There is an age requirement – adoptive parents must be at least 18 years old. They must also have income sufficient to meet the needs of their household.
However, cultural factors such as race, marital status, sexual orientation, ethnicity and religious affiliation have no bearing. It also does not matter if adoptive parents rent or own their home, or whether they have children of their own.
Most important is the desire and willingness to share yourself, your love and your home with a child who needs you!
Prospective parents should expect the adoption process to take six months or longer from the time they first submit their adoption application. If the child is already placed as a foster child in the home, the process can take as little as two months. Applicants must complete training and a homestudy prior to adopting a child. Once a child is placed into an adoptive home, LCCS connects the family with counseling and other services to help them adjust and bond. Six months after the placement, the adoption is finalized and custody of the child transfers from LCCS to the adoptive parents.
Lucas County Children Services, in cooperation with the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program, provides a free pre-service training course to potential adoptive families. Sessions are offered several times each year.
Each course includes 36 hours of instruction. Anyone interested in becoming an adoptive parent is welcome. There is no commitment up front, although you must complete the entire 36-hour program as part of the process of adopting a child through Lucas County Children Services.
This program will enable you to make an informed decision about whether or not to become an adoptive parent.
Once you have completed this training, you can move to the next step, which is the homestudy process.
Once you have completed your pre-service training, LCCS will provide you with the State of Ohio licensing application and begin conducting background checks. At that point you will be assigned a homestudy caseworker. This caseworker will work through the homestudy process with you.
The items you will be asked to provide or participate in include, but are not limited to:
- Personal and professional references.
- Medical report on every member of the household.
- Fire inspection. Well water inspection (when applicable).
- Verification of income.
- Site and safety inspection.
- Furnace inspection and ensuring that there are working smoke detectors in each bedroom and on each floor.
- A temperament statement from a veterinarian or pet trainer and vaccination records for all household pets.
- Verification of income.
- Criminal checks and FBI checks for all members of the household age 18 and over.
- Review of any past history of abuse and/or neglect, substance abuse or mental illness.
- At least one adult in the household must be able to read and write English, and be willing to assist, if needed.
These requirements ensure that your family and your home are equipped to provide a safe and welcoming environment for a child.
Lucas County Children Services believes that children belong in families.
When we look to match children awaiting adoption with families seeking children to adopt, we select the family best-suited to meet the child’s needs.
When a child becomes available for adoption, we first look to the child’s extended family and community relationships to identify a permanent home. If none is available, we hold a matching meeting to review homestudies of interested nonrelated families. These homestudies are evaluated using a state-designated tool that measures each family’s ability to meet the child’s unique needs.
LCCS then contacts the family that we believe best suits the child’s needs, and shares initial information about the child. If the family is interested, they can learn more at an adoption presentation. There, caseworkers, foster parents and other members of the child’s casework team present the child’s complete medical, social, educational and family history; any evaluations or assessments; and other information about the child. This presentation is recorded, and the family is given a copy of this recording to review at home.
Prospective families must wait at least 24 hours to notify LCCS whether or not they wish to adopt the child. If they do, caseworkers begin the process of introducing the new family to the child, first through pictures and letters, then brief visits. If all goes well, this leads to longer overnight or weekend visits.
Eventually, the child can move into his/her new home, and the family signs the adoptive agreement. LCCS supports the child and family by connecting them with any services the family needs to make a smooth transition. Once the child has lived in the new home for six months, the child and family go before the Probate Court to finalize the adoption. Adoption day is a very happy day!