A value in the Midwest is family, and this is no different in Ohio. Many couples who have dreams of building their own family are choosing adoption. Like them, you might be wondering what to do to adopt a child in Ohio.
Adoption is a beautiful process that promises to enrich the life of adoptive parents and extend unique opportunities and love to a child. Still, there’s a lot to learn, and many challenging decisions to make. This can make it easy for the adoption process to feel daunting instead of exciting.
We’ve created this guide so you can feel encouraged and confident about choosing adoption. Here, we’ll lay out your options plainly and break down the steps to completing an adoption in Ohio.
Step 1: Decide if Ohio Adoption is Right for You
Likely, you already understand that the first step is to decide to pursue adoption, and that is why you are here. But for many, there is much to consider before committing to the adoption process.
First, you might be wondering if you are even eligible to adopt in Ohio. There are parameters that address age, health, marital status, and more that you can review here.
Additionally, many hopeful adoptive parents are facing significant emotional obstacles that prevent them from committing to adoption. Those who have experienced infertility might need the time and space to address grief connected to their family-building journey in order to fully embrace adoption. Others may just need information and thoughtful conversations with partners about their options.
If you are having trouble deciding whether adoption is right for you, you might want to seek advice from an adoption specialist in Ohio who can answer your questions. If you and your partner have differing ideas about your adoption prospects, a marriage and family therapist could help you to reach a decision together. You can also contact us today to be connected with a helpful adoption professional.
No matter your circumstances, exploring the options available and understanding the process of adoption in Ohio will help you make your decision.
Step 2: Choose an Ohio Adoption Agency or Ohio Attorney
The two primary types of adoption professionals available in Ohio are adoption agencies and adoption attorneys. While adoption facilitators are utilized in other states, Ohio law prohibits their practice in Ohio.
Adoption Agencies in Ohio
Adoption agencies in Ohio employ adoption specialists, lawyers, social workers, and other professionals to guide you through your adoption. They are licensed and regulated professional organizations that specialize in facilitating adoptions. Working with an adoption agency increases your chances of completing a successful adoption in Ohio.
As all adoptive families from Ohio have different needs and preferences, the type of adoption agency that appeals to each will vary. Learning about the different pathways people take to adopt can help you determine what is right for you and your family.
There are three main types of adoption agencies in Ohio:
- Private domestic adoption
- Foster care adoption
- International adoption
Private domestic adoption agencies in Ohio facilitate the adoptions of infants within the United States. When working with a private agency, there will usually be a certain level of openness to the adoption, depending on the birth mother’s preference. The adoption agency will advertise you to prospective birth mothers via a profile, assist in drafting hospital and adoption plans, provide legal guidance, and facilitate a home study.
Private domestic adoption agencies in Ohio:
Foster care adoption agencies in Ohio facilitate the adoption of children who are in the foster care system but for whom it is not possible to be reunited with their biological families. Many parents who are looking to grow their families by adopting an older child or a child with special needs opt to work with foster care agencies. Cost is minimal with this type of adoption, and there is often less contact between adoptive parents and birth parents.
To learn more about Ohio Foster care, contact the following:
- The Ohio Adoption Photolisting Website
- Northeast Ohio Adoption Services Adoption Photolisting Site
- Caring for Kids, Inc. Adoption Photolisting Site
- Kids Count Too, Inc.
- Lighthouse Youth Services, Inc.
- Oasis Therapeutic Foster Care Network, Inc.
- The Twelve of Ohio, Inc.
- LifeStart Inc.
- The Bair Foundation Child and Family Ministries
- Youth Advocate Services
International adoption agenciesspecialize in adoptions from outside the borders of the United States. Since this type of adoption is strictly regulated, it is important that you work with a Hague-accredited agency. It is a more complicated process, but this type of adoption appeals to those who would like to adopt a child from a different culture, wants predictable costs, and prefers to not have contact with the child’s biological parents.
To learn more about international adoption, contact the following:
- Family Connections Christian Adoptions
- International Christian Adoptions
- Nightlight Christian Adoptions
Attorneys will be utilized in any adoption. Times that they are the primary adoption profession is in the case of independent adoptions, when there is no need for counseling, matching, and other services that agencies offer.
Step 3: Find an Adoption Opportunity in Ohio
As stated above, there are opportunities to adopt domestically and internationally, and opportunities to either welcome older children or infants into your family.
Before these opportunities are extended, though, you must complete a home study. A home study is an evaluative tool used to determine how conducive a family’s life is to adoption. It involves interviews, background checks, financial assessment, and evaluations of a family’s home, that together offer a picture of the quality of life a child might enjoy. A home study will be completed by a local professional.
Private Adoption Opportunities in Ohio
As an adoptive family working with a private Ohio agency, you will fill out an Adoption Planning Questionnaire and contribute to a profile to be viewed by mothers considering adoption. This will serve as a sort of summary of who you are, why you want to adopt, and what kind of life you hope to provide to a child. This gives prospective birth mothers the opportunity to choose a family that reflects the values they uphold and therefore wish for their child.
Wait time to be “matched” varies among agencies, but it is shorter when working with national agencies. Any agency you consider should quote you an average wait time to expect, which can help ease the anxiety inherent in this time of tense anticipation.
Once you have been connected with a prospective birth mother, a beautiful relationship can begin. You will enter a period of acquainting yourselves with one another, creating an adoption plan (with the assistance of adoption specialists) and a hospital plan. This can look a lot of different ways: mediated conference calls, ongoing and unmediated contact, or contact limited to placement. Many of these decisions are the right of the prospective birth mother to make.
Foster Care Adoption Opportunities in Ohio
In order to adopt through the Ohio Foster Care system, families can take one of two routes. They can foster children on a temporary basis first and then transition into adoption when they feel the right opportunity has presented itself, or they can commit to adopting children in need of a permanent safe and loving home from the onset.
While fostering, communication with biological parents will be mediated and in the case of an adoption, parental rights will be terminated. This relationship with biological parents can look very different than relationships fostered through private adoption.
Step 4: Complete the Adoption Paperwork
If your Ohio adoption will be completed through a private domestic agency, paperwork will be completed sometime after the hospital stay, which is, in many ways, the culminating event for the private adoption process.
Many adoptive parents report feeling conflicted during this time. It is a moment they have been waiting a long time to see happen, and so it is natural that they feel joy. But they also are faced with the often-complicated feelings of the baby’s birth mother, with whom they have fostered a relationship. This can be a sensitive time that should be approached with compassion, gratitude, and a recognition of the bravery and love that made this gift possible.
When you work with a good adoption agency, your specialist will be there to help you navigate these challenging feelings.
With foster care adoption in Ohio, completing paperwork will take place after parental rights have been terminated and will look quite different. Still, it is important to hold the circumstances that brought your adopted child into your life with tenderness and to communicate a respect for your child’s connections and experiences.
Step 5: Finalize the Adoption and Look to the Future
To complete an adoption in Ohio, there must be a legal proceeding called “finalization.” Following this proceeding, the adoptive family is granted custody of the child and awarded the adoption degree. Your adoption agency and adoption attorney will help you navigate this final legal step.
After a private adoption in Ohio is final, you will still interact with adoption professionals, and your child’s birth mother to some degree. You and your child will benefit from post-placement visits to ensure the transition is going smoothly, and resources offered by agencies who understand the particular struggles you might face as an adoptive parent.
Take Your Next Steps
We hope this outline of the Ohio adoption process has been helpful. Are you ready to take your next steps toward your adoption journey? If so, you can get free information and support when you contact us today. We will connect you with a helpful adoption professional who can answer your questions and provide the services you need.