How to Adopt a Child in Oklahoma
Adoption is a journey that changes your life forever! If you have felt the call to adopt in Oklahoma and want to know what to do next, you’ve come to the right place. Our Oklahoma adoption agency has helped thousands of parents with their adoption journeys, and we can help you too.
Deciding to Adopt
Even making the decision to adopt isn’t easy. Many people considering adoption have come to that choice through hardship, pain, and/or sacrifice. But deciding to adopt is one of the best ways you can show your love for your family and others.
When you decide to adopt, you’ll also need to decide whether you want to adopt an infant or an older child. Both types of adoptions have their own benefits and challenges.
Couples who have experienced difficulty conceiving a child tend to be drawn to infant adoptions. In many infant adoptions the child being adopted is a newborn, though in some cases, they may be a few months or even a year old.
Infant adoptions have several benefits to the adoptive parents, including:
Easier bonding between parents and child
A softer “learning curve” – infants give you time to learn how to be a parent
Easier teaching of values and expectations
More opportunities to educate your child
Older child adoptions are just as rewarding for both the parent and child as infant adoptions. Most older child adoptions are carried out through the foster care system. In these adoptions, foster children who are legally free for adoption are paired with forever families. Unlike infants who have hundreds of families waiting, it can be hard to locate families for waiting foster children. Many children over the age of 10 never find a family at all.
The benefits of adopting an older child include:
Less wait time between application and being matched
Less expensive to complete the adoption process
Less difficult to learn about your child’s history and birth family
More opportunities to help a child in need
Finding a Child to Adopt
Once you’ve decided on adopting and know whether you want to adopt an infant or older child, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to adopt. There are several options for adopting children in Oklahoma. The most popular include private adoption agencies, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, and lawyers.
You can choose to work with a licensed Oklahoma adoption agency. Agencies take a little more time than other adoption methods, but they also offer the most support services and tend to ensure a good match. Adoption agencies also have access to a multitude of resources that other providers don’t. Plus they are licensed and regulated by the government to provide the best service.
For older child adoption, adopting out of foster care is often a possibility. Many foster parents choose to adopt the children they foster, especially if they are together for a long time. In Oklahoma, there are about 500 waiting foster children who need a permanent family. You can choose to adopt through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services or one of several licensed adoption agencies.
Adoption lawyers are also an option. Many law firms specialize in adoption. While their services are fast and efficient, they often provide little outside support or continuing care. Many lawyers don’t keep records beyond the legally required time limit. It’s also rare to find one who offers counseling or other support services.
The Oklahoma Adoption Process
Once you choose an adoption provider, you’ll need to go through the rest of the process. For both infants and older children the process is similar, but there are a few extra steps in infant adoptions.
First, you need to apply to be an adoptive parent. The applications are different between agencies and law firms. Yet, most have similar requirements with regard to age, income, lifestyle and family situation. You’ll also need to pay any up-front fees for the adoption process at this point.
Once you’ve applied to become an adoptive parent, you will have to complete a homestudy. Homestudies involve a social worker visiting your home, interviewing your family members, and observing your day-to-day life. This study ensures you can provide the resources and care an adopted child needs. The homestudy process can take several weeks – you can learn more about how it works here.
When your homestudy is completed you’ll need to find either a birth family or a waiting child. Your preferences will play a big part in how long this process takes. Parents who are more willing to accept children of varying ages, races, or family histories will find a child to adopt faster.
Finally, there are mandatory waiting periods you’ll need to go through before your adoption is complete. With an infant this includes waiting for the child to be born and a window afterwards. Older children have different waiting periods. These periods can vary based on whether you fostered the child beforehand or not. In Oklahoma, the mandatory waiting period before your adoption can be finalized is six months.
You might think your challenges are over once your adoption is finalized. But there are still many mountain tops and valleys to traverse in your adoption journey.
One common challenge in an adoption is often called post-adoption depression. Once an adoption is finalized, it’s common for parents to feel depressed or unfulfilled. This is because the anticipation and excitement of waiting for a child is different from the reality of being a parent. Many new adoptive parents find actual parenthood stressful. Plus, the change to their lives can be hard to adjust to.
Adoptive parents may also have difficulty meeting the needs of their child. Securing counseling and extra education at your adoption agency or through a family counseling service can be helpful.
The adoption process is a lifelong journey with many unexpected challenges and rewards. If you are interested in starting your own adoption voyage, contact us today at Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption Services. Call (405) 949-4200 or text (405) 456-9025 to talk to one of our adoption specialists in Oklahoma today.