A-OK Program – Adopt an Older Kid – Your 12 Step Guide
Step 1 ★ Contacting Adoption STAR for a Registration Packet
It is very important to learn as much about your adoption options as possible and to gather as much information from other agencies so you can make an informed decision and select an agency that you feel connected to. We hope Adoption STAR is one of the stops you make along your educational journey. To request a registration packet, please fill out this form, email us, or call at 1.866.691.330 to find out more about the agency.
If you call the agency, you will immediately speak to a friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff person who can answer any questions you may have.
Step 2 ★ Registering with Adoption STAR
Prior to registering for the A-OK Program, please be sure that you are committed to adopting an Older Child. The A-OK Program is seeking individuals or couples hoping to adopt a child or children ages 7 and up. While there may be younger children, this program has been created to identify children who have been waiting for a family and without advocacy from A-OK, may not have other possibilities for an adoption match. This program is also perfect for the adoptive parent who really wants to adopt an older child but has not had the opportunity to be matched with a child. Do not hesitate to contact us with questions. If you need any assistance completing the registration online, please do not hesitate to ask.
Downloadable PDF: Do You Have The Characteristics To Be A Successful Adoptive Parent To An Older Child?
Step 3 ★ Welcome to Adoption STAR
Once we receive your Registration Form, (please fill out this form first), we will review it to make sure all sections are complete. If all is in place, you have become a client of Adoption STAR. Welcome! If it is geographically feasible for you to attend a personal consultation meeting with one of our family advocates, we will schedule that for you. If you are unable to meet, then a telephone appointment will be scheduled. Your Family Advocate will walk you through the adoption process and answer any questions you may have.
Step 4 ★ Education Classes & Home Study
Adoption STAR embraces adoption education and provides a comprehensive view of pre and post adoption topics and issues that greatly benefit our families throughout their journey. We have several tracks for our pre-adoption education and if you are committed to older child adoption you will be enrolled in our A-OK Adoption Education classes.
Family Readiness Assessment:
After the A-OK Education Classes, you will meet individually with a social worker to synthesize information from the training and explore additional questions in order to solidify your decision to pursue foster care adoption. Once you have officially decided to move forward, you will begin the home study paperwork.
NY, FL and OH residents:
If you reside in a state in which Adoption STAR is authorized/licensed, Adoption STAR will complete your home study for you. There is no separate application for the home study. Upon receipt of the home study fee, you will be supplied a home study packet that provides comprehensive instructions and documents as per the state you reside so the home study will comply with the regulations necessary to complete an adoption home study. Once all the home study paperwork is received, you will be contacted by a social worker that will meet you at your convenience for the home study visits. Adoption STAR believes a home study should involve an educational approach and we work hard to provide a welcoming and non-threatening home study process.
Residents in other states:
If you do not reside in one of the states that Adoption STAR is authorized/licensed, you will be required to obtain a home study by a licensed adoption agency in your state. Feel free to ask Adoption STAR for referrals. Adoption STAR will provide guidelines to your home study agency and also send your agency a Domestic Adoption Supervised Provider Agreement. Adoption STAR does not charge a fee for reviewing the other agency’s home study. Though you are not experiencing a home study with Adoption STAR, we will still provide you with helpful information about obtaining pre-parenthood adoption education. Learn more about home studies here.
Step 5 ★ Identifying a Child
A child or children may already be identified for you. If not, a search for a child, teenager or sibling group will occur when your home study is approved. You are encouraged be active in the search as well.
The identification process varies in length for a variety of reasons. Within older child adoption, the length tends to vary based on what a prospective adoptive family is looking for in a child.
You feel ready to be a parent and it is hard to wait for that to happen. The healthiest way to be “ready and waiting” is to continue your adoption education as adoption is life-long and does not end with the placement of a child. There is so much to learn about adoption and parenting, so embrace this time.
Downloadable “20 Ways to WAIT for an Older Kid” Tip Sheet
Step 6 ★ Exchange of Information
When you and a child who seems like the right match, an exchange of information will occur. Your home study is sent to the agency responsible for the child and if the child’s worker is interested in your family, then more information on the child will be shared. This step of the process requires both patience and persistence.
If it appears that you will be seriously considered, more confidential information will be shared in order for you to determine if this is the child for you and your family and if the child’s best interests can be served in your home.
Important Download: Important Things to Know About Older Children in Need of Adoption Planning
Step 7 ★ Matched With a Child
You and several other families may be considered at the same time for the same child. Typically, a small committee is gathered to make the final decision on which family will best meet the needs of the child. The child’s worker is very involved in the final decision. Depending upon the age of the child, the child may have a say in the matching process as well.
Step 8 ★ Meet and Visit with the Child
The first meeting with the child any the visits afterward are determined with those involved with the child, such as the child’s worker. Several visits may occur over a few weeks or even months. The child’s agency will work with you to arrange these visits. If the child resides out of state, then ICPC (Interstate Compact
for the Placement of Children) will usually be completed during this time.
You are getting ready to add a new child to your family. This is not a time to rush. Plans should be made to assure a healthy transition for the child and family members involved.
Downloadable PDF: Transition Planning: Foster Care to Adoptive Home
Step 9 ★ Placement
The placement for an older child only occurs after the visits, and when all parties, including the child feels ready and committed to becoming a family. Placement is when the child comes to live in your home.
Step 10 ★ Post Placement Supervision
After your child arrives home, your home study social worker or another worker skilled in post placement will contact you to arrange the required visits known as post placement supervision. There will be weekly visits the first month and there will be a schedule of visits, gradually decreasing to monthly visitation until the adoption finalization. Post placement supervision intent is the success of the placement. Your social worker will be as supportive as possible and work with you and your child to assure a healthy placement. Adopting an older child involves several months of post placement visits. If all is going well, the adoption will be recommended for finalization.
Downloadable PDF: Recommended Post Placement Supervision
Step 11 ★ Finalize the Adoption
You and your child will attend a court session where a judge will finalize the adoption, making the child a legal part of your family. You will receive a certificate of adoption and eventually an amended birth certificate that names the child with their adoptive name and you as the child’s parents.
Step 12 ★ Post Adoption Support
Post placement supervision and post adoption support are different. Post placement is the period of time after placement but before adoption finalization. Post adoption refers to any time after the finalization of adoption occurs. Post adoption support is crucial to the healthy and stability of the adoptive family,
especially when adopting an older child. Adoption STAR provides post adoption support through the Family STAR program via support groups, online groups, counseling, post adoption educational workshops, and by providing additional resources and referrals. Families hoping to adopt an older child should be committed to obtaining post adoption support.