Adoption 101

Adoption 101

The following is general information about adopting and Family Builders’ processes and policies. If you are considering becoming a parent, educating yourself is one of the most important parts of this journey, and the information below will help you get started. Give us a call and we will be more then happy to go over any of this information and answer any questions you have.

To learn more about a topic click on the link below:


Adopting Children in Foster Care

In California alone, there are nearly 60,000 children in the foster care system. Many of these children will never return to their family of origin. They are waiting for the one thing they need the most: a permanent, loving family. Without this permanence, their future is grim. Children age out of the system at 18 years of age into a world for which few of us would be prepared at that age. Many will not complete high school. Most will be underemployed or will have difficulty keeping a job. Most alarming, over half will be homeless or incarcerated within two years. You can make a difference in a child’s life by becoming a permanent family. We invite you to educate yourself on the adoption process and to engage with Family Builders to get the help you need to complete your family.


Who can foster and adopt?

You don’t have to be a millionaire, own your house or even be married to foster or adopt. At Family Builders we welcome all kinds of qualified and loving parents: women and men, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, couples and singles, people from all ethnicities and backgrounds, including mono-lingual Spanish speakers, and older and younger people. Our goal is to find the right family that meets the needs of each child. Most importantly, we are looking for people with big hearts and a love of children, whose employment, housing, relationships, and health are stable.

Please note, however, that Family Builders maintains guidelines when working with families, including the following:

Families who are considering working with Family Builders
• must live in one of the 9 Bay area counties.
• must live in at least a two bedroom residence to begin the foster and adoptive process.
• may have no more than 2 infants living with them at one time.
• may have no more than 2 children sharing a bedroom .
• may have no more than 6 children living in the residence at one time.
• may only work with 1 foster care or adoption agency at one time.

In the event that:
• You own a Pit Bull, Presa Canario or any aggressive/dangerous dog, Family Builders cannot place children with you.
• Your residence is located near a body of water (pool, hottub, stream, lagoon etc.), the body of water must be inaccessible. Pools must have fences and/or pool covers; hottubs must have locking covers; residences must be separated from streams/lagoons/rivers/etc. by fences.
• You have children in the home who are five years and older and are of the opposite affirmed gender, these children cannot share a bedroom.

For more information regarding these guidelines, please contact a social worker at Family Builders.


The Family Builders’ Adoption Process (Step-By-Step)

Below is a step-by-step summary of what you can expect when you work with Family Builders:

  1. Make the Call

    Call us at 510-536-5437 or click here to email us. One of our social workers will tell you about the children and our process, ask you a few questions, and give you the schedules of our orientations so you can take the next step.
  2. Come meet us

    Come to an orientation after your conversation with a social worker. Orientations in English are held on the first Saturday of the month at the Family Builders Oakland office, 10AM-12PM,  and every second Tuesday 6-8PM at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin Street, San Francisco. We host orientations in Spanish as requested. Feel free to bring a person to whom you will be looking for support during and after the process. You’ll learn more about what it is like to adopt a child who is in foster care. One of our social workers will talk with you about the process, how long it takes, and what is required. Of course, there will be time for your questions as well.
  3. Intake Meeting

    The intake meeting is held in your home with a Family Builders social worker. We will discuss the type of child for whom you would be the most appropriate match, and we will begin to get to know you. We will ask about who lives in your home, what you do for work and fun, how your extended family might feel about your decision to adopt, your beliefs about child rearing, and more.
  4. Training and Home study

    After the intake interview, our Family Developer will contact you about paperwork and fingerprinting, and you will be invited to participate in our training program (PRIDE,) which must be completed prior to a homestudy. While you are going through the training process, you will also be completing the required paperwork. Once you have turned in a majority of your paperwork you will meet with a social worker for home study interviews. The home study consists of a series of visits with you during which we ask you questions so we may make a thorough assessment of such issues as your:
    • Marital and relationship history
    • Living Environment
    • Growing up History
    • Mental Health
    • Education and Work History
    • References
    • Why you want to adopt
    • Knowledge of child development
    • Understanding of adoption issues

It’s important to be forthcoming and honest. The home study is our way of getting to know you even better so we may assess your unique strengths and those areas where you may need help later on in the process. We use this information to match you with a child whose needs you can meet. This part of the process usually takes 4-6 months.

  1. Finding the right match

    After your training is finished and your home study has been approved, it is time to begin the search for your child. This process can take some time, so please be patient! Family Builders’ staff will work with you very closely during your search for a child.
  2. Meet your child

    Once you and your social worker agree that your family can meet the needs of the child you have identified, you will meet with the child’s county social worker and be given as much information about the child as is available.
  3. Visitation Period

    You will be given some time to think about what you have heard. If you decide to go ahead with the process, we will set up an initial meeting and a schedule for visitation with the child.
  4. Fostering Period

    After the visitation period, the child will be placed in your home as a foster placement (this is why we call the process “fost-adopt”), and we will work with you to insure the best possible transition for your entire family. During this time a social worker will visit with you regularly and be available to you to assist with case management.
  5. Finalizing Your Adoption

    After the child has been in your home for a minimum of six months, and when your social worker, the child’s county worker, and you decide that you are ready to proceed, and all legal aspects are in order, you can move to finalize your adoption. Once your adoption is final, you, as an adoptive parent, are regarded and treated in all aspects as the legal parent of the child, with all the same rights and responsibilities of birth parents. For most families it takes between 12 and 18 months from the time the child is placed until an adoption is finalized.

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Our Training Program (P.R.I.D.E.)

To prepare families for parenting children from the foster care system, families are required to participate in our training program. The training goes over ways to help children with histories of prenatal drug exposure, trauma, neglect, and grief, and physical and sexual abuse. We do this with all parents in order to give them the insight and empowerment they need to work with their child and ensure a future where they can thrive.

Family Builders uses the Foster/Adopt P.R.I.D.E. Training Model. PRIDE stands for Parent’s Resource for Information, Development, and Education. This curriculum was developed through a national collaborative effort. The training is 20 hours long and consists of three Saturdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and one evening 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The topics covered include:

  • Understanding the PRIDE model, working as part of a team towards permanence, strengthening family relationships, maintaining family relationships, planning for change.
  • Meeting children’s developmental needs in the areas of attachment and loss, understanding the importance of racial and cultural awareness in adoption.
  • Meeting children’s developmental needs in the area of discipline, understanding mandated child abuse reporting requirements, reviewing Family Builders’ parent manual and regulatory compliance. Family Builders also provides the opportunity to meet with an experienced adoptive parent(s), and adult children who have left the foster care system, to hear about their experiences and perspectives, and to ask them your questions.


Our Confidentiality Policy

We want you to know that confidentiality is one of our highest priorities. We understand that during the home study process you will trust us with information that is sensitive and confidential, and we guard that information carefully. In addition to our respect for your confidences, Federal and state laws are very specific about confidentiality for both your family and the children with whom we work.

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