Who Are the Children Waiting for Adoption? Catholic Family Services is primarily an infant adoption agency serving the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama and is open to Christian faiths. Infants placed with Catholic Family Services for the purpose of adoption are from all ethnic, social and medical backgrounds. Many have backgrounds with prenatal drug exposure or parents with mental health challenges. Adoption is a choice made by the biological parents when their circumstances prevent them from being able to parent and they choose a plan of adoption to ensure that their child would be raised in a loving, Christian home.
What is an Open/Closed Adoption? Open adoption is a form of adoption in which the biological and adoptive families develop a relationship that has varying degrees of contact such as meeting, sharing names, and visits with the adopted child. A closed adoption is where there is no contact or sharing of information. Openness in adoption is becoming the norm in adoptions. While the adoptive parents are the legal parents, both the biological and adoptive families agree to the amount of contact and how open the relationship will be. Catholic Family Services recognizes and supports the needs of the Adoption Triangle: The child, the biological parents and the adoptive parents. Can I Ask for More Information about the Child I Want to Adopt? Once you have been selected for a particular child, adoption agencies are required to share with you any information that they have about the child, with the exception of identifying information about the birth family. Unfortunately, they may not always have a great deal of information, especially if there is minimum contact with a biological parent.
Can the Biological Parents Come Back to Take a Child? For a child to be adopted, the biological parents must relinquish legal parental rights or have parental rights terminated by the Court. Biological parents have the legal right to a five-day time period after signing the relinquishment to change his/her mind. However, once the time period has passed and the adoption is finalized, the biological parents have no legal tie to the child.
How Long Will It Take to Adopt? There are two stages in the adoption process: pre-placement and post-placement. Placement is when the child enters your home, pre-placement describes the time before and post-placement the time after. There is a pre-placement waiting period for all adoptions. The time frame, like the cost, varies with the type of child being adopted. The wait is typically between three to seven years for a healthy infant. The time waiting can be shorter if you are open to considering an infant who is of another ethnicity, medical complications (minor) and prenatal drug exposure.
After placement, the agency will supervise your family for a length of time before finalization can occur. Typically, this post-placement time period will be no less than six months from the time of placement.
What Is a Home Study? A home study is a series of meetings with a social worker to provide more in-depth information about adoption and help prepare an applicant for parenting an adopted child. The home study process requires both individual and joint interviews with both members of a couple. Applicants are asked to provide written information about themselves and their life experiences.
Agencies also require certain documents: a marriage license, birth certificate, medical report, criminal check and child abuse clearance. Personal character references are also required. The home study includes at least one visit to your home. The time it takes to complete the home study will vary based upon the needs of each adoptive family but is usually 3-4 months.
How Does Foster Care Differ from Adoption? Foster care is meant to be temporary shelter for a child; generally, the plan is for the child to return to the parents when they are able to provide care or to the child is made available for adoption.
If you wish to become a foster parent, please contact your local county Department of Human Resources (DHR) or Alabama Department of Human Resources at 334-242-9500.
How Can I Begin the Adoption Process? • Contact us for an information letter and ask to be placed on the adoption inquiry list. • Schedule an appointment for a meeting to learn more about Catholic Family Services Adoption Program and to answer any questions about the adoption process. • Search online for information and materials concerning adoption.
What Will it Cost to Adopt? Adoption is a ministry for Catholic Family Services and the fee is 10% of your gross income, with a minimum of $2,500 and a maximum of $10,000. This includes your adoption/home study, paperwork and post-placement supervision. You will need to hire a family attorney to finalize the adoption in Probate Court.
Is There a Tax Credit for People Who Adopt? Federal legislation was passed in June 2001 that increases tax credits and exclusions for all adoptive families. The Hope for Children Act taking effect on January 1, 2002 provides an adoption tax credit of $10,000 for all adoptions from 2002 and thereafter, and a tax exclusion of up to $10,000 for employer-provided adoption benefits, effective in 2003. Learn more about tax benefits for adoptive parents visit the IRS.