Below are some frequently asked questions. If you don’t find the information you’re looking for, please e-mail or call us. We look forward to serving you and your adoption needs. If you would like to learn more about Adopt!inc., contact us and let us know how we can help you today.
- How long does an adoptive parent home study take?
- What documentation do I provide for approval to adopt?
- How long does the adoption process take?
- What is the adoption tax credit?
- What is a summary of the Kentucky adoption laws for licensed adoption agencies?
- What does the Kentucky law allow in regard to payment of expenses of the birth mother?
- Can I take a newborn home from the hospital?
- Can we visit with the baby in the hospital and take the baby home from the hospital?
- Does the birth mother have the right to see the baby after delivery?
- What are closed and open adoptions?
- How do I adopt an older child?
- For which countries can we complete home studies?
How long does an adoptive parent home study take?
The average time is 6 to 8 weeks. However, a very large part of this depends on you and how quickly you provide us with the paperwork and how “available” you make yourself to meet with us!
What documentation do I provide for approval to adopt?
First of all, we hope you’ll view us as your coach through the following paperchase . . . a certified copy of marriage license; certified copy of birth certificate for the adoptive mother, adoptive father, and any children already in the home; two credit references; three personal references; if divorced, a copy of divorce decree; if you are not on city utilities, the health department or other viable source must give a statement that your septic system is acceptable; Kentucky State Police criminal records report (if you’ve lived outside Kentucky in the past 10 years, a clearance from the other state(s) will also be needed); Central Registry clearance (child abuse/spouse abuse); a completed Medical Examination form; a copy of last year’s federal income tax form (typically front page) or W2’s; a Financial Status form; an Application; Adoption Services Agreement ; and a completed Self Study. We provide you with all the necessary forms. Remember, there’s no need to be overwhelmed by all these documents as we are your supporter and coach you through the paperchase!
How long does the adoption process take?
International adoption is most commonly the quickest way to receive a child. Adoptions from countries such as Guatemala, Korea and Russia typically take less than one year. Chinese adoptions usually take about fourteen months. Adoptions occur in other countries as well; these are simply the most common. All time frames can vary!
With domestic adoptions, it is more difficult to estimate the time in which you will receive your child. That’s because the birth parents generally choose the adoptive parents with whom they place the child. Thus, we don’t have a “waiting list” with the next family in line being guaranteed the next child placed. Some adoptive families are chosen by a birth parent only weeks or months after completing their home study and Adoptive Family Profile. Others may wait a longer period of time.
We can help you develop a “fast track” for an adoption. This typically involves having your home study sent to two additional licensed adoption agencies in other states. If you are open to adopting a “hard to place” child, the wait can be significantly shortened.
What is the adoption tax credit?
A summary of the latest information on the federal tax credit is as follows:
The amount of the full credit is $11,650 for 2008. (A tax credit is an amount that is deducted directly from the taxes you owe. If you can’t take it all in the first year, you can carry it forward for five years or until it is all used, whichever comes first.)
You can take the full amount of the credit if your income does not exceed $170,820. The amount you can take decreases as your income approaches $210,820. If you earn above $210,820 you don’t qualify for the tax credit.
Generally, the credit is to be taken in the year in which the adoption is finalized.
Generally, the above information applies to both domestic and international adoptions. There are some additional benefits when adopting a special needs child domestically.
Please understand that we are not offering legal/accounting advice. We recommend that you consult professionals who can advise you about your particular situation.
What is a summary of the Kentucky adoption laws for licensed adoption agencies?
For an agency adoption, the birth parents typically physically participate in a termination of parental rights hearing before a judge. The petition to begin the termination of parental rights process may be filed 72 hours after the birth. The case can be heard by the court as soon as practicable, but in no event more than 33 days after the birth. If both birth parents are before the judge, the judge may terminate the rights of each of them. The termination order is final at that time and is also an unappealable order. Therefore, in this scenario, the birth parents can change her/his mind anytime prior to the time the judge signs the order.
If the birth father is known, but unnamed, the judge will terminate only the birth mother’s rights. Or, if the birth mother prefers, the hearing will be held, but no order entered until such time as the rights of the unidentified birth father have expired, 60 days after the birth. This allows the birth mother to begin to process her grief, but retain her rights for those 60 days until the birth father’s rights expire.
If the birth father is unknown, the court does not terminate his parental rights. However, the legal effect of the adoption is to terminate all outstanding rights.
What does the Kentucky law allow in regard to payment of expenses of the birth mother?
The Kentucky law allows the adoptive parents to pay expenses for the birth mother. It is silent as to exactly what expenses are allowed or what amount of expenditure is allowable. Our agency is of the opinion that all expenses must be reasonably related to the cost of the birth mother’s personal living expenses, the pregnancy, the birth, the placement of the child for adoption, court costs, and legal fees. The overall objective is to give adequate and safe living conditions for the birth mother in hopes of ensuring a healthy baby.
At the time of the hearing for the termination of parental rights, the statutes require an affidavit of costs and fees. Any funds spent that are related to the case is submitted to the court for approval or modification.
Can I take a newborn home from the hospital?
Yes. In domestic agency adoptions, the infant is placed in the legal custody of the agency at the time the birth parent surrenders the child. This is typically at the hospital. The adoption agency then places the child in the physical custody of the adoptive family during the period prior to finalization. We give the adoptive parents “foster parent” approval as well, which enables them to take the baby directly home from the hospital.
Can we visit with the baby in the hospital and take the baby home from the hospital?
Yes. Birth mothers sign a release for the hospital that allows the adoptive parents to visit with, hold, feed, and provide other acceptable care for the infant while he/she is still in the hospital. In many cases, the hospital will allow the adoptive family to have a private room with the baby in order to be with him/her around the clock if that is what they desire.
In both agency and independent adoptions, the adoptive family can leave the hospital with the baby upon his/her discharge after birth. Until the birth mother signs the surrender, the baby is in the temporary care of the adoptive family as agreed upon by the birth mother. After the surrender documents have been signed, the baby is either in foster care with the adoptive family as place there by the agency or in the legal custody of the adoptive family as placed there by the birth mother. In the event that an adoptive family does not want to take the baby into their home until the period of time for birth mother to change her mind has elapsed, then the agency can provide “cradle care” (temporary care for the infant in the home of a screened foster family).
Does the birth mother have the right to see the baby after delivery?
Yes. The birth mother makes all of the decisions regarding the birthing process and what her desires are related to her time in the hospital and the adoption arrangements in general. We first find out what the birth mother’s wishes are for: 1) the type of family she desires for her child, 2) the type of adoption she wants – open or closed, and 3) what her wishes are for the birthing plan. Then we try to present families to her that are consistent with her desires. The adoptive family is always fully informed about the birth mother’s wishes and has the right to decline to work with a particular birth mother if they are uncomfortable with any of her requests.
What are closed and open adoptions?
Closed adoptions are when the adoptive family and the birth parents have no identifying information at all and the child has no contact with the birth family after birth and/or placement.
Open adoptions have widely varying degrees of openness to them. For example, some birth parents simply want to meet and know who the adoptive family is by viewing their profile. Others may want to have pictures of the baby annually, while even others may request update letters on the baby’s development and life. Others would like regular phone calls or annual visits with the adoptive family and the child. The level of openness is agreed upon among the birth parents, adoptive parents and agency prior to termination of parents rights.
How do I adopt an older child?
Older domestic children are generally available from your local Cabinet for Families and Children, Community Based Services office. There are also numerous children in other countries who desperately need adoptive parents. Sometimes profiles and pictures of waiting children are readily available.
For which countries can we complete home studies?