Whether you are dealing with an unexpected pregnancy or are a hopeful adoptive parent, this Kansas Adoption guide will cater to you, one by one. The beautiful state of Kansas is filled with whimsical, wild, and wonderful sunflowers. Just like these bright flowers, Kansas is an ideal state to expand your family and watch children bloom and grow. While I am personally not an adoption expert, this article can provide clarity and starting places for the adoption journey. Any questions regarding your individual situation can be answered by an adoption counselor, agency staff, or court adoption specialist. Please feel free to leave comments or questions located at the end of this guide.
If you find yourself in an unexpected pregnancy situation, there are a few things to know. The world of adoption can bring an immense amount of joy, as well as a lot of confusion. Luckily, each state has its own set of regulations to help clear any confusion. Consent is a term you’ll hear throughout your adoption process. As a birth mother, placing your child means relinquishing physical custody and parental rights. After a birth mother releases her rights, the birth father can claim his rights unless previously terminated by the court. If the birth father terminates his parental rights willingly, other family members are eligible to claim the child in question. After the birth parents, consent moves to the state of Kansas, and the child will then be placed into an adoption or foster agency.
In Kansas, the age of consent for adoption is 14, meaning that if the youth is 14 or older, this child would need to consent to the adoption first. Most states have legal age requirements for who can adopt, however, Kansas does not. Please note each adoption agency is different and each can set its own age regulation.
Infant Safe Havens
What used to be referred to as, “Baby Moses Laws,” an infant safe haven is a designated public facility where a birth parent can relinquish his or her unharmed infant anonymously. Every state now has a safe haven law in place. Each state makes its own rules and regulations for safe havens. Kansas states, “You can leave your baby, up to 45 days old, with an employee at any medical facility, fire department, city or county health department in Kansas.” This can help any distressed birth parent who doesn’t know what to do next. Since safe havens are anonymous, you do not have to provide any information about yourself. However, providing your infant’s birth information will help these departments in this new process if you choose to do so.
Helpful Steps to Consider
Let’s say that you’re newly pregnant but, that wasn’t the plan. Maybe you’re fresh out of high school, starting a dream career, or just don’t see yourself raising a child. Whatever your reason may be, it’s okay and valid. An unplanned pregnancy can bring many questions into play. With the help of great sources, I’ve come up with some steps to consider as your next move.
- Breathe and know you’re not alone. While the factors of unexpected pregnancies vary, the support systems surrounding these pregnancies are out of love for all parties involved.
- Read stories about other birth parents’ journeys. Sometimes, seeing your situation in similar shoes can bring comfort and peace of mind.
- Know the differences in open and closed adoptions. Decide which will be the best for you. You need not make this choice alone. Friends, family, and adoption experts can be helpful in this process.
- Work with an adoption coordinator. Each agency has its own coordinators or counselors (the title varies) who will help you create a placement plan. Your coordinator will provide you with resources, counseling, and open ears.
- Look through adoptive family profiles. Choosing the right family for your child is a big part of the placement process. You will see profiles of families who are looking to adopt. You can request certain values, characteristics, or beliefs that you want your child to grow up with. Once you’ve selected a family, your coordinator will set up when you can meet that family.
- Trust yourself and those who support you. Adoption and placement is an emotional journey. Some days will be easier than others. Just know that with the right support surrounding you, you’ll be able to tackle the challenges ahead.
Hopeful Adoptive Parents
If you’re looking to start or grow your family, adoption is a wonderful choice to consider. You’ve already made the first step in the process by making the decision to adopt. Now you’re ready to tackle new information, for the beginners, brush-up on info for the pros, and join the ride of emotions, which everyone gets a pass to. So many questions will pop up such as, how do you embark in the adoption process? Are there different ways to adopt? Can I adopt more than one child at a time? Slow down and relax while you read these helpful adoption process steps.
- Research is key. Since every state has its own laws when it comes to adoption, knowing Kansas’ laws is crucial. Some states have an age requirement for adoption but Kansas does not specify. However, you must be a single adult or a married joint couple in order to adopt.
- Connect with the Adoption.com, Adoption.ORG adoption sources. When it comes to adoption, having great sources is important. Adoption.com and Adoption.ORG provide multiple resources, from family success stories, to how photolisting works. You can search specifically for your state too if you want to get detailed local information.
- Fill out an app. Now, you might be thinking, “Wait aren’t apps just on your phone?” While you wouldn’t be wrong, the app I’m talking about is an adoption application and background check. Once your application is complete, your agency will have you take a TIPS-MAPP class. TIPS-MAPP stands for Trauma-Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence-Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting. Every adult (18 or older) who lives in your home must take these classes and pass before placement can happen. Please note that the names of these classes can be different in each state.
- Complete a family and home assessment. Before you are able to accept a child into your home (whether fostering or adopting), a licensed Kansas practitioner will conduct a standard home assessment. This procedure is to make sure you have enough space, resources, and essentials for the child/children you are bringing into your life. What’s more, you will share your family’s history and what possibilities you hope to find in your adoptive child. Home assessments usually take two separate visits to make sure everything is accounted for.
