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RainbowKids Editor's Note: Many terms have been used (re-homing, disrupted-adoption) to describe the very difficult situation of a child who has been adopted and can no longer continue to live with their adoptive family. This article, and any article on the RainbowKids website concerning this topic, focuses on LEGAL re-adoption, in which an adoptive family has received counseling services and is working with a legal Adoption Service Provider to acheive the child's best interest.
The purpose of this article is to help prospective families who may be considering the adoption of a child who must transition to a new family, decide if Legal Re-adoption might be a fit for their family. It is imperative that experienced families only, who are well preparred and have the necessary emotional, therapeutic, and educational resources and skills, put themselves forward as prospective families. Children who have experienced trauma and loss need the flexibility and support of special families.
Why Isn't There More Information About Legal Re-Adoption?
Agencies and advocating websites are hesitant to discuss Legal RE-adoption due to all the potential for negative press and controversy.
Agencies and advocates fear that our international partners will be uncomfortable with any negative adoption press especially negative press and that might potentially result in less children getting adopted or re-adopted. However we still need to continue our refinement of best practices for legal re-adoption and we need to advocate for children and recruit qualified families for legal re-adoption. This article purpose is to help families decide if readoption might be for them.
After all other attempts to help the family and child stay together have been exhausted, there are a small percentage of children that need re-adoption. Some agencies
Why is Legal readoption needed?
Of course we want all adoptions to be successful and the majority are. No matter what our personal opinions are on re-adoption, there are situations when a child's best interest is served by being placed into a new adoptive family. Some of these include:
There are many reasons for re-adoption but the solution often includes a new parent(s).
Part 1: A Checklist to Help Determine if you are a Good Candidate to Legally Re-Adopt
These are typical initial questions our agency asks families interested in re-adoption.
After answering the above questions, it is important to explore personally and with your spouse (and possibly older children within the home) the following:
Part 2 Financial Questions to Ask the Placing Agency:
Common Main Fees for Readoption:
A re-adoption of a child placed international with a USA family is considered a Domestic Adoption, because the child is now a US Citizen. Most Licensed Adoption Service Providers charge a minimum of fees, and true emphasis is placed upon finding the 'right' permanent and committed family for the child. This is a very challenging process. The new adoptive family can expect the following expenses:
Don't forget to check with your tax consultant to find out if these adoption expenses will be reimbursed with the Federal Adoption Tax Credit.
Part 3: What Information Will You Receive on the Child?
Families considering the adoption of a child who has experienced multiple placements and is currently in need of a new family should seek as much information on the child's history as possible. Some questions may include:
Who Decides if Your Family is Appropriate for the Child?
Once a family has determined that they are open to adopting a child who is in need of a new adoptive family, they may be anxious to proceed. There are times when a family may have even learned of a specific child in this situation. It remains essential that any prospective adoptive family understand that adoption is a child-centered process. Though a family may self-determine that they are a 'good match' for a child, it remains in the hands of the current adoptive family, social workers, and the legal adoption service provider to make the final determination. Knowing this, a family may wish to ask the ASP the following questions:
Part 4 : After you are selected:
Once you have been selected, the Transition Plan will need to be negotiated/determined. If possible, a letter, or video to the child to introduce yourselves should be sent. This limited contact, even if done only a few days before meeting the child, can help the child process and accept the upcoming changes. Some agencies allow some contact including phone calls, emails and Skype depending on the child's age and status -some do not.
We often recommend only contact with the child after the decision is made to protect the child form furthere disappointment.
Post Re-Adoption Support:
The entire first year with your newly adopted child may be considered the Transition Period. Having an action plan, that includes social, family, and professional support is essential. While working through the pre-adoption stage, families should ask the placing agency about their post-adoption supports. What services can they provide to help you after the readoption is complete?
After many years working as an adoption professional, I have personally seen many successful re-adoptions that are great fits for the child and second family. It is the most satisfying experience to facilitate this match. It is my hope that the above information will assist prospective families who are open to parenting one of these special children.
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Your child is waiting for you. Why are you waiting?
It's the little practical things.... Yes those steps make an idea come to life!