Adoption Process

The Adoption Process
Most of the children who are available for adoption have been in foster care because they were neglected, abused or abandoned by their parents or caretakers. They range from infancy to teenagers but most are school age. We need families who can take sibling groups. Some of them have emotional or behavioral problems ranging from very mild to severe. Many of the children are healthy but there are children who do have health issues. All of these children who have special needs qualify for adoption assistance benefits.

Background Checks
The state requires that we do background checks on everyone. We rule out that you have ever been involved in child neglect or abuse proceeding. Fingerprint cards, which are reviewed by the SBI and FBI, must be completed and we will help you with this. Criminal records of any felony, drug involvement, crimes of violence or crimes against children will prevent us from going forward. Other crimes will be looked at on an individual basis. All the adults involved have a current medical exam so we know how healthy you are. If you do have medical problems we look at whether they will interfere with your ability to parent a child.

The state of North Carolina also requires that you have 30 hours of training. Here at Richmond County Department of Social Services we will provide this to you at no cost. We use a state approved training curriculum called Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting Group Preparation and Selection or better known as MAPP-GPS. We hold training sessions every 3 months,1 night a week for 10 weeks from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. usually on Tuesday or Thursday evenings. About once a year we have a Saturday class from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. for 5 Saturdays.

Pre-Placement Assessment
After training is completed, your social worker will continue to work with you until they have all the information they need to write your Pre-Placement Assessment (previously known as a Home Study). Your Pre-Placement Assessment is then presented to the Adoption Approval Committee for approval. Your social worker will be presenting on your behalf. Once the committee approves your Pre-Placement Assessment, your social worker will begin recruiting a child for you. The child may be from one of the counties in North Carolina or anywhere in the United States. You will be given the most non-identifying information about a child that the social worker has so you can make the best decision for your family.

Once the match has been made you will begin visits with the child. The number of visits depends on the age of the child and how well the visits are going. Once placement occurs you will be given guidance about the legal process. We will work with you until the Decree of Adoption is issued. Post adoption services are always available should you need them after the adoption is finalized.

Completion Steps
In order to wrap up the adoption process, please follow the provided steps:
  1. Attend an informational meeting
  2. Complete an application
  3. Complete a Pre-Placement Assessment (formerly home study).
  4. Work with your social worker to find the right child.
  5. Visit with your child.
  6. Bring your child home.
  7. Legalize the adoption in court.
Adoption Assistance
Adoption Assistance is provided on the behalf of children in foster care who have special needs after their adoption is final. Special needs include mental, emotional, medical or physical problems, but older children and sibling groups may also be considered to have special needs. The subsidy includes a monthly cash payment based on the child's age, and vendor payments for therapeutic and remedial services. The adoption costs can also be paid.