When considering adoption, there are a lot of different things to think about. Whether you are an expectant mother considering placing your child for adoption, or a hopeful adoptive family planning to adopt, we want to help you answer the question, “How does adoption in NY work?”

Making Decisions for Adoption in NY: Hopeful Adoptive Families

A big part of adoption in NY, or anywhere else, is contemplating what is best for you, and for your family. At some point in the adoptive process, you should decide which type of adoption you wish to pursue. You can choose between adoption through foster care, private adoption, or international adoption. You should also carefully consider what type of child, or children, would be the best fit for your family. Would you prefer to adopt an infant? Are you looking to adopt an older child? Are you open to a sibling group? A child with disabilities? All of these are important questions to ponder as you begin your journey towards adoption in NY.

Foster Care

The purpose of foster care is not to lead to adoptions. The main goal of foster care is to rehabilitate biological parents and reunite parents with their children. Children are generally brought into foster care because of abuse, neglect, and/or drug use. Parents are given the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and improve their behavior and situation. A judge in a court of law determines what the parent(s) has to do in order to regain custody of their children. With the help of a caseworker and government services, parents are given time and support to improve their situation.

During this waiting period, children are placed in foster care, which is a temporary home that provides stability, safety, and love. Children in foster care can range in ages from newborn to legal young adult. Oftentimes, children are removed from their homes with their siblings. Sometimes, siblings are able to stay together, but more often than not, siblings are separated and placed into different foster homes. While beginning the foster care process, you may specify to your caseworker if you’d like to house sibling groups. 

To become a foster parent in New York, applicants must meet the following guidelines:

  • Must be over the age of 21
  • Must be in good physical health and free from communicable diseases
  • Can be married or single
  • Must provide three character references
  • Must pass a background check
  • Must complete a foster care orientation and training
  • Must complete certification and approval

You might be wondering what kind of training is involved in becoming a foster parent. Here is a general summary of the things you will review in training:

  • The problems that can lead to family breakdown and the need to place a child in foster care.
  • The problems and reactions of children upon separation, and the function and responsibility of the foster family in relation to the child, the parents, and the agency.
  • The agency policy and practice to define specific goals to achieve permanency for each child entering the foster care system.
  • The authority of the local department social services, OCFS, and Family Court in supervising the agency’s practice.
  • The nature of the relationship of agency staff to foster parents and children, including definitions of the function and responsibility of the caseworkers assigned to the children and their families.
  • The payments to foster parents for care and expenses; the definition of foster family care; and the certification or approval of the home.
  • The rights and responsibilities of a foster parent as defined by a letter of understanding that must be executed at the time of certification or approval. 
  • Learning what to expect and what services are available.
  • Acknowledging one’s own strengths and needs.
  • Developing skills in giving love and attention to a troubled child.
  • Learning about the stages of child development.
  • Helping children manage behavior.
  • Understanding the roles and responsibilities of teamwork.
  • Develop a good understanding of the child’s parents.

If the idea of having a child in your care, connecting with the child, and then the child leaving to be reunified with his/her parents sounds painful, you might consider adopting an older child from foster care. There are many children available for adoption in NY, looking for their forever homes.

Private Adoption

Private adoption is a popular route taken to adopt a child. When adopting in NY, privately, you generally work with an adoption agency to ensure that everything is done correctly and smoothly, as well as to help make a connection with an expectant mother. With private adoption, you should consider making any preferential specifications about the child, to ensure the best fit with your family. You will need to consider age, gender, race, and possible disabilities. 

When you work with an adoption agency to complete a private adoption, they should walk you through the home study process, as well as creating a profile, and navigating communication with expecting families. A good adoption agency should communicate openly with you and provide support for expectant families.

You will often be required to create a profile book as a part of advertising yourself as a potential adoptive parent. This can be done digitally, in print, or both. A profile book creates a snapshot of your family and your life. Professional family pictures and a strong aesthetic theme can help your profile stand out from other families. There are many professional companies that offer profile book services.

An adoption agency should also connect you with an adoption attorney to help finalize the process. An attorney will ensure that your adoption in NY is ethical and that all of the correct paperwork is done. If you live in New York and are adopting from New York, you can use the same adoption attorney. If you live in New York and are adopting from another state, or live in another state and are adopting a child from New York, you might work with two different attorneys – one from each state. 

