Koinonia has been licensed for domestic adoption in California since 2005. Adoption work is very cooperative and there are times where we will actively collaborate with other adoption agencies to facilitate an independent or agency adoption. In 2020, Koinonia established a private adoption program to support the placement of vulnerable children, with the goal of preventing at-risk children from entering into foster care. These children are often newborns and/or relatives of the adoptive parents.
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Private Domestic Adoption
Typically in private adoptions, biological parents willingly release custody of their child. More often, these children are released as infants. The biological parents usually choose the adoptive family with which their child will be placed through a process called matching. These children may have experienced prenatal risk factors such as drug/alcohol exposure, a stressful pregnancy, difficult birth or pregnancy complications, early hospitalization, or other traumas.
Private adoption has many fees, including but not limited to: the cost of a home study, matching services, travel expenses, legal fees, birth parent services, and post placement supervision. Once a matched child is brought home, the adoptive family can expect between one and six post placement visits from a social worker while waiting for the court to finalize the adoption. The number of visits and the duration of time from adoptive placement to finalization vary depending on the state in which the adoption will finalize.
Private adoption also includes the adoption of older children by relatives or family friends who the birth parents know and consider to be family. In some cases, the prospective adoptive parents already have formal guardianship of the children and in other cases there is no legal formality to the relationship. These are cases where the children are not in the foster care system, and will result in either an independent adoption or a domestic agency adoption. Koinonia has a wealth of experience working with older children who have been through challenging situations and we welcome the opportunity to work with families as they pursue formalizing the adoption of a child who needs a forever family.
What should I expect of the private adoption home study process?
Koinonia social workers support families we work with throughout the adoption process. We evaluate families to determine what resources and training they will need to be successful parents.
There are many steps in the adoption process, and the agency gives clear guidelines in order to minimize unexpected surprises during the process. Some families take a few weeks to complete their paperwork and others a few months. Once your Koinonia social worker is assigned, you can expect the assessment to be completed within 60-90 days with a series of interviews.
Our adoption workers evaluate families with the child’s well being always as our top priority. We use the S.A.F.E. (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) home study methodology and complete a thorough evaluation to ensure the highest success rate for our adoption placements. Our evaluation is based on facts and evidence, with every potential issue followed up with thorough assessment. Our ultimate goal is to aid in the process of matching children with families and change both of their lives for the better.
The home study is an opportunity for families to share details about their own histories and ask questions about the adoption process so our social workers can make informed referrals and recommendations, as well as identify the best possible adoptive placement options. Our ultimate goal is to prepare families for the placement of a child as well as the lifelong commitment of adoption.
The ideal adoptive family is one that is loving, patient, supportive, and that is adopting to fulfill the needs of a child. They are not only growing their family, but making an incredible impact in their community and the lives of vulnerable children.
Koinonia is one of the few adoption agencies in California approved to operate in all 58 counties. With offices throughout the state of California, Koinonia is able to serve most families regardless of their location.
Stepparent adoption can provide a child with a sense of belonging, love, and security. Formalizing the stepparent and stepchild relationship can provide not only a needed sense of stability for a child, but also the same legal rights as a biological child and their biological parent. The stepparent must be legally married or registered as a domestic partner to the custodial biological parent. The stepparent process includes a written report known as the stepparent investigation which is to be submitted to the court. As a licensed adoption agency, Koinonia is able to conduct this investigative report for a fee. The investigation process includes paperwork, at least one visit with a licensed social worker, and a final report.
Adoption Through Foster Care AKA “foster-to-adopt”
A child often enters foster care as a result of abuse or neglect. Children in need of placement vary in ages from infants to teenagers. They have often been exposed to various forms of trauma. Through the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process, an approved resource family agrees to provide temporary care to these children/youth. If reunification with their birth parents or placement with relatives is not possible, the resource family is often considered for the adoption. This is often referred to as the “foster-to-adopt” process.
Many resource families have the opportunity to serve several foster children over the course of a few years before any child(ren) are in need of permanency through adoption. The costs of becoming a resource family are minimal and include subsidies for the duration of a child being in their care as a foster placement. Additionally, children adopted from foster care are typically eligible for the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP), allowing adoptive parents to continue to receive subsidies until the adoptive child reaches adulthood.
While all paths to adoption are unpredictable, the road through adopting in the foster care system can be very uncertain as it is most often the goal of the court to have children reunify with their biological parents or to be placed with extended family. Many of our resource families were initially hesitant to support the reunification process; however, many have later shared about the joy of reuniting a child with their biological family, and how the children they fostered helped prepare them for the child(ren) they eventually adopted.
While Koinonia Family Services is licensed to provide domestic adoption services in California, we do not provide international adoption services nor are we able to support interstate foster care adoptions. For private domestic adoption, we can collaboratively support California residents with interstate adoption placement by following the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) procedures. Please contact Koinonia Adoption Services to learn more about our private adoption program or contact your local Koinonia district office to learn more about Koinonia’s RFA program.
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Locations Offering Adoption Through Foster Care
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