What To Expect As An Adoptive Parent
Now that we know what happens during the adoption process, lets take a look at what else goes on behind the scenes. It is easy to get carried away in the requirements and evaluations. But lets look at the other parts that come with the adoption process. These are tips of advice that any adoptive parent can use to stay level headed when things get a bit more crazy.
The first is emotions. Since this process is a journey for both you and your prospective child, it is normal to feel a wide range of emotions without any sure reason why. There will be many ups and downs and know that it is okay to feel sad, happy, angry, and ecstatic all at the same time. Embrace each one and let it go. Anything in this process is subject to change and so are your emotions tied to it. Keep an open mind and let your emotions in when each comes knocking.
The second is delays or unforeseen problems. Whether its a complication with the agency or a complication with the birth parents family, there will always be room for error and the unknown. But that does not mean it should deter you from giving up or devaluing this experience. Take time to sit with the uncomfortable and know that this roadblock is temporary and only a detour to the final destination.
Hopeful Adoptive Parents Must Pass A Background Check
State statutes requiring background checks are supported by Federal law in title IV-E of the Social Security Act.1 Under Federal law, States are required to include in their title IV-E State plan provisions for completing all of the following:
State Central Register for Abuse and Neglect : When families apply to adopt, agencies must check with the State Central Register for Abuse and Neglect to determine whether an applicant, or any person over the age of 18 who resides in the home, has previously abused or maltreated a child. If a prospective parent or other adult has resided in another state in the preceding 5 years, then the child abuse and neglect registry of the other State/s must also be cleared.
Criminal History Check: A criminal history check for a prospective adoptive parent or any other person over the age of 18, who is currently residing in the home is required.
Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act: In 2006 the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act a federal statute, was signed into law. Also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, this law allowed for the creation of a national sex offender registry. As part of the home study process, you will be required to submit to a sex offender registry search.
Who Cannot Adopt a Child by Law
You are not allowed to adopt or foster if you have a felony conviction for:
Working With Your Caseworker To Find The Appropriate Child
Once a homestudy has been approved, the family and the agency work together to place a child. There are no special formulas for this process. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. The agency and family team up to decide what placement would promote the best interest of the child.
In addition to the child photolisting available on this website, New York State publishes a printed version of The Adoption Album. Each page contains a photograph and a brief biography of a child needing a family. The Adoption Album is updated regularly to add children newly freed for adoption. Copies of The Adoption Album are available at public and private adoption agencies, at most libraries, and at other locations across the state and throughout the country.
Sometimes an agency can directly link a prospective adoptive family with the child they wish to adopt. However, an agency must often contact other agencies to inquire about a child.
Families can be identified for children through the Family Adoption Registry. The Family Adoption Registry is part of The Adoption Album database and is an opportunity for prospective parents to register their interest in adopting New York State’s waiting children.
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What Should Families Know About Applying For Subsidy
18. Who initiates the adoption assistance agreement?
The childs adoption worker, either at the Local DSS or the voluntary authorized agency.
19. Who makes the final determination on an adoption subsidy agreement?
Subsidy agreements are reviewed and approved at the local/county level and subsequently by NYS Adoption Services. Social service districts may apply to conduct final reviews.
20. How do families request a subsidy after finalization of an adoption?
Parent may apply for a post-finalization subsidy only in cases where the child has a disabling condition that:
- a doctor certifies existed prior to finalization,
- was not known to the adoptive parent at the time of the finalization, and
- was diagnosed after finalization.
Documentation is required. Parent should use the standard adoption subsidy forms.
Submitting An Application To Adopt In New York State
After choosing an agency, you must submit an application to adopt. This application seeks information on your background, family composition, and the number of people living in your home. You will need to describe the type of child you feel most suited to adopt, and the agency can help you with this description. This information is necessary to ensure that each child is placed with the family most able to meet the child’s needs.
When families apply to adopt, agencies must check with the New York State Child Abuse and Maltreatment Register to determine whether an applicant, or any person over the age of 18 who resides in the home, has previously abused or maltreated a child. Also, a criminal history check for a prospective adoptive parent or any other person over the age of 18, who is currently residing in the home is required. A criminal record does not necessarily prevent an applicant from adopting. Every effort is made to ensure that children are placed in safe environments.
