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How to Become an Adoptive Parent

ADOPTION PROCESS

 

AASK is under contract with the North Dakota Department of Human Services to provide adoption services to children in foster care and the families adopting these children. Adoption from foster care occurs as a process within the Child and Family Team planning meetings, a part of the overall child welfare system in North Dakota. AASK’s primary role is to assist children obtain permanency through adoption. Thus, the child is our primary client and the program strives to find families for children.

 

The following describes the general process for an adoption through the AASK program:

 

1.  AASK Inquiry Meeting / PRIDE Participation

  • Attending an Inquiry Meeting is a requirement of the assessment process. The Inquiry Meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss your questions regarding adoption, as well as provide you an opportunity to hear the questions of other prospective adoptive parents.

  • PRIDE (Parent Resource Information and Development Education) training must be completed prior to beginning your adoption assessment. PRIDE training is a twenty-seven hour curriculum offered throughout North Dakota. If you have already completed PRIDE, your adoption worker will ask you to provide a copy of your Certificate of Completion. You are not required to complete PRIDE more than once.

 

2.  You are provided with the AASK Parent Assessment Packet

  • After the AASK Inquiry Meeting and PRIDE training is complete, you will receive the AASK parent assessment packet. The packet includes:

·  Assessment paperwork, which you are required to complete in its entirety.

·  Forms for child abuse/neglect and criminal background checks, including a Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) check and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprinting check. All adults in the home over age eighteen will be required to complete the background checks. Due to federal regulations, this is required for the purposes of adoption, even if you recently completed background checks for the purposes of foster care or for any other reason.

·  Self-declaration medical forms for all members of the family are included. A medical report may be requested by the AASK program.

  • You are required to complete a temperament analysis and parenting inventory as part of the home study process. You and your AASK worker will schedule an office visit in order to complete the assessments. The results of the assessments will be reviewed with you during the upcoming visits.

  • Prompt return of completed paperwork will aid in timeliness of the process.

 

3.  Your adoption worker will begin Home Visits

  • Home visits will generally not begin until all of the packet paperwork has been submitted to the AASK worker and all collateral information has been received in the AASK office. Some visits may be scheduled in the AASK office or other mutually agreed upon location. Please note that assignment to an adoption worker is contingent upon case worker availability.

 

4.  Your adoption worker will complete a Written Assessment                

  • Your adoption worker will gather all of the home study data, including reference information, in the form of a written assessment, which will include a summary and recommendation.

  • Your adoption worker will review the written assessment with you and you have the opportunity to provide clarifications, corrections or comments. Your adoption worker will submit the assessment to the AASK Program Supervisor for approval. You will receive an unofficial copy of your assessment.

  • If you do not have a child identified in the adoption assessment, the AASK Director will add your name to the mailing list to receive the monthly ‘Waiting Child” fliers, which consist of information regarding individual children for whom the program is recruiting an adoptive family. Additionally, families are encouraged to utilize national online photo listing resources, such as www.ndheartgallery.org or www.adoptuskids.org, in their search for a child.

  • If you do have a child identified in the adoption assessment, your AASK worker will partner with the Child and Family Team during the family selection process regarding this child.

  • All families are encouraged to read their child’s adoption record before making a final decision about proceeding with an adoption plan to ensure they have a complete understanding of their child’s needs and background.

  • Please recognize that an approved home assessment does not entitle you to the placement of a particular child. This process is directed by a child’s team.

 

5.  Once you have been selected for a child/youth, the AASK worker will discuss the Adoption Assistance Program with you. If the child meets the criteria for a child with special needs designation, an adoption subsidy application is submitted.

  • The AASK worker will assist families adopting children designated as having ‘special needs,” in the subsidy application process. Items needed for the packet will include any receipts for adoption-related expenses, a letter to AASK from your attorney, which indicates the total amount of legal fees for finalizing the adoption and any child specific documentation.

  • Your adoption worker will submit all necessary documentation to the county social service office in which you reside. You will complete the application and negotiate the terms of the adoption assistance agreement with the county social service agency. Families adopting children from another state will work with the sending jurisdiction regarding the adoption assistance program. 

  • Families adopting North Dakota children who are not designated as having ‘special needs’ will continue to receive adoption services through the AASK program and will not be assessed additional program fees. They are not eligible to apply for or receive an adoption subsidy. Family will still have finalization and other fees.

 

6.  Adoptive Placement

  • You and your AASK worker will schedule the date for adoptive placement and who will be present.

  • You and your AASK worker will plan a placement celebration to mark the child’s transition from foster care into adoption. (You may choose to hold this celebration at the time of the adoptive placement or you may wait until finalization.)

  • Your AASK worker becomes the child’s primary case manager at the time of adoptive placement. Child and Family Team meetings will continue to be scheduled every three months until finalization.

  • Your AASK worker will make home visits to supervise the adoptive placement.

 

7.  Finalization

  • Adopted children in the state of North Dakota must reside in the adoptive home for a minimum of six months prior to the finalization of the adoption. Time a child spends in your home through the foster care system counts towards this time period.

  • Finalization takes place when the family, the child, the AASK Worker and the child’s custodial team are all satisfied that the placement is appropriate. 

  • You will complete finalization paperwork, which your AASK worker will provide.

  • The AASK worker completes the court report and submits it to the North Dakota Department of Human Services. 

·  A letter is sent from the North Dakota State Adoption Administrator to your attorney.

  • Upon receipt of the notice from the Adoption Administrator, your attorney requests a hearing.

 

**Any exceptions to this process are based on the recommendations and approval of the AASK team and the North Dakota State Adoption Administrator, with input from the child’s custodial team.

 

A home for every child.