Parents who are adopting a baby have many decisions to make...cloth or disposable diapers, pacifiers or thumbs...but the first decision is one of the most important. What adoption agency? If you are thinking of adopting or know someone who is, this is a quick walk through of what to expect with Catholic Charities.
Adoption in Arizona through Catholic Charities
When you first contact Catholic Charities by phone or email, you will talk with Sally Gramke, Catholic Charities staff. Gramke will find out if you are interested in infant adoption or adoption through foster care. She will answer your questions and if you are interested in the infant adoption program, she will get you registered for an orientation class.
“Orientations are scheduled quarterly, but in some circumstances, they can be held more often,” said Jennifer Harris, lead adoption counselor.
Orientation and First Meeting
The orientation class covers eligibility, fees, the home study and more. If you decide you want to move forward, the next step is a meeting with the adoption counselor and the couple who is hoping to adopt an infant child. The counselor will help determine if Catholic Charities is a good fit for you and if you meet all requirements to become certified to adopt in the State of Arizona.
If it’s a good fit, you will be invited to attend scheduled adoption education classes. Catholic Charities staff facilitates these required classes.
After the classes are complete, your home study begins. A home study is a report presented to the court that will determine if you will be certified to adopt a child. During the home study, you will be interviewed. You will also be required to complete paperwork, submit to criminal background checks, and provide documents to the agency.
“We basically present your life story in report form to the court,” said Harris.
Based on information from the documents, criminal background checks and interviews, Catholic Charities staff will make a recommendation to the court on whether you should become certified to adopt. However, the court has the final say about whether you will certified for adoption.
Once certified, you can decide which adoption programs you want to work with in their efforts to grow your family. Once accepted into the program, you will officially be certified for adoption.
Waiting to be Matched
Birth parents looking to place their child with an adoptive family are given information about prospective families. As you wait for birth parents to choose you, you can continue to get support and regular check-ins from the Catholic Charities team. Once birth parents choose you, a match meeting is scheduled.
“In this meeting both the birth parents and potential adoptive parents meet and discuss expectations and answer questions. This meeting is held to determine whether they will be matched or not," said Harris.
Once the match has been confirmed and the child is born, the birth parents have to wait at least 72 hours after birth to sign consents to the adoption. After the consents have been signed, the birth parents have the option to physically place the baby with the adoptive family.
A communication agreement is also signed by all parties. This agreement will outline the expectations for contact or updates about the child that the birth parents and you agree to have with one another. You will sign their adoptive placement agreement as well.
Once the child is placed with you, Catholic Charities staff will visit your home at least once every 90 days to provide support and ensure safety for all involved. These visits will continue until the adoption is finalized.
Approximately, four to six months from the date of placement is when the adoption will be finalized in a brief court appearance. The Catholic Charities adoption counselor will walk you through the legal process and attend court with you.
Catholic Charities offers lifelong support to the adopted child, adoptive family and birth family.
Learn more about adoption or contact us at 602-650-4825 to get registered for the next orientation.