DePaul specializes primarily in adoptions for children coming through the state foster care system. Therefore, we are seeking families open to dual approval for foster care and adoption, and willing to help support children in temporary foster care placements while awaiting potential adoptive matches. We work with a very diverse range of parents representing different family structures, ages, and cultural backgrounds. What matters most to us is a willingness to learn and to love unconditionally.
The Adoption Process
The first step to potentially welcome a child into your family through adoption begins with DePaul’s foster care/adoption home study process. This process helps to prepare prospective foster-to-adopt parents through orientation, training, and meetings with a variety of DePaul team members. An assigned Resource Family Specialist will conduct the home study visits and be available to offer guidance and support throughout the process. A home study ensures the home is safe and stable, and includes background checks for criminal activity or child abuse, as well as driving history, finances, and health status. One of the goals of the home study is to identify the types of children an individual or couple feels they are best able to parent and are a good fit for their family. Typically, the home study process takes three to six months from start to finish, depending on how quickly family interviews, initial trainings, and background checks are completed. Following successful completion of the home study, foster/adoptive parents will be required to comply with ongoing training requirements throughout their journey fostering and being considered as a potential adoptive home for children who become eligible for permanent placement.
Once a home study is approved, foster care and adoption specialists work in concert to find the best possible match with a child or children who are either temporarily entering the foster care system or waiting for a permanent home. This process is always individualized and depends on a variety of factors. If a child’s goal is changed to adoption or a child is referred specifically for adoption services, then an adoption specialist will be assigned to that child to offer the youth and potential adoptive family pre-adoption preparation, therapeutic lifebook work, and support with navigating the legal adoption process.
After an adoption is finalized, DePaul can continue to work with adoptive families, providing case management, advocacy, resource sharing, training opportunities, family activities, and access to free clinical services until adopted children reach adulthood. There is no cost for the home study, training, or adoption services, thanks largely to grant funding provided by the Virginia Department of Social Services.
To learn more about becoming an adoptive parent, contact us at 888.233.7285 or visit your local DePaul Community Resources office.
What We Look For in Potential Adoptive Families
In order to provide the love and support needed for the children we serve – children who have experienced significant family disruption and trauma – DePaul looks for foster and adoptive parents who can offer:
- Unconditional love and care
- Structure and consistency
- Patience and perseverance
- A good sense of humor
- Flexibility in dealing with change, stress, and challenges
- Tolerance and understanding
- A willingness to learn