STEP ONE: Select and Contact Your Agency
The agency you chose to complete your adoption with will depend on your personal needs and characteristics. This will vary from person to person depending on each adoptive parents time frame, budget, and many other factors. Mission West Virginia is not an adoption agency, however, we can provide you with your local WV DHHR contact as well as a listing of licensed, private adoption agencies.
STEP TWO: Complete and Submit Your Application
Each agency's application process is different. The application should be included in the information packet provided by that agency or can be obtained by contacting the agency and expressing an interest.
STEP THREE: Attend Training
Training is designed to prepare you for fostering/adopting and explain the details of becoming a foster/adoptive family. The training is designed to help you gain the best possible understanding and preparation for parenting and adopted or foster child. The training provides an excellent opportunity to meet with other families and social workers, answer your questions, ease fears, dispel myths and educate yourself on children in the child welfare system.
In a two-parent household, both parents are required to attend training. The standard training in West Virginia is called PRIDE. Training schedules vary between agencies, however many try to accommodate workday schedules and host trainings on evenings or weekends.
STEP FOUR: Complete a Homestudy
Everyone who hopes to adopt a child must complete a homestudy. The process can take anywhere from three months to two years depending on the agency, the worker, and your own cooperation.
A social worker will interview everyone in the household. Your social worker will also discuss what type of child you could best provide care for. All information gathered during the homestudy is kept confidential.
The following items are commonly requested during the homestudy process:
- Copies of birth certificates for you, your partner, and any children.STEP FIVE: Engage in the Placement Process
- A copy of your marriage license (if applicable).
- Copies of divorce decrees (if applicable).
- Child abuse, criminal record clearances and fingerprints for all members of your household over eighteen.
- Income verification (tax returns, W-2 forms, and paycheck stubs).
- A statement of health.
This is the stage in which a specific child is identified for you and your family. During the homestudy phase, your agency will have worked with you to determine your family's needs and limitations in regards to placing a child. Prior to accepting a placement, the social worker will disclose to you information about the child's history, needs, and strengths in order for you to determine if you can provide the best home for this child.
STEP SIX: File Necessary Legal Documents
All adoptions must be finalized through the court system. Usually, your selected child will live with you for at least 6 months before the adoption begins to be finalized. After this 6-month period, the agency or attorney will submit a written recommendation for approval of adoption to the court. Once this is submitted, you will need to file with the court to complete the adoption.
STEP SEVEN: Finalize the Adoption
This is the final step in the adoption process. Your new family may now need support during this time of adjustment.