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Cayuga County Department Of Health And Human Services
County Office Building, 160 Genesee StreetAuburn, NY 13021Ms. Diane Valentine, Adoption Supervisor315-253-1360Ms. Wendy Armstrong, Adoption & Photolisting315-253-1644
Ms. Kristen Ernewein, Adoption & Photolisting716-661-8070
425-447 Pennsylvania Avenue, Box 588Elmira, NY 14902-0588Ms. Kellie Lowman, Adoption & Photolisting607-737-5402
P.O. Box 590, 5 Court StreetNorwich, NY 13815Ms. Janice Burt-Ashton, Adoption & Photolisting607-337-1526
Ms. Donna M. Drollette, Foster Care & Adoption Supervisor518-565-3444
P.O. Box 458, 25 Railroad AvenueHudson, NY 12534Ms. Colleen Bartle, Foster Care, Adoption & Photolisting Supervisor518-828-9411 ext. 2125
Ms. Jennifer Hammond, Adoption & Photolisting607-756-3434
Ms. Rebecca Hoyt, Adoption & Photolisting607-832-5300
Golden Retriever Rescues In New York
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Laws Regarding Stepparent Adoption In New York And New Jersey
When the legal parent of a child marries or re-marries, that parents spouse may adopt his or her child through a stepparent adoption in New York or New Jersey.
One of two requirements must be met for the court to approve a step-parent adoption:
- the consent of the other biological or legal parent must be provided, or
- the court must find that the consent of the other biological or legal parent is not required because that person does not have a legally recognized relationship with the child.
Generally, a stepparent adoption is straightforward, particularly if the other parent has given his or her consent or has abandoned the child. If youre interested in learning how to adopt your stepchild, its important to know that the laws governing stepparent adoptions vary from state to state:
New York Stepparent Adoption Laws:
- Both parents must consent to the adoption, unless a court determines that their consent is not legally required. This can depend on many factors, such as whether the other parent is named on the childs birth certificate and the extent to which she or he has taken physical, emotional and financial responsibility for the child.
- The child must consent to his or her own stepparent adoption if the child is more than 14 years old.
- The stepparent must be fingerprinted and cleared through the child abuse registry .
- The court will order an investigation to determine whether the adoption is in the best interests of the child.
New Jersey Stepparent Adoption Laws:
Accessible Navigation And Information
Use the following links to quickly navigate around the page. The number for each is also the shortcut key. You can jump to:
You are in this section of the site: Adoption Services
NYS Adoption Services 52 Washington Street Room 332 North
You are on this page: The Adoption Process
The legal process of adopting, from application to finalization, can be a lengthy one. It may take six months or more from the time you apply before a child is placed in your home it will take at least three to twelve months after that before the adoption may be finalized in court.
The basic tasks in the adoption process in New York State are:
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Jacqui Hunt Agency Adoption
When Jacqui Hunt was 18 and living in California, she gave birth to a baby boy and placed him for adoption. I just wasnt prepared to be a single parent at that point in my life, Hunt, now 53, said. Its not something my family, or society, would have accepted at the time.
Over 30 years later, she is happily embracing parenthood on her own this time as an adoptive parent herself in New York City. Ive kind of come full circle on the issue, she said.
Like many parents by way of adoption, Hunt spent many years trying, and failing, to conceive.
Eventually, she turned to adoption, looking first into the foster care system. She quickly learned, however, that New York was among the 25 states requiring foster parents to provide any child older than an infant which represent the overwhelming majority of those in foster care with their own bedroom. To qualify, shed need to move from her studio apartment, in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, to a larger unit.
For Hunt, a public school teacher, a two-bedroom apartment in New York where the average rent for a two-bedroom is $3,390, according to the real estate site Zumper was cost prohibitive. Though a private adoption would be more expensive, Hunt reasoned that it would still be cheaper in the end since she could remain in her more affordable apartment for the foreseeable future.
It was a tumultuous path that got me here, but I dont regret a thing, she said. My daughter is the joy of my life.