Some families decide to do an independent private adoption. This is generally less expensive than working with an agency but can be a little more complicated. If you are comfortable with putting in the hard work and navigating things on your own, you can save a lot of money. Independent adoption is when a hopeful adoptive family makes a connection with expecting parents and finalizes the adoption, without the help of an agency. The biggest fees associated independent adoptions are the home study fees and the attorney fees. If you are interested in an independent adoption, you should explore the Parent Profiles on Adoption.com. 

International Adoption

If you are in New York and feel that adoption through foster care and private adoption aren’t a good fit for you, you might consider international adoption. International adoption is when a family from the United States adopts a child, or children, from outside of the United States. There are many countries that are open to international adoption. You will want to work closely with a Hague-approved adoption agency to ensure that your international adoption is ethical and legal. The Gladney Center for Adoption website explains what a Hague accreditation includes, saying, “The Hague Convention protects children and their families against the risk of unregulated adoptions abroad and ensures that intercountry (district) adoptions are made in the best interests of the children. The Convention also protects against unethical, unlawful and inhumane adoption practices.” You will also work with an adoption attorney that specializes in international adoption.

Most children that are adopted internationally come from orphanages in their home country. While you may be matched with a child that is 6 months old, you might not be able to bring your child home for another six months to a year, depending on the country you are adopting from, the legal requirements, and how quickly paperwork is completed. 

Making Decisions for Adoption in NY: Expectant Mothers

If you are an expectant mother considering placing your child for adoption, you might be asking yourself, “How does adoption in NY work?” There are probably a lot of things going through your mind right now.  One of the most important things to remember is that you are not alone: there is help and support out there!

Deciding to place your child for adoption is not an easy task. If you feel that this is what is best for you and your child, there are a few things to think about as you move forward. You should start by reaching out to an agency that specializes in adoption in NY. They will help and guide you throughout the adoption process. 

You will need to select what family you would like your child to be raised by. Every expectant mother values different things; what might be important to you might not be important to another woman. You should think about whether or not you want your child raised in a single, or two-parent home; if you want your child raised with heterosexual, or homosexual parents; and if you want the family to be of a certain religion, or not religious at all. Is it important to you that the family has other children in the home? Do you want them to have any special skills, qualifications, or hobbies? You will be given the chance to look through many family profiles to choose a family for your child. You will get to talk to potential families over the phone, and/or in person, to decide whether or not they are a good fit. Follow your gut.

You can also choose how open you want your adoption in NY, to be. Some birth families desire an open adoption with visits, regular phone calls, and communication with the adoptive family and child. Other birth families decide to have a closed adoption, where they don’t have any communication with the child or the adoptive family. There are some that prefer a semi-open adoption, where there is communication, but it isn’t constant. This is something that you can decide on with the hopeful adoptive families you meet. Make sure they are on the same page as you, so that there won’t be unmet expectations on either side. 

Financial Provisions: Hopeful Adoptive Families

If you are an expecting parent planning on placing your child for adoption in NY, there will be little to no cost for you in the adoption process. Working with an adoption agency is free and they can guide you to government assistance for your delivery, food support, and sometimes help with rent.

If you are hoping to adopt, you might feel intimidated by the cost of adoption. You can’t put a price on the gift of a child, but it’s important to figure out where the money is coming from before committing to adoption.

The first and most important thing to do is to take a look at your current finances. Review your budget, your income, and your expenses. Think about ways that you can save money. You can also apply for little to no-interest adoption loans that can be paid back over time. Many organizations that offer adoption loans also offer adoption grants. This is money that doesn’t need to be paid back. When you adopt, you are eligible for the federal adoption tax credit. Many families also host fundraising activities to bring in the needed money for adoption.

For more answers to the question “How does adoption in NY work?” you can hear from an expert, read The New York Adoption Guide, search Parent Profiles for a hopeful adoptive family in NY.

Considering adoption? Choose a family to adopt your child. Visit Parent Profiles on Adoption.com or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.

Michelle Donner is the mother to two beautiful children and a hopeful adoptive mama of one more! When she isn’t chasing her kids around, she is working as an adjunct professor teaching college writing and working as a freelance writer. She loves to be creative and runs her own floral design business for weddings and events. Her titles of wife and mother bring her the most joy, fulfillment, and challenge in her life.