5 THINGS TO KNOW: How does the adoption process work through OKDHS? – Mcalester News Capital

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services gives information how eligible families can adopt a child in the state of Oklahoma. More information can be found by visiting http://www.okdhs.org/services/adopt

1.Who are the children "waiting" for adoption?

The children who are currently waiting to be adopted often have special needs. The plan to reunify the children with the family is no longer the goal due the familys inability to provide a safe and nurturing environment. The children currently needing adoptive homes range in age from infants to 17 years of age, they are often part of a sibling group needing to be placed together, they are from various ethnic backgrounds, some have special emotional, medical or physical needs and many of them have experienced multiple moves since they have been in care.

2.How do I start?

If you are an Oklahoma resident and would like to learn more about becoming a Bridge Resource family through OKDHS, you may contact OKDHS Adoption Services by either calling the hotline or complete the on-line inquiry sheet and someone will contact you within 72 hours.

If you live in a state other than Oklahoma, and wish to be considered for an Oklahoma child waiting for adoption, please call 580-310-7051.

3.How long does it take to adopt a child and what is the cost?

The process is extensive. You have to attend 27 hours of Pre-Service training and have a home study completed along with fingerprint background checks. If you are identified as a Bridge Resource Parent, have a relationship with the child placed in your home and reunification is no longer the goal, the adoption can take less than 6 months once the termination of parental rights have occurred and all legal matters have been resolved.

If you are a Bridge Resource Parent that has a specific preference for the child you would like to adopt, such as age, sex, no siblings, it could take a longer period of time. Your family will have a greater chance of adopting quicker if you choose a waiting child rather than an infant or the perfect child. Your family is recommended along with other families and selected based on your familys ability to meet the needs of the child waiting for a placement. In these cases your name is submitted with other available families across the state and the childs worker selects the family they feel will best meet the child's needs.

OKDHS does not charge a fee for families adopting a child in our OKDHS foster care program. Your family will incur the cost of getting medical exams completed. Everyone in the home will need to have a medical exam. This fee depends on your doctor and is paid by you.

4.Isn't there a lot of "red tape" and paperwork?

Yes, there is some, but there is a reason for it. If you were going to be sent to live with a stranger for the rest of your life, wouldn't you want to be sure they were not going to hurt you, starve you or make you do bad things? Agencies who place the children have a responsibility to protect waiting children from abuse. Because of this responsibility, laws have been passed which require certain paperwork, background checks and questions. But OKDHS wants to help you get through all this painlessly, so they will help you fill out the required forms, and will explain everything to you carefully.

5.What if we need help after our adoption is finalized?

As a result of changing federal and state laws regarding permanency for children in foster care, the number of children placed in adoptive homes by OKDHS has steadily increased. The children being placed for adoption are usually older children, those who are physically or mentally challenged, victims of abuse and neglect or sibling groups. As the challenges adoptive parents face in raising these children increases, so does the need for post adoption support services. Parenting issues do not end with the finalization of the adoption. Adoptive families are more successful when they are provided services that are tailored to their unique issues and needs.

OKDHS recognizes the need adoptive families have for support groups, respite care, easy access to medical and mental health care, therapists who are trained specifically to work with adoptive families, training and retreats. OKDHS is working to assist adoptive families with these Post Adoption Support Services.

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5 THINGS TO KNOW: How does the adoption process work through OKDHS? - Mcalester News Capital

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