Wyoming is arguably one of the most beautiful states in the great United States. The Wyoming territory was the first in the nation to allow women over the age of 21 to vote, and the first female governor was elected in Wyoming. While Wyoming is the least populous state in the country, it is full of beautiful wildlife, rolling hills, tree-covered mountains, and home to most of Yellowstone National Park.
In this Wyoming Adoption Guide, we will put the natural beauty of the state on the backburners and focus on everything adoption. Whether you are an expectant mother or a hopeful adoptive parent, we will provide a lot of facts and important information to prepare you for adoption in Wyoming.
For the Expectant Parent
If you have found yourself in an unplanned pregnancy, remember that you are not alone. Many women and couples are in the same position that you are—considering your options and learning as much as you can about adoption. There’s a lot to take in, but the important thing to remember is that you are in control of what happens to you and your child.
You always have the option to decide to parent. It’s important to consider your financial, physical, and emotional health and the support you have around you. There are many resources in your community to help if you are feeling weak in any of these areas. The Wyoming Department of Family Services provides many great resources for families who need a little extra help. Some of their assistance includes food assistance, cash assistance, child support, home, utility, energy, and childcare assistance.
If you feel it is in the best interest of you and your child to place your child for adoption, it’s important to look for a good adoption agency that will support you and listen to you throughout the whole process. Do your research and don’t settle on the first agency that you find. Look for an agency that offers counseling, resources, and has strong communication skills.
As the mother of your child, you have the right to choose the quality of your pregnancy and the birth process. Seeking prenatal care is important whether you decide to parent or place your child for adoption. Meeting with a doctor regularly will ensure that both you and your baby are healthy and are receiving all of the medical care needed. You can decide if you want a medicated or unmedicated birth, where you will deliver, and the adoption plan in the hospital. If you want the adoptive parents in the room for the delivery or to wait until a few days have passed, you can let your agency case worker know.
You are in control of choosing which family will adopt and raise your child. Think carefully about the things that you value in a family and make those a top priority. Some things to consider might be whether or not you want the home to be a two-parent home, a single parent home, or a heterosexual couple. You can decide whether or not the child is raised in a religious home, a home with other children, and if they have a large extended family. There is a large variety of families and individuals that are hoping to adopt, and it will help to narrow down your priorities.
You will also get to choose how open your adoption will be. The different levels of adoption are closed, semi-open, and open. In closed adoption, you will not have any contact with your child throughout their life. Your identity will remain anonymous to them. Some mothers choose this to protect the baby from potential harm that might come from unsafe people in their lives. If you are interested in a semi-open adoption, you would agree to exchange pictures every so often and remain open to future communication. With an open adoption, all things are on the table. Visits, phone calls, letters, e-mails, and anything else that you and the adoptive family agree on. When possible, some level of an open adoption is most beneficial for all parties involved.
For the Hopeful Adoptive Family
As a hopeful adoptive parent, you are part of what is known as an adoptive triad. An adoptive triad is made up of the birth mother, adoptive family, and the child. All pieces of the triad are important and have important responsibilities. There are different options when it comes to adoption in Wyoming—private adoption, adoption through foster care, and international adoption. Something that all of these forms of adoption have in common is the home study.
A home study is a written report on all of the members in your home. It is an all-inclusive write up that requires some preparation beforehand. Before your home study, you will talk with a case worker and they will prepare you for everything you need to know for your home study. They will provide you with a list of documents and information to gather. These include:
- Birth certificates for you, you spouse, and any children in your home.
- Adoption decrees for any adopted children in your home.
- Marriage certificate.
- Death certificates of any former spouses.
- Divorce decrees for you and/or your spouse.
- Employment verification on the company’s letterhead.
- Verification of income (tax returns).
- Proof of life insurance.
- Proof of health insurance.
- Verification of any and all monetary assets (checking and savings accounts, 401k, stocks, mutual funds, etc.).
- Any debt information (houses, cars, and credit card balances).
- Mortgage or rent information.
- Physical exam results.
- Criminal background results.
- Public health inspection.
- Fire Safety inspection.
- Proof of pet vaccination.
- Photographs of your family.
- Written references.
