The Matching Process
Matching a child with the right family is the most complex part of the adoption process. Prospective-parent inquiries are one way that Indiana Adoption Program identifies families that may be a good fit for a waiting child or sibling group. When you become recommended to adopt, you will receive access to the Parent Portal, where you can review child summaries for waiting children. After reviewing the child summary, if you feel as though a child or sibling group is a good fit for your family, you will be able to make an inquiry directly through the portal.
How Do I Know if the Child is a Good Fit for My Family?
You will want to learn as much as you can before accepting the child or sibling group into your home for adoption. Many prospective parents will have questions about the child’s developmental history; the birth parents’ medical histories; the child’s previous home environments; relationships with siblings; and attachments to foster families or other relatives. If the child has certain medical conditions or other disabilities, you will need to decide if your family is prepared to address issues that may arise from the child’s situation.
If you agree to accept placement of a child whose birth parents’ rights have not been voluntarily surrendered or involuntarily terminated (known as a legal-risk placement), you must accept that the child could be returned to his or her birth parents. Until the birth parents’ rights are terminated, the child cannot legally become a member of your family and must instead stay in your home as a foster child.
What Happens After I Inquire?
Inquiring will allow your home study to be forwarded to the child’s family case manager (FCM) and adoption consultant for consideration.
The child’s team members, including the FCM and adoption consultant, review the recommended home studies that have been submitted. The team selects families to interview for the child. Once the interviews are complete, and a family is recommended for a child, a visitation and transition plan is implemented. The transition plan will vary depending on each child’s situation. The child will be placed with a family, usually for a minimum of 6 months, before the family proceeds to finalizing the adoption. There are multiple support services that can be put in place to help support the child and family through the transition process, placement, and post-adoption finalization.
Some families assume that expressing interest in a specific child is what determines whether the child will be placed with them. Beyond a family’s expressed interest, matching must take into account the child’s history and current and future needs. Thus, expressed interest in specific children does not guarantee you will be selected for an interview.
Questions You May Want to Ask
- What is known about the child’s birth history?
- What is known about the child’s developmental history — physically, mentally, emotionally and socially?
- Is there any evidence of handicap? Are there any suspected learning difficulties?
- When was the last contact with any birth family member?
- Are there pictures the birth family can pass on, or any family memento?
- Is there a Life Book for the child?
- Are there any siblings? Will it be possible or beneficial for ongoing contact with siblings (if they have been separated)?
- What social and medical history is available on the parents, extended family members, or siblings?
- Do the parents have a history of drug or alcohol abuse? Was the mother using substances during the pregnancy?
- What was the home environment like? What was the environment of the foster home(s) like?
- How many moves or placements did the child experience and why did they occur?
- What is the child’s current adjustment status?
- Has the child been prepared for the adoptive placement? How can you help?
- What is the child’s current health status? Does the child have any allergies?
- Is there any history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse? What treatment has been pursued?
- What method of discipline works best with the child?
- Does the child accept and give affection?
- Does the child have any therapeutic needs or treatment plans?
- What adoption subsidy options are there for the child?