Open Arms’ goal is to find safe and loving homes for children, which is why we follow state requirements for adoptive parents. Although the requirements for adoptive parents vary state to state, Open Arms works with applicants no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, and other protected characteristics, as long as they meet criteria in both the state they reside in, and the state in which the expectant mother resides in.
As each adoption is different, there is no exact preparation that will provide you exactly what you need, but there are plenty of resources and support to help you feel ready to become an adoptive parent. Open Arms requires 10 hours of online adoption education training that covers a range of topics related to adoption. If you are interested in adopting a child with special needs, there may be more required training for you to take. Talking with friends and family members that may have adopted and gone through the process can also be a good resource. There are multiple support groups for adoptive parents and we can assist connecting you with them.
The adoption process will look a little different from person to person, or family to family. Generally it begins with filling out an application, approval or denial of that application, completing a home study, being selected by an expectant mother and potential communication with that expectant mother, figuring out and assisting with potential financial needs of an expectant mother, birth, legal paperwork, post-placement, home study, and finalization of the adoption. The length of this process is unknown, and we cannot guarantee a placement. We take this process very seriously, as it is our priority to make sure prospective adoptive parents are the right fit for a child. Open Arms will be supporting you throughout this process through clear communication, emotional support, and community resource referrals for adopting parents.
Every adoption process is unique and therefore the length of the adoption process is different for each case. Patience and realistic expectations are required when going through this process. We find that it is helpful and we encourage prospective adoptive parents to join community groups or utilize other resources to help support them through their adoption journeys.
While not guaranteed to speed up the process, there are some things to keep in mind when looking to adopt that may help. The most common way that a prospective family is shown to a expectant mother is an adoption profile containing pictures and information about their family, home, and where they live. When it comes to a profile, we suggest families keep theirs updated and remain open to our professional recommendations. Another factor that can speed up the process is being open to more contact with a birth mother after the adoption. Sending letters, photos, phone calls, and in person visits are all something that are becoming more common for a expectant mother to be interested in. Families should discuss if they are open to adopting a child that may have experienced substance exposure throughout the pregnancy, or is expected to have any medical conditions or special needs. We advise all parents to do research on the effects of prenatal exposure and adopting a child with special needs to decide what they are comfortable with. Lastly, families that are interested in adopting a child regardless of sex or race may be quicker to adopt.
Once your application has been completed and approved and you have an approved
home study, Open Arms will begin showing your profile to expectant mothers that we are
Prospective adoptive parents receive detailed, non-identifying information about the
baby and both birth parents, including medical and social history.
Open Arms works with prospective parents that are in different spots in the adoption process. If you are in the middle of the adoption process and have already completed a home study, or are working with another attorney, agency, or consultant, we can still work with you! Open Arms is happy to work alongside these professionals on the families behalf. We ask for transparency from prospective parents when they are working with another adoption professional.
A home study is part of the adoption process that all applicants will need to complete
before being eligible to adopt a child. It is an evaluation by the state that determines your readiness and qualifies you for adoption. The home study process includes paperwork and documentation, education, in depth interviews, and a home inspection.
The process is completed by a licensed home study provider in the state in which you reside. If you reside in Washington, your home study will be completed by Open Arms’ licensed provider. If you are out of state, Open Arms can assist you in finding a licensed home study provider in your state.
In most states a home study is valid for one year, although in some states that period is
longer. To keep your home study valid, it is advised that you start working on your home study update before your current one expires to avoid being unqualified at any point. Open Arms asks that home studies be updated annually, even if you reside in a state where they are considered valid for a longer period.