The home study process can be an intimidating process for some, but if it is taken step-by-step, it is very manageable. After you’ve collected all of the required documentation and information, your case worker will come to your home. The purpose for the home study visit is to see your home, make sure that it is a good fit for a child, and ensure there is enough space to grow your family. The case worker will sit down with each member of the family individually, and as a group, to ask various questions and get to know more about your life, background, education, parenting philosophies, and other things about you. The case worker will then write it up to meet the criteria for the type of adoption that you are pursuing.
If you are looking to adopt an infant in the United States, domestic adoption is likely the best fit for you. Older children are also able to be adopted domestically. You can choose to adopt independently or through an adoption agency. If you adopt independently, you and the expectant mother will connect without the help of an agency. Sometimes these connections are made through mutual friends, attorneys, doctors, or other professionals. You can create a parent profile on Adoption.com. With the parent profile, you can share information about your family, pictures, and videos. Expectant moms can search the parent profiles and find families that are most compatible with them. They can even reach out directly to you through adoption.com and you can start a conversation. Adopting independently is less expensive than working with an adoption agency, but requires a lot more work and does not provide as much support as an agency would. If choosing to adopt independently, you will still need to hire an adoption attorney to finalize the adoption.
If you choose to work with an agency, the price of adoption is generally higher, but you will be provided with a lot of support and guidance throughout the process. Adoption can be overwhelming and it’s nice to have a team of professionals there to help you. It’s important to do your research when choosing an agency. You can join a group on Facebook for domestic adoption and ask for opinions from other people in the adoption community. While most agencies are ethical and will provide you and the expectant mother with support, there are some that will simply take your money and give very little help to you or expectant mothers. Be thorough, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to ask for references!
Adoption Through Foster Care
The purpose of foster care is to provide a safe, temporary home for a child or children while their parents work to regain their parental rights. Children are placed into foster care due to physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or neglect. The state works closely with parents to get them on the right track and provide every opportunity for success. With this in mind, remember that foster care isn’t meant to be a free way to adopt a child. Reunification is the first goal of foster care. If reunification isn’t the safest option for the child, then parental rights will be terminated, and they will be available for adoption.
A Wyoming adoption guide would be incomplete without some information on how to become a foster parent in Wyoming. The basic requirements to become a foster parent in Wyoming are:
- Be at least 21 years of age.
- Be single or in a relationship.
- Be in good physical and emotional health.
- Be financially stable.
- Have no history of substance abuse or neglect.
- Have no criminal history as defined by certification policies.
You will also have to complete a home study and required trainings. Some of the trainings include how to handle trauma in children, emotional care, foster care laws, and other important topics to prepare you for foster care.
If you are wanting to adopt directly from foster care, there are children that are available for adoption whose parental rights have already been terminated. These children can be found on The Adoption Exchange’s Children’s Gallery. Generally, these children are older, part of a sibling group, and/or have disabilities. To adopt a waiting child, you will still have them in your home for at least six months as a foster placement before the adoption can be finalized. Many families have found individual and family therapy to be helpful as they work on coming together as a new family.
International adoption is when you work with an adoption agency within the United States to adopt a child from outside of the United States. Generally, these children are living in orphanages or foster homes in their native country, and are available for adoption. Some of the advantages of adopting international are that you can adopt through a closed adoption system, adopt within a specific time, select the age and gender of the child, adopt later in life, select a particular country or culture, and provide humanitarian aid.
To adopt internationally, you will need a home study specific to international adoption. You will need to work with a Hague accredited agency. Gladney Center for Adoption explains what the Hague accreditation means, 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.”
International adoption is very exciting and can provide a lot of unique experiences. International adoption is generally very expensive and requires a lot of travel, paperwork, and patience. There are many kids around the world that need safe, loving, and stable homes. International adoption is a wonderful way to grow your family and give a child in need a safe home.
Adoption can be very expensive, but the cost shouldn’t stop you from growing your family and working towards that goal. There are many resources out there to help your family finance adoption including adoption loans, grants, and fundraising ideas. A simple search on the internet will guide you to different options and give you more information on how you can qualify for grants and loans. One of the biggest qualifiers to receive a grant or a loan for your adoption is to work with an agency or adoption attorney.
Michelle 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.