Your Adoption Journey
The adoption process can often be confusing and frustrating. Adoption STAR offers support, knowledge, assistance, and most importantly, personalized attention, to make this process easier. Clients of Adoption STAR are pleasantly surprised that the adoption journey is one filled with education, individual choices and compassion. Adoption STAR’s international programs are open to residents of New York State, Ohio and Florida. Adoptive couples or singles who wish to adopt domestically with Adoption STAR are eligible if they reside in New York State, Florida, or Ohio. Adoption STAR is also Connecticut and Illinois Approved. In addition, each year a a few applicants outside of these areas are considered for the domestic program. Adoptive parents may be married couples, unmarried couples or single. Adoptive parents must be responsible, stable and caring adults who love children and desire to build their family by way of adoption.
Domestic Versus International Adoption – What is the Difference?
The cost between international and domestic adoption can be similar or vary greatly depending upon the country you choose to adopt from within international adoption and which domestic program you ultimately choose. It is a misconception that there is a large difference between the costs for an international adoption versus a domestic adoption. Both international and domestic adoptions have their own unique costs involved. Some of the vast differences include costs for a visa and other immigration documents and the cost of traveling overseas, both common costs within an international adoption. While within a domestic adoption you may have expenses such as birth parent living expenses, which would be rare to see in an international adoption. The domestic adoption of an older child from foster care may cost very little.
Education is typically involved, or at least should be involved with all types of adoptions, however this is not always the case. There are important educational requirements based on The Hague Convention for International adoptions and that requirement is to have at least ten educational hours pre-adoption. Domestic infant adoptions don’t always have educational requirements pre-adoption, however Adoption STAR has been a leader in promoting the importance of both pre and post adoption requirements. When adopting an older child through a public agency, educational requirements are required and are often followed the Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting (MAPP) curriculum.
This is another area where international and domestic adoptions can differ noticeably. An agency, for example has no control over a country’s adoptive parent requirements and these requirements may include age, marriage length, whether or not singles can adopt, and even weight and other health requirements. Within a domestic adoption, many times you will not need to worry about age requirements and many agencies, including Adoption STAR works with married and unmarried couples and singles.
By far, an international adoption wins for requiring the most paperwork. In addition to the application process which is often lengthier than a domestic application and in addition to the home study paperwork, there are the required immigration applications and documents, the dossier preparation, paperwork that needs to be notarized and/or authenticated, paperwork that needs to be translated into the language of the country you are adopting from, etc. You also have many entities that will be requiring your documents such as your adoption agency, your state, the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and the foreign government.
Today international adoption almost always requires you to travel to the child’s country of origin. Travel is typically required one to two times and can range in time frames from one-week stay to 4 plus weeks.
There may be travel involved within a domestic adoption if your child is born or residing in a state or city that differs from your home state or city.
It is difficult to assess waiting times within any adoption as so many factors can contribute to this time period. However within international adoption, if all goes well within a specific country program, there is typically a proposed time frame between the adoption steps including a range for receiving a child referral, traveling to meet the child, and estimated time when child can travel home with you. Within domestic adoption, an agency can always attempt to provide you with their placement time statistics, but that does not mean you will adopt within that time frame. Within most domestic infant child placement agencies, the child’s birth parents are making the selection. Other issues that may impact wait times is how restrictive a prospective adoptive parent may be in their feelings about a child’s race, background issues, etc.
This area may truly make or break your decision to adopt domestically or internationally. If your heart is set on adopting an infant that you should rule out an international adoption. Newborns are not available via an international adoption, and it is rare that children under age 1 or 2 are available. The number of children adopted internationally has been declining, as the available children are becoming older. If a family prefers to adopt an older child, international adoption or domestic adoption of a child from foster care may be a better option for them.
Social and Medical History
Social and medical histories will be provided on children whether you adopt domestically or internationally. Often within an international adoption, there is not much information even though the child is older because often the child has been abandoned and there is no information on his or her biological relatives. In a domestic adoption, you will receive both an extensive social and medical history as well as educational information for children who have been in the foster care system. Within a domestic infant adoption, an adoption agency will provide you with background information on the child’s birth parents that includes a social, educational and health history as well as information on prenatal care and whether there are any risk factors including but not limited to drugs or alcohol, mental health, learning disabilities within the birth family, etc.
In a domestic adoption, you will learn more about a child’s birth family, specifically the child’s birth parents and you and the birth parents may have the ability to select to meet and have ongoing communication after placement. In an international adoption you may or may not receive information on the child’s birth family and rarely will you have the ability to keep in touch. One reason why some adoptive parents state they chose the international adoption route was that they did not want to have an open adoption and “deal” with the child’s birth parents. Experience and studies have shown that in closed and international adoptions adoptive parents “deal” with the birth parent more frequently as it is hard to compete with the fantasy birth mother and hard to continuously share with your child that there is no information available to answer his or her questions.
