Adoption is a loving solution for those who have been longing to be a “mom” and “dad” and those who are not ready to take on parenthood at this time in their life. At Lifetree, we care about your welfare and that of the Birth Parents and the Child. We feel it is important for you to know and understand all aspects of the adoption process. Lifetree’s personnel are here to comfort you, and answer all your important questions. All discussions will be and will remain totally confidential; up to the point such information is released to the courts for finalization of your adoption.
At Lifetree, we allow you to select the type of the adoption scenario you desire, and we allow the Birth Parents to select the adoption scenario that is best for them and to what extent they would like to be involved. We offer three different types of adoption: Open, Semi-Open, and Closed.
An Open Adoption involves sharing confidential information like full names and addresses, and includes an ongoing relationship with the Birth Parents. You are accepting to maintain contact with the Birth Parents as your child matures into a fine young man or woman. The amount of contact between the Child and the Birth Parents is agreed upon by both parties.
In Semi-Open Adoptions, only some of your personal information is shared with the Birth Parents like first names with one another; and meeting each other at our office with your counselor present. Continuing contact between you and the Birth Parents are through photographs, videos, letters, and/or other means of correspondences.
In Closed Adoptions, all confidential information (i.e., names, addresses, and telephone numbers), except for the medical/genetic information, remains confidential and there is no further contact with the Birth Parents. Lifetree will choose the Adoptive Family. There are several disadvantages to this adoption scenario, but for the child, he/she will grow in a world with unanswered questions.
In order to ensure the Birth Parents that their child will be placed in home where a loving family will provide care for their child, Lifetree will require you to go through an application process that includes a written questionnaire and an interview. The questionnaire is often long, covering a wide range of issues, some quite personal. There are eligibility rules regarding your age and health, and while income itself is not a criterion, Lifetree wants to make certain that you have the resources needed to raise a child.
Every adoption requires a Pre-Adoptive Home Screening (typically referred to as a home study) in which Lifetree’s personnel interviews you at your home along with other family members who may live with you (even if you have a child not living in your home) and rates the quality of the physical environment. This scrutiny makes many Adoptive Families anxious, but it is unavoidable, because all courts require a home study before permitting an adoption.
After you have been approved by Lifetree, we need for you to provide us a photo album of you and your family. This album doesn’t have to be fancy, just creative. Keep in mind, your album will be presented to Birth Parents who have the same adoption expectations you have. We allow the Birth Parents to choose the Adoptive Family they desire to parent their child. This is how we offer no waiting lists. If you don’t know how to put an album together, there is help. We will be hosting crop sessions on scrapbooking or you may elect for one of our scrapbooking consultants prepare your album for you. Your album will be a fun way to bring those memories to life.
Depending on the criteria you have set for the child you want to adopt and your expectations of the Birth Parents, the wait can be either short or very long. When the Birth Parents have chosen you to parent their child, you then have to decide whether you are going to accept that particular child. In making your decision, Lifetree will supply you with a photograph of the Birth Parents (if both are available) and a Report of their Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History (if both are known). In order for you to feel comfortable with the Birth Parents that have chosen you to parent their child, Lifetree will require the Birthmother to undergo a pre-natal screening to determine the presence of any illnesses and/or diseases (i.e., HIV, communicable diseases, drug, and alcohol) and we try to obtain hereditary medical information on both Birth Parents. Lifetree’s personnel will also counsel both Birth Parents (if possible) to confirm that their true desire is to place their child into your family and their readiness to do so.
When the Child is released to you at the hospital, you will assume full responsibility, physically, and financially over the Child, you will be responsible for providing care, custody, and control over the Child, agree to take whatever steps necessary in meeting the Child’s needs, and you will be authorized for obtaining medical care during the post-adoptive screening period (also referred to as the “supervisory period”). Once the Child has been placed into your home, there is a six month period after the child has joined his new family before the adoption is finalized. During the post-adoptive screening period, Lifetree’s personnel will make several home visits and will talk with you to assure that things are working out well. Before the adoption is finalized, it will require the development of a Post-Adoptive Placement Report. This will take place during the last month. Like the Home Study, Lifetree’s personnel interviews you at your home along with your Child and other family members who may live with you; however, this evaluation is geared towards the relationship between you and your Child and how the Child is developing.
Finalization of the adoption is your responsibility. At Lifetree, we recommend this approach so the adoption will be more secure and also to waive any potential for conflict that may arise. In order for this to happen, you will have to hire an attorney of your choice or hire Lifetree’s recommended attorney. If you choose an attorney of your choice, make sure you attorney is fluent in the adoption finalization process.
The following is a general overview of the adoption process outlining the steps that you will have to take become that Mom and Dad.
THE ADOPTION STEPS FOR OUR ADOPTIVE FAMILIES
- Complete Lifetree’s Application and return it to Lifetree along with the Application Fee. Application Form versions: MS Word
- Complete the New Family Record Report given by staff (MS Word format).
- Meet with a Lifetree Caseworker to discuss your expectations of the adoption process and the type of child you envision within your family.
- Undergo a Pre-Adoptive Screening Evaluation where we request you to submit the following documentation:
- Autobiography of each Adoptive Parent to learn more about how you were raised.
- Current Physical of All Persons Living in Your Home to verify your physical, mental, and emotional status. Download Physical Exam Form
- First Page of your Most Recent Tax Return and Most Recent Employer Paycheck Stub to verify your family’s income.
- Health Insurance Information to confirm that the adopted child will be covered by medical insurance.
- 5 References: Three from friends who have known you for at least 5 years and Two from family members.
- Photo books (3) which includes a Dear Birthmother Letter, profile of Adoptive Parent, and current pictures of you all, your home, family members, yards, holidays pictures, vacations, personal hobbies, nursery if it is done, etc. Also send a web profile (pdf) to Robin@LifetreeAdoption.com, if you desire to be online with our waiting families.
- Birth Certificate or Current Passport
- Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
- Divorce/Death Certificate (if applicable)
- Undergo a Pre-Adoptive Home Screening (typically referred to as a Home Study).
- Be selected by the Birth Parent(s) and obtain a copy of the Birth Parents’ Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic Report and a picture of the Birth Parent(s).
- Meet the Birth Parent(s), if so desire. If you agree to the match, submit payment of the Adoption Fee to Lifetree and attend our Basic Infant Care and Safety Training Program.
- Lifetree Caseworker will contact you when the Birth Family is in labor.
- Lifetree obtains Birth Parents Relinquishment of Parental Rights.
- Undergo a six to eight month evaluation by Lifetree until Finalization is obtained which includes the Post-Placement Adoptive Screening.
- Six to eight months after the child has lived in your home, arrange for Finalization of your adoption with an attorney of your choice.