When we first started talking adoption, most of our adoptive friends had adopted internationally, meaning it had cost them somewhere around $30,000. We didn’t have that kind of money and didn’t look forward to the prospect of raising those funds. So we assumed it would be several years before we could actually do anything.
Then a friend let me know about the Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP). (We’re giving details about how this program works in Indiana, though we understand that most states are similar.) This is a program through Child Services that helps find a forever home for children considered “hard to place.” Some categories are sibling groups, children with disabilities, or children over the age of three. The parental rights of the parents have already been revoked, so their placement with you means you will be working towards adoption. And there’s no limit to the amount of children you can have in your home!
The process was fairly simple. We took four classes within a month, filled out a load of paperwork, got fingerprinted, got CPR/First Aid certified (optional but preferred), and had a home study. Once the home study was complete, we waited about a month to hear we had been approved. The whole process start to finish was four months for us.
At that point we were free to inquire after children on the Adopt US Kids site (and here’s the listing for Indiana’s SNAP kids). The inquiry would go most often to the child’s case worker. The case worker then is required to send the child’s case summary to you. This is huge, because you’ll get to see exactly what the child’s history is–the reason they were removed from their home, any problems the child has had (mentally, physically, socially, and developmentally), any medications and therapies they receive, and pretty much anything else you’d want to know.
After you’ve read the report and if you think this child would be a good fit for you, you would email the case worker back to let them know you want to be considered as the child’s parents. The case worker and a team look at your home study and decide if you might be a good match. They usually like to have 3-5 families to consider. If you’re chosen as one of them, you’ll be called in for an interview along with the other families being considered. At some point after that, you’ll either find out you were or weren’t chosen as the child’s family, or you may be called for additional interviews.
Once you’ve been matched, there’s ideally a month-long transition period into your home. You meet the child by yourself in a neutral spot, then maybe another time with your other children, then maybe you have an outing together, then a sleepover until finally they move in with you. This period is really intended for you and the case worker to evaluate if you still want to move forward. Though you can technically back out at any point before the adoption is finalized, this is not something you should see as an option after the initial month since you would only be making things more difficult for the child.
Once they live with you and you file to adopt them, it typically takes around six months for the adoption to be finalized. Compared to most adoptions, the whole process is crazy fast.
This is the way things are intended to go, but of course we live in a messy world, so things rarely turn out that way. There are so many different situations with each adoption. For instance it was just short of a year before our first adoption was finalized, and they moved in with us the day we met them because of some extreme circumstances–important to note we had a choice in that matter.
Along with this being a faster process, it’s also almost free! Classes and homestudy cost nothing. You pay for fingerprinting and CPR/First Aid classes. If you don’t have five children in your home, though, they’ll probably try to encourage you to foster first. Absolutely not required but a great role. You can even foster to adopt, meaning they’ll place children with you who are likely to become available for adoption. In that instance, Child Services even pays for your fingerprinting and CPR/First Aid (required for foster parents).
Most people know there’s a monthly per diem for foster-certified families. BUT after the adoption is finalized, most SNAP children qualify for adoption subsidy, a monthly allowance for the parents until the child turns 18. It’s usually just a bit less than the foster care per diem. The child can also always have Medicaid and can go to any state college for free. Huge blessings!
I share this info with you mainly because I find most people have NO IDEA about this program, and I have many friends who, like we did, feel as though adoption is out of their reach financially or think it will be years before they’re matched with someone. God truly has placed those of us living in the US in a unique position to open our homes over and over to the orphans in our country.
Here are all the posts in our adoption series:
- Getting Real About Adoption
- Loving the Unlovable
- Sin in the Adopted Child
- Support for the Adoptive Parent
- Broken-Hearted Parents
- Some Clarifying Thoughts on Our Adoption
- Examining Adoption Resources (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 1)
- Normal and Healthy? (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 2)
- A Matter of Foundations (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 3)
- The Sins of Neurology (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 4)
- Idol Swapping (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 5)
- Setting the Course (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 6)
- Another Way Forward (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 7)
- The Therapy Our Children Need
- Who Are You Calling Normal?
- Optional Adoption
- How to Adopt for Almost Free (And No Fundraising!)
- What About “Those” Kids?
- Trying to Make Them Lovable