There are many myths when it comes to legal aspects within adoption. It is important to research the unique legal issues involved in both a domestic and international adoption. Each country has its own set of laws governing adoption that must be met and if for some reason the country you selected experiences political upheaval within its borders or its relationship with the U.S. is damaged for whatever reason or there is a natural disaster such as an earthquake, your adoption plans may be postponed or suspended. Though it is true that if all goes well within an international placement, it would be rare for the birth family to stop the process, this may not be as common as you might think in a domestic adoption. One reason why some adoptive parents state they chose an international adoption over a domestic adoption was because they believed that the child’s birth family may come and take the child back. The large majority of domestic adoptions are not revoked or disrupted. You may have read stories put out by the media about children’s disrupted adoptions years after placement, these are the extremely rare and are usually the result of unsound legal practices.
Begin your adoption journey by filling out our registration form.
Several things make Adoption STAR different and special!
- We are the only agency in the Western New York area specializing in domestic infant adoptions.
- In Florida and Ohio we are one of only a very few Hague Accredited agencies.
- Our fees are consistent regardless of the child’s race.
- Placement fees are based on a sliding fee scale.
- You do not pay a deposit toward your placement fee unless you are matched with an expectant parent or until placement occurs.
- Our approach is very personal. You will never hear voicemail.
- We offer traditional agency adoption as well as an agency assisted private adoption track.
- We have a unique educational home study program including one-on-one attention and group involvement, as well as a credit system providing many creative options to learn more about adoption.
- We take a strong stand on adoption education and believe no one can make a decision to adopt or place a child for adoption without fully educating themselves on adoption and its many options.
- We have put together a comprehensive curriculum on adoption, we maintain a wonderful library of adoption and related materials and we network with many other adoption agencies and professionals in order to make the very best referrals for our clients to increase their chances of adopting.
- Support group and our mentoring program keep you linked to other adoptive families.
- Our staff is knowledgeable and passionate about adoption.
The agency offers consultation, counseling, educational classes, a resource library, as well as adoption services. Home studies, updates, post-placement, post-adoption support, expectant parent, birth parent and adoptive parent counseling, and child placements are just some of the services Adoption STAR is offering. In addition, our expert staff is committed to assisting you in your adoption planning by offering you support, knowledge, assistance, confidentiality, and most importantly, personalized attention.
Authorized and Licensed agencies must meet minimum standards from the State, with which one can file a complaint if clients feel they were in any way mistreated. In addition, agencies can be found and can be held liable legally for dishonest and unethical practices. Other reasons to work with an agency:
- Adoption agencies work in the best interests of children. Adoption STAR works to identify adoptive families for all children.
- Adoption agencies have adoption staff with years of experience. Adoption STAR has a staff of experienced and trained professionals who work with adoptive parents and birth parents.
- Adoption agencies offer options. Most agencies offer their clients various adoption options. Adoption STAR can assist you with all types of adoptions including agency, private and international.
- Adoption agencies may increase the possibility of child placement. As an Authorized agency we can place children for adoption and make referrals to agencies that have children in need of adoptive placement. Not all adoption agencies place children for adoption; some simply conduct adoption home studies. You may register with Adoption STAR not only for home study services, but for possible child placement too.
- Adoption agencies believe in education. At Adoption STAR we use an educational approach when conducting a home study. We offer workshops during the home study process. These workshops allow our clients to become familiar with various adoption options and issues surrounding adoption. Adoption STAR offers an orientation session and a series of classes including Talking About Adoption, Child Interest, Open Adoption, Child Identity and Adoption Law. The sessions are not only educational and an important part of the home study process, but they are fun too!
- Adoption agencies promote post adoption support. Agencies will not disappear after the placement of a child into an adoptive home. They will be there to offer post-placement support. Adoption STAR is equipped to handle post adoption issues that arise after the adoption of a child. In addition, Adoption STAR will be happy to make referrals to adoption support groups and to professionals in the community who work with adoption related issues. Adoption STAR also operates an adoptive parent support group known as SOFIA, and a birth parent support group known as Blue Rose, an adult adoptee support group known as ACE and a birth grandparents’ support group.
You should choose an adoption agency that will best meet your needs, offering you confidential and personalized services. Adoption is often overwhelming, and it is important that you are comfortable with the agency you decide to work with. At Adoption STAR, we pride ourselves on our professionalism and experience within adoption. Most importantly, we LOVE adoption.
Yes. Adoption STAR has created a compassionate and personalized program that will enable you to pursue a private adoption (with or without participating in the traditional agency program.) By participating in this program, you will decrease the current challenges of a private adoption by having an experienced and supportive agency to assist you in the process.