- Be matched with a child. After the all-encompassing paperwork and home visits, you’ve rocked, now it’s time for you to be matched with your adoptive child. This event is a fun and exciting process where you get to look through different profiles of children looking to be adopted. After being matched, you’ll go through a meeting and be on your way to pre-placement.
- Prepare for pre-placement. Pre-placement is where you’ll be able to talk to the important people in the child’s life and meet your child through visits.
- Celebrate the placement time. You’ll get to bring your child home while everything is being finalized. Your case manager will continue to provide support and check-ins to make sure everyone is settling in nicely.
The adoption process is long and will be full of twists and turns. You will have support along the way and long after too. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help at any time. That is what your case manager is for, a lifetime of love and support.
Now that we know more of what the adoption process looks like, what kind of adoptions are available? There are several different types of adoption. I think of adoption as a tree, and the trunk is adoption itself. Then, there are branches like domestic and international adoption. The leaves are private, foster, agency, embryo, relative, and adult adoption options. There can be subcategories within the leaves, but each is all are a part of the diverse adoption tree. Let’s talk about the three most common leaves, private, foster, and agency adoption. To learn more about the leaves not addressed in this guide, please refer to the links and the end of the article.
What is private adoption? Private adoption also called independent adoption, is when you adopt an infant or child from the birth parents without using an agency. Out of the 50 states, only four have made independent adoption illegal. Luckily, Kansas is not one of these states. Independent adoption can be a huge blessing to you and your family. Since you’ll be able to connect with the birth parents from the start, you’ll be able to craft a bond like no other. In order to adopt independently, you’ll need to contact an adoption lawyer. Having a lawyer who specializes in adoption is key. A lawyer will help you understand your rights, costs, and all paperwork involved. As with other adoption options, you will still have a home study conducted and court hearings to attend. Your adoption lawyer will handle all legal matters. Since adoption lawyers are not specialized in counseling, seeking professional adoption counseling is also recommended for all parties involved.
What is agency adoption? An adoption agency is an organization that helps families connect with children who are can be adopted. Agencies are most common when you think of adoption. They help with the whole process, every step of the way. Most agencies can help with both open and closed adoptions, however, there are some agencies that only provide one or the other. To see a list of agencies near you, please refer to the links below as well.
Foster Care and Adoption
What is foster care? What is foster adoption? Foster care is a temporary system to provide care for children when their birth parents or guardian(s) are unable to. Children in the foster system have usually experienced some type of abuse or trauma. It is important to have supportive and understanding adults around these children during their foster stay. This stay will show them that not every person is the same and adults can be trusted. In 2019, the statistic for American youth in foster systems was estimated at around 440,000 children. In March of 2020, The Kansas department of children and family reported 7,296 of those youths live in Kansas. In most cases, children in foster care can be temporarily housed by extended family. If this isn’t a possibility, a child/children can be placed with a foster family. Foster families provide a clean, safe, and loving environment for foster children to live in. The goal of foster care is to reunite children with biological family once his or her family is able to fully take care of the child again. If it is a continuing issue, the child/children can be permanently placed. Foster or adoptive parents love to step up to help these youth. Becoming a foster parent is a lifelong commitment. Thankfully, if you’re reading this, you can be on your way to becoming a fantastic one.
Domestic vs. International
Since we’ve covered three of the leaves of adoption, let’s talk about the branches. Domestic adoption means you are adopting a child in the United States. You can adopt from any state, including your home state of Kansas, as long as you meet its requirements. Many children need loving homes in Kansas, including siblings, teens, and special needs youth. What about children who need loving homes outside of the United States? Can you adopt these children? The short answer is yes, of course you can. International adoption is when you adopt a child/children outside of the United States. From 1999 to 2019, there have been 278,745 children adopted internationally. It is hard to know for sure how many children are in need of adoption internationally, but your adoption agency can show you profiles of children in all different countries. Whether you’re looking to adopt domestic or international, children around the world, from every country, deserve a loving environment to grow up in. You can be a change in his or her life.
Famous People from Kansas
Children love to know cool and interesting facts about the state he or she comes from. Pizza Hut, “Home on the Range,” and Dodge City aren’t the only fun things about Kansas. There are some famous people who grew up in the Sunflower State. Amelia Earhart was born right in Atchison, Kansas. Amelia is famous for becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Before her interest in airplanes, she helped nurse wounded soldiers in Canada. This took place during World War I. Amelia isn’t the only cool person from Kansas. Walter P. Chrysler was from Wamego, Kansas. Before he started producing vehicles, Walter followed his father’s footsteps in the railroad. Even though his father wanted him to attend college, he eventually supported his passion for all things mechanical. Parents play such a key part in a child’s life. You help him or she develop and grow. Someday, your child will tell you, “There’s no place like home.”
Amanda Miskimon is the youngest of six children. Being raised in a loving home has made her an advocate of forever families. When Amanda isnâ€™t writing, she spends her time taking pictures, playing The Sims on her computer, or indulging in her guilty pleasure, cookie-based ice cream. She hopes to someday have children with her amazing husband Matthew. In the meantime, they will watch rom-coms and cuddle their fur baby Kiki. To connect with Amanda, visit her Linkedin.