There are a variety of approaches A Family for Every Child takes to secure adoptions through community outreach. The greatest need in the adoption field is the recruitment, retention, and support of children ages ten and older, and they operates several programs that work to this end. The Heart Gallery utilizes photography to capture the individuality of each child, which is displayed by sponsors throughout the state to spark interest in adoption through the foster care system. The Family Finding Program finds relatives of children who would consider adopting in order to keep family ties intact. The agency’s Mentor Program creates positive connections and relationships for youth in foster care that continue throughout their lives, hopefully even after permanent placement.
This agency is welcoming to adoptive families of nearly any shape or size, including LGBTQ individuals or couples, families with biological or adoptive children already in the home, and single individuals. Families wanting to work with A Family for Every Child contact an agency licensed in their state to have a home study completed to prepare for eventual placement. They can opt to receive weekly mailings, inquire about specific children, and register for the Matching Assistance Program (MAP), a nationwide search engine listing waiting children. Once approved for adopting, prospective families can go through MAP to “submit on a child,” or to give the child’s social worker the paperwork showing the rightness of a match. The process is slightly different in each state, but usually the caseworker assigned to a particular child makes the decision, and sometimes it is decided by a committee of people. In general, inter-state adoption is more complicated than in-state, but A Family for Every Child supports both with MAP.
After matching or approval, a family should make sure they have all the necessary information about the child. This process includes talking with schools, counselors, therapists, support groups, etc. Post placement reports, completed by an adoption worker or other social worker, are required until the adoption is finalized.
A Family for Every Child also hosts online matching events featuring slideshows of waiting children, presented by a social worker to interested families. These are presented in the format of an online webinar, with about 40 families attending each child matching event.
Financially, working with this agency won’t put you out. Families adopting foster children need only pay for home study and assessment fees. With this agency, exact fees vary based on home study needs (including adoption worker travel fees), but here is a guide for Oregon (and Washington, in parentheses) residents:
- Special Needs Adoption Home Study Fee: $1,500 ($2,500)
- Independent Adoption Home Study Fee: $3,000 ($4,000)
- Home Study Update: $350 ($350)
- Independent Adoption Post Placement Supervision: $1,000 for up to two visits, then $500 for each subsequent visit as requested (both states)
After placement, adoptive families receive monthly financial support from the state to ensure the child has the resources he or she needs until age 18.
Initial adoption orientation meetings include information on policies, procedures, and education about attachment, separation, neglect, and trauma. The agency directs Oregon residents approved for adopting to a free three-day training offered by Christian Family Adoptions. This series helps prepare prospective parents pursuing foster care or adoption of children from foster care and meets the minimum requirements for Oregon Foundations Training. Additional county parenting trainings and online training courses are also available.
Though the Matching Assistance Program is free for approved families, the matching process can be frustrating and require a lot of patience. To help ease the struggle, families can pay $50/month to work with a specialist who can give them individual attention including two child searches a month, weekly phone calls and email check-ins, and assistance finding caseworker contact information for offsite submissions. This additional assistance is extremely beneficial, but prospective parents must register for 3 months minimum, due up front. After that, month to month membership is accepted. It’s a small price to pay compared to domestic infant placement fees, but these additional costs might deter families with an especially strict budget.
Parents looking into this organization need to keep in mind the agency motto to best determine fit: “Adoption is not about finding children for families, it’s about finding families for children.” This agency has a very narrow demographic of children they work to place, special needs and harder-to-place children in the foster care system. Families pursuing children through this agency generally list very broad preferences – or none at all – as to gender, age, and physical and mental limitations of the child they are seeking. Prospective parents seeking to adopt a very young child for the purpose of completing their family will have more success working with an agency that specializes in domestic infant adoptions.