Birth parents are individuals of all ages, races and backgrounds making difficult decisions on behalf of themselves and their child(ren.) At Adoption STAR women who are pregnant are known as expectant parents. Expectant parents may be referred to the agency from any number of resources or they may contact us directly. Each expectant parent will be assigned a caseworker that will be available to them around the clock. They will receive both pre and post counseling services, as well as help with arranging for: transportation, prenatal care visits, coverage of medical expenses, and general adoption counseling and education. We also teach expectant parents about adoptive parents, and help them to prepare an adoption plan for their child. Our caseworkers will discuss the many alternatives and resources available to a pregnant woman. We encourage her to seek out her many options. She should be actively involved in the decision making process. It is extremely important and essential to allow expectant parents to choose the type of family and environment they wish their child to be raised in. Not all expectant parents want to be involved in the process of choosing a family; however, some are very excited that they have the opportunity to choose a path for their child. Everyone is different. It is important to work with expectant parents to tailor an adoption to fit their needs and desires.
Within the domestic programs, Adoption STAR primarily places newborns. These infants are of all races, primarily Caucasian, Biracial or African American. Most are healthy; some may have special needs or be born at-risk for developing special needs. Within international adoption, the children available are most often 9 months old and up.
The home study at Adoption STAR is a process. This process includes gathering the necessary paperwork, attending educational classes and/or obtaining credits toward adoption education, as well as meeting with a social worker. Adoption STAR does not simply consider a home study a stamp of approval to adopt, but an educational opportunity for you to learn more about adoption in general. Equally as important, the home study process gives Adoption STAR the opportunity to get to know you and thus best assist you in exploring your adoption options.
At your initial consultation with the agency you will receive a home study packet. Most documentation required for the home study is mandated by State regulations.
This varies depending upon when you enter the process, when you attend the classes and how quickly you return the necessary paperwork. The time frame generally ranges from 1 to 4 months. A minimum of three visits with a social worker is required.
Yes, this is very normal, as most people do not know what to expect. While the classes cannot address every adoption issue, the classes will educate you on aspects of adoption that you may not have considered. They are designed to facilitate thinking about issues that you may not have considered previously, provide information, offer you the opportunity to meet other families who are in the same process as you and to meet adoptive families and birth parents who are already a part of the adoption triad. Clients enjoy the classes tremendously.
This is a question that is often asked, but unfortunately there is no answer. Due to various circumstances, it is impossible to predict the wait time. There are several factors involved in child placement. The agency must consider the requests of the birth parents, as well as the type of child you hope to adopt, and most especially must consider what is in the bests interests of the child in need of adoption. Additionally, “how long is the wait” implies that Adoption STAR will ultimately have a placement for every prospective family. This is something that cannot be known by Adoption STAR. The agency does not guarantee the placement of a child. Other agencies and attorneys may provide you with an answer to this question, but Adoption STAR will not promise a placement or commit to a time frame.
Adoption STAR advocates that you continue to educate yourself about adoption and all of your options to become a parent as you wait; join an Adoption STAR committee; join an adoption support group; get to know adoptive families, birth families and adoptees; network with friends, family and associates; attend agency and support group functions; and update your profile, pictures and dear birth parent letter. Additionally, establish a timeline and re-evaluate your adoption plan at desired intervals. Decide what you want to do differently and when you want to do this. Remember that adoption works, but you must have faith as there may be disappointment along the way. If you remain diligent and constantly re-evaluate your plans and options you will most likely become an adoptive parent. It may be directly through Adoption STAR, but it may not. So carefully explore all of your options.
Above all, expectant parents are looking for someone to love their child as they do. When expectant parents look at profiles it is impossible to know what will make them choose one family versus another. Adoption STAR will help you understand what you need to do to prepare a profile that may be viewed by prospective birth parents. You will also have the opportunity to meet adoptive parents who have experienced the selection process and receive advice and feedback from them.
Adoption STAR is a nonprofit agency whose mission is finding homes for children in need both in the United States and from countries around the world. While doing so, we are committed to providing quality services to children, birth parents and adoptive parents, as well as helping, through humanitarian aid, those children left behind. To accomplish our mission, we established a sliding scale fee for our services based on the applicant’s gross worth to enable as many families as possible to become adoptive parents and provide homes for children. The actual cost of providing services far exceeds the revenue from fees and Adoption STAR does not receive government funding. We rely on fundraising, donations and adoption fees affordable for our clients. Click here for an information on Affording Adoption.
If you feel Adoption STAR is the agency for you, fill out our Inquiry form; complete it, and mail it in along with the registration fee. Upon receipt of your registration, we will make an appointment with you for your initial consultation and then you will begin an exciting, new and awesome process known as “adoption.”