Get Started With Your New York Adoption
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Consent To Adopt An Older Child Or Adult
In New York, the adoption of a child over 14 years of age requires the consent of the child as well as the adopting parents. For children younger than 18, the court may also require the consent of the child’s birth parents, regardless of their current custody status. Adult adoption does not require the consent of the adoptee’s birth parents, although the consent of the child’s legal guardian may be taken into consideration by a judge.
What Else Do Families Need To Know
23. How is the subsidy program operated and funded in New York?
The program is state supervised/county administered. This means that personnel at the state office are responsible for making policy decisions regarding the adoption assistance program, and provide guidance to county offices. The counties make decisions related to childrens eligibility.
The federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children is 50% in New York. This is known as the Federal Financial Participation rate. For non-IV-E children, the state bears 75 percent and the local district 25 percent of the costs. In the case of non-IV-E children in the custody of a voluntary agency, the subsidy is 100 percent state-funded.
24. Does New York operate a subsidized guardianship program?
Yes, for more information visit
25. Does New York offer a tuition waiver program?
The New York Education and Training Voucher Program offers funds to foster youth and former foster youth, who are adopted after their 16th birthday, to enable them to attend colleges, universities, and vocational training institutions. Students may receive up to $5,000 a year for four years as they pursue higher education. The funds may be used for tuition, books or qualified living expenses. These funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis to students out of the New York foster care system. For more information, go to
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New York State Certificate Requirements
After choosing an agency, you must submit an application to adopt. This application consists of background information, family composition, and the number of people living in your home. You will need to describe the type of child you feel most suited to adopt . This information is necessary to ensure that each child is placed with the family most able to meet his/her needs.
Every adopting parent in the United States must complete a homestudy in order to adopt a child, no matter which adoption pathway they choose. This includes domestic adoption, international adoption, foster care, and step-parent adoption. New York requires that a criminal background investigation be performed. All adults aged 18 and older who live in your home must be fingerprinted and cleared through the State Central Register for Abuse and Neglect .
The Adoption Process In New York City
The process varies depending on which shelter you go to. At its most basic, adopting a dog consists of:
- A shelter visit to meet your new pet. Bring everyone who will be living with your new companion, including family, roommates, and other dogs.
- A call or check-in with your veterinarian and landlord.
- A counseling session to make sure you are ready for pet ownership.
- Payment and paper signing.
Then, youre ready to head home! Same-day adoptions can take an hour or more, and many agencies will stop adoptions an hour or so before the organization closes.
The above scenario, however, is on the shorter side in terms of timelines. Other agencies have policies that can extend the process by days or weeks, including:
- A home visit to see where your future dog will sleep, eat, and play. Home visits are also a chance for the adoption agency to make sure everyone living in the residence is OK with a new pet.
- Travel time if you adopt through an international rescue.
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Children Currently Waiting For Adoption
All children who are available for adoption are children who are currently in foster care. They have been freed from their birth parents by court order. Children who are waiting forever in families range in age from 3 years to 17 years. Some of the children have physical and/or emotional issues which they continue to address in their daily functioning. We strongly feel that children stand a much better chance of dealing with their issues successfully in a loving, caring forever family.
Most waiting children are eligible to receive a subsidy. A subsidy is money which is paid to the adopting parent until the child is 21 years old. This money helps adoptive parents pay for services the child may need because of the emotional or physical trauma the child has experienced. Waiting children are also eligible for Medicaid coverage until they are either 18 years old or 21 years old. A child qualifies for a subsidy because she or he is diagnosed by a qualified professional, e.g. a Medical Doctor, a Psychiatrist, or a Psychologist as having either a physical or emotional handicap which seriously affects their functioning and will be something they will need to deal with for most or all of their childhood. A child might also qualify for a subsidy because New York State determines that the child would be hard to place in a forever family. You can find a detailed explanation of subsidy and medical coverage on New York States website.
How To Adopt A Dog In New York City
Dogs cant handle apartment life? Tell that to the people of New York City. NYCs Economic Development Corporation estimates one in seven households has a canine resident. If you do the math, thats approximately 425,000 dogs within the five boroughsand those are just the ones registered with the city.
Adopting a dog can be a long process. Its not uncommon to fall in love with a potential pet online only to see it already scooped up once you get to the shelter. Take heart, however. The perfect pup is out there for you, and our guide will help you find him or her. Read on to discover how to adopt a dog in New York City.
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