Are you considering adopting a child in Ohio? Here’s everything you’ll need to know about how to adopt in Ohio:
The first step is to decide if adoption is the right way to grow your family. Adoption has its own set of difficulties and benefits that are different from any other family-building method.
Before beginning the process of adopting a child in Ohio, you and your spouse will both need to be fully committed to adoption. This means that you’ll need to address any remaining grief from infertility, as well as moving away from the dream of having a biological child to refocus on your new dream of adoption in Ohio.
If you feel ready to fully commit to the adoption process in Ohio, you’ll need to determine how you want to adopt. There are three common types of adoption in Ohio, and the requirements for adoption in Ohio will depend on the type of adoption you choose.
These primary adoption methods include:
Domestic adoption focuses on the adoption of infants in Ohio and the across U.S. National domestic adoption agencies like American Adoptions are usually able to provide all of the services that birth and adoptive parents will need during the Ohio adoption process. If you don’t know how to adopt a child in Ohio, a domestic adoption may be a good option for you.
Foster care adoption
While most kids that enter Ohio foster care are reunited with biological family members, 25 percent of Ohio children in foster care will be eligible for foster care adoption at some point. These children are often older, part of a sibling group that should not be separated, or have additional needs.
Learn more about foster care adoption requirements in Ohio and how to adopt from foster care here.
Adopting a child internationally will have varying adoption requirements and costs depending on the country from which you adopt as well as which Ohio international adoption professional you work with for your adoption. When pursuing an international adoption, you must meet U.S. adoption requirements and your child’s home country’s individual adoption requirements.
Learn more about international adoption here.
There are four different types of Ohio adoption professionals, including:
Adoption facilitators are illegal in the state of Ohio. According to Ohio adoption laws, “a person seeking to adopt a minor shall utilize an agency or attorney to arrange the adoption.” In other states, adoption facilitators advertise that adoptive parents are seeking to adopt in Ohio. This type of advertising is prohibited by anyone other than a licensed adoption agency in Ohio.
Adoption law firms
While an adoption attorney working within an adoption law firm is a good option for handling all the legal processes of adoption in Ohio, adoptive parents and birth parents must be represented by separate attorneys. Adoption law firms are also unable to provide counseling services, which can be very helpful for both the adoptive family and the birth parents.
Adoption law firms are not to be confused with “adoption law centers,” which are very different operations that can expose birth and adoptive families to potential malpractice.
Local/regional adoption agencies
Local Ohio adoption agencies are licensed by the state. Their outreach to both birth and adoptive families are therefore limited to the surrounding area. This creates longer adoption wait times, but more opportunities for in-person interactions.
National adoption agencies
National adoption agencies like American Adoptions are regulated, reviewed and licensed separately within each state. This allows them to work with birth and adoptive parents within all 50 states, limiting financial risk and creating shorter adoption wait times. Many national adoption agencies like American Adoptions are also licensed to conduct home studies for prospective adoptive parents in Ohio.
Once you’ve begun working with your adoption professional, you’ve truly entered into the Ohio adoption process. This is where the paperwork begins!
Birth and adoptive parents with American Adoptions fill out their Adoption Planning Questionnaires (APQs) at this point to determine their goals for the adoption. Adoptive parents will create adoptive family profiles, complete the Ohio adoption home study and undergo any required training to adopt. After you’ve completed these steps and you’ve been approved to adopt a child in Ohio, you’ll be eligible for expectant mothers to consider entering into an adoption opportunity with you.
Once expectant mothers in Ohio start viewing their adoption profile, 75 percent of American Adoptions families are placed with a child within one to 12 months. But your individual adoption wait time will be affected by your openness to a wide range of potential birth mothers.
Expectant mothers will be shown your adoption profile if you have similar goals for the adoption, including:
A desire for the same amount of post-adoption communication
A shared comfort with potential genetic medical histories in a child’s biological background
Openness to a child of any race and gender
Expectant mothers considering adoption in Ohio are of every age, race, relationship status and background. No two pregnant women are looking for the exact same thing in potential adoptive parents for her baby, so there will never be a “perfect” adoption profile. There’s only the “right” adoption profile for that woman.
Once an expectant mother has chosen you, you’ll be able to talk and get to know each other to whatever degree she’s comfortable with and based on how open she wants her adoption to be. After the birth of the baby, consent to adoption in Ohio may be given by the biological parent(s) 72 hours later, but no sooner.
It’s only once a birth mother gives her official consent to the adoption that she terminates her parental rights and places her child with the agreed-upon adoptive family. She’s under no prior obligation to consent to the adoption.
Many adoptions occur across state lines, in which case you’ll need to wait within the birth mother’s home state for the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) to give you clearance before you return home to Ohio with your child after placement. This often takes 2-3 weeks. For those adopting a child in Ohio when you’re also a resident, the extra step of ICPC won’t be needed.
After returning home with your child, your Ohio adoption home study provider will complete the required in-home post-placement visits. These occur between placement and the adoption finalization. The goal is to ensure that everyone is adjusting well to post-adoption life.
Your Ohio adoption attorney will contact you during this period to arrange an adoption finalization hearing in your local county probate court, where Ohio adoption hearings take place. At the adoption finalization hearing, your parental rights will be officially granted in court with a final adoption decree.
The adoption decree represents the completion of the Ohio adoption process and your child’s place as a legal member of your family.
The Ohio adoption process legally ends with an adoption finalization, but adoption never really ends; it’s a part of life for birth and adoptive families and adoptees.
Experts recommend open adoptions whenever situations allow, and American Adoptions wholeheartedly agrees. Open adoptions are shown to be beneficial for both birth and adoptive parents, but in particular, the adoptee. Increased openness in Ohio adoptions keeps communication accessible and ongoing between birth and adoptive families.
Communication within an open adoption can include the exchange of letters, emails, phone calls, texts and visits with any level of frequency, depending on comfort level of everyone involved. There is no one definition of an open adoption — they’re unique and are relationships that may naturally evolve over time.
American Adoptions is able to facilitate contact between birth and adoptive families who prefer a semi-open adoption for up to 18 years after placement.
Ready to learn more about how to adopt a child in Ohio? Call 1-800-ADOPTION now to speak to an Adoption Specialist about adopting a baby in Ohio.
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