Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
- What types of children are available for adoption through Family Builders?
- What is involved in the process to become an adoptive parent?
- How long does the process take?
- How will I be matched with a child or children?
- What will I learn about the child’s history?
- Will the birth parents know who I am or where I live?
- Will the child have any contact with the birth parents or their siblings?
- Will the birth parents ever be able to get the child back?
- How much does the process cost?
- Can I adopt children from other states?
- Can I use your services if I live outside California?
- What does “special needs” mean?
- Does a couple need to be legally married to adopt a waiting child?
- Can I be licensed to adopt by another agency as well as Family Builders?
- Can I change the adopted child’s name?
- Can I adopt if I have a criminal history?
- Can I adopt if I don’t have a California driver’s license?
What types of children are available for adoption through Family Builders?
We specialize in finding families for the children who are waiting in California’s foster care system. They range in age from birth to eighteen. Often these children have siblings who need to be placed together. They are from diverse ethnic backgrounds; most are African American and Latino. Children waiting to be adopted have been abused or neglected and cannot return to their birth families.
What is involved in the process to become an adoptive parent?
The process begins with calling us to register, then attending an orientation. After the orientation, should you and Family Builders decide together that you should go further, we will interview you so we can get to know you better. The adoption process includes 20 hours of training, paperwork (such as finger printing, physical examinations and TB testing, questionnaires), First Aid and CPR classes, and an in-depth home study of your family.
How long does the process take?
The length of time depends greatly on you and how quickly you schedule the necessary appointments and complete your paperwork. From application to completed home study takes four to nine months for the average prospective adoptive parent(s).
How will I be matched with a child or children?
Throughout the process, you will be asked about your preferences regarding the gender, ages and ethnicity of the children you want to consider for adoption. We will also assess your ability to work with the challenges, which are presented by children who have special needs. When your home study is complete, your social worker will identify profiles of children who match your preferences and whose needs match your family’s strengths. You can also access description and photos of the children via California Kids Connection at www.cakidsconnection.com.
We will forward your home study to County and State workers who are responsible for the children in whom you have expressed an interest. We will act as in intermediary and advocate for your family. If your family is chosen, the social workers will set up a disclosure meeting so you can access additional information regarding the child’s history, past placements, physical and psychological health, legal status and any other information that is available. Matching your family with a child is greatly dependent on your ability and willingness to consider the special needs of the children who are currently waiting for permanent families.
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What will I learn about the child’s history?
The county is required to provide adoptive parents with of all information they have about the child. This includes the child’s health and education history, the child’s placement and behavioral history, the reason for removal from the family, and may include relevant parental health history if known.
Will the birth parents know who I am or where I live?
Many of our adoptive families enjoy by mutual consent, positive relationships with birth parents, former foster parents or other people important to the child. We encourage families to be as open as possible in recognizing the importance of these connections.
Will the child have any contact with the birth parents or their siblings?
Some children may continue to visit their birth parents until the court terminates the parents’ rights. At that time, children have a “good-bye” visit with the parents. After the child’s adoption is finalized, it is up to you to decide with whom the child has contact, how often, etc. The amount of contact that is best for a child depends on many factors, such as the child’s age, the quality of prior relationships with parents and siblings, and the history of contact with extended family and other caregivers. Sometimes a post-adoption contract agreement is drafted.
Will the birth parents ever be able to get the child back?
When the court has legally terminated the parents’ rights, the birth parents no longer have any claim to the child and cannot petition to be reunified. Some parents do appeal the decision to terminate their rights, and this appeal can delay the adoption. About 99% of these appeals are decided in the favor of terminating the rights. After the adoption is finalized, you have all the same rights as if the child were born to you.
How much does the process cost?
Family Builders provides its services free of charge for families who are interested in adopting a child or sibling set from the thousands of children who are waiting in the foster care system. You will be asked to pay for finger printing, CPR classes, and any necessary water safety classes, but some of these expenses may be reimbursable after the adoption is finalized.
We provide a monthly stipend while the child is in foster care in your home. After the adoption is finalized, the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) helps with ongoing assistance until the child is 18. Medi-Cal health insurance is also provided until the child turns 18.
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Can I adopt children from other states?
Yes. Although we work primarily with children who are waiting in California’s foster care system, we are able to help you with children from any state. This process, however, is more difficult because there are laws regarding the placement of children across state lines, and differing methods of funding.
Can I use your services if I live outside California?
No. We are licensed to work only with families in the nine Bay Area counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, Sonoma and Marin.
What does “special needs” mean?
The term “special needs” is used to describe many things children in foster care have experienced or continue to deal with. All children in foster care have been removed from their birth family or have experienced profound loss in their young lives. Many children have been abandoned, neglected or otherwise mistreated. Some have experienced physical or sexual abuse. Some have been exposed to drugs during their mother’s pregnancy. Other children have special medical issues or are medically fragile. Most are children of color, and many are members of a sibling group who must be placed together. See our Glossary of Adoption Terms for specific issues.
Does a couple need to be legally married to adopt a waiting child?
No. You do, however, need to demonstrate that your relationship is stable and committed.
Can I be licensed to adopt by another agency as well as Family Builders?
No. You can only work with one agency at a time.
Can I change the adopted child’s name?
We will work with you on an individual basis to address issues related to a child’s name.
Can I adopt if I have a criminal history?
People with convictions for minor offenses which occurred in the distant past may be able to adopt; each case is considered on an individual basis.
Can I adopt if I don’t have a California driver’s license?
You do not have to have a driver’s license if you have a current California identification card and can demonstrate the ability to transport the child as necessary.
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