What Is Adoption?
Preparation and Patience
If this is your first experience with the adoption process, you are probably feeling very overwhelmed at this point. You may be left wondering if you will ever actually adopt a child. Once we approve the home study, you will receive a letter of congratulations from our Chief Executive Officer. This begins the phase of matching you with a child.
You will complete a "Non-Identifying Profile" of your family. This will be a 1-2 page description that tells about you without using any identifying information. The social worker will not divulge any information to a birth parent without your permission.
The social worker will register you in the West Virginia Adoption Resource Network.
You will be asked to complete a "Dear Birth Parent" letter. This will be shown to prospective birth parents who are considering families for their child. Whereas the profile the social worker writes gives basic information about you, this letter gives you the chance to let your personality and emotions shine through. This can sometimes be a difficult letter to write, so your social worker will provide you with an outline and some suggestions. Sample letters are available upon request.
Imagine yourself as a young single woman, or man, faced with trying to select a family to raise your child. How difficult would it be to choose someone from only seeing a two-page description and a letter? Would you want to see what the potential adoptive family looked like? What does their home look like? What do their pets look like?
As a potential adoptive family, we encourage you to develop a portfolio of two or three pages of family photographs to share with birth parents. Many birth parents are interested in meeting potential families before selecting one for their child. Others may be comfortable with only looking at profiles, and yet others may leave the decision up to us.
In adoption of children from the foster care system, the WV Department of Health and Human Resources may consider families for children from the same county or neighboring counties. During the home study process you will have the opportunity to discuss your concerns about these issues with your social worker. The important thing is that you are comfortable with your individual decision about each issue. No two families feel the same about everything.
During this period, families are encouraged to continue exploring issues surrounding adoption. You can never learn too much about the many facets of this enormous life-long commitment.
Once you are selected as an adoptive family for a child, you will be provided with documentation of the birth parents' background including medical and social histories. Keep in mind, the birth parents provide this information to the agency, and we cannot guarantee its completeness or accuracy. We work diligently to encourage birth parents to be as thorough and accurate as possible with the information they provide. In the case of an unknown birth father, there may be no information on the birth father's history. You will be provided with the baby's medical information including prenatal care and birth information. We want you to make an informed decision about making a lifelong commitment to the child you will be considering for adoption.
You have the right to refuse any placement with which you are uncomfortable, and this will not affect your status.
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