Adoption Process, Requirements, Cost
Summit County Children Services facilitates the adoption of children who have been permanently removed from their homes. Read below to learn how the adoption process works in Ohio, the requirements for adopting a child and the cost of adoption.
What is Adoption?
Adoption is a legal process creating a lifelong commitment and relationship between parents and children not born to them. The adopted child becomes a legal family member and takes on the last name of his/her adopted parents. Adoptive parents become legally, morally and financially responsible for all aspects of the child’s care.
Children become available for adoption only after it is determined a child cannot safely be reunified with their biological family. If a relative is not available or identified to adopt or permanently care for the children, then an adoptive placement is pursued.
Children in the permanent custody of Summit County Children Services are often adopted by their foster parents. All adoptive parents will also be licensed for foster care. The goal is that children will only have one placement if reunification does not occur.
NOTE: Summit County Children Services no longer approves ADOPTION-ONLY families, unless the family is approved for a child-specific adoption. Families interested in adopting through Summit County Children Services MUST become licensed for foster care and adoption.
The Need for Adoptive Parents
Boys and girls of all ages are waiting to be adopted. Children come from a variety of cultural, ethnic, religious and racial backgrounds and are in need of stable foster-to-adopt parents who are sensitive to their circumstances. Summit County Children Services has a need for families to adopt:
Qualifications for Becoming an Adoptive Parent
Many of the qualifications are the same for foster and foster-to-adopt parents. To become a foster-to-adopt parent, you can/must be:
- Married, single, divorced or widowed;
- With or without children of your own;
- A renter or home owner;
- 21 years or older;
- Employed or a stay-at-home parent – as long as your income is adequate to meet your household needs.
The Process of Becoming a Foster-to-Adopt Parent
Staff members at Summit County Children Services are committed to working closely with families throughout the foster-to-adopt process. Foster-to-adopt parents must:
- Fill out the Foster Care Inquiry Form to receive information about the process.
- Attend a Foster Care & Adoption Informational Meeting
- Complete the required Pre-service Training. Sessions are offered on evenings and weekends. If you are married or have a domestic partner, both of you must complete the training.
- Have a home study completed by a licensing specialist. The home study allows you to provide a detailed picture of your family values, ideals, lifestyle, strengths and parenting styles. You will also discuss your foster-to-adopt preferences.
- Provide a list of references and financial information.
- Have criminal background checks completed on all adult household members.
Attend an upcoming meeting to learn more about the adoption process.
Learn more about the step-by-step process to become a foster-to-adopt parent.
The Cost of Adoption
Summit County Children Services charges no fees for adoption services. There are minimal costs involved with adopting a child. You will have to pay for court costs and a fee to have the child’s name changed on their birth certificate. These costs are reimbursed after adoption.
Support Available for Adoptive Parents
We want to make your journey as an adoptive family successful. Summit County Children Services has staff readily available to offer supportive services to families after an adoption has been finalized. Information or referral services can sometimes be provided to an adopted child seeking information on his/her birth parents; to birth parents or birth siblings looking to reunite with a family member; and to an adoptive family who needs background information on their adopted child.
In addition, families who adopt can be considered for financial assistance through subsidies and state funds (determined on a case-by-case basis).
Monthly support group meetings are held for adoptive parents to share ideas and concerns. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month from 6-8 p.m. at the Summit County Children Services Education Center.