a parent is not known, we will be there to support you during the wait. In addition to our “Weight of the Wait” workshop, we offer a group called Coffee Talk specifically designed to offer support to our waiting families. Additionally, your adoption coordinator is ready and available to meet with you during this time to offer additional support and education, if desired.
When your family profile is chosen by a potential birth parent, we will contact you to fill you in about the woman who has interest in your profile. During this conversation, we will share information with you about her; typically, we are able to inform you of her hobbies, talents, why she chose you, and the details of her pregnancy, including prenatal information. Should the adoption move forward, the birth parent typically signs legal adoption documents a few days after giving birth, followed by the adoptive family completing paperwork which grants you physical custody of the baby.
Your adoption coordinator will meet with your family within 2 weeks of placement, and will follow the post-placement schedule as dictated by the state in which the adoption occurred.
The last step in the legal process is to finalize your adoption after successful post-placement visits and reports have been completed. At the time of finalization, the agency transfers guardianship to you. We will work with your attorney throughout this process to make certain that all necessary paperwork is completed and finalization takes place in a timely manner.