For information on adoption, approach any child welfare agency or a voluntary coordinating agency in your area. (List in Annexure 5).
Get all the information that you need, clarify your doubts and then register with one agency with whom you feel most comfortable. Please do not register with several agencies in the hope of getting a "better" choice or a faster placement. The agencies have their own networking system whereby they co-ordinate with each other to locate a suitable child for you. If you register with more than one, this results in unnecessary duplication of work, both for you and for the agency.
Study the documents that you need to complete as part of the formalities in the process of adoption. (List in Annexure 2).
The social worker will set up appointments with you at a mutually convenient date and time for: single interviews; joint interviews; and a Home Visit. This is part of the Home Study preparation and pre-adoption counselling.
Use these meetings with the social worker to clarify all your apprehensions and to discuss freely your expectations.
Then wait patiently. This is the most difficult part of the process, because once you have made a decision to adopt, you would like it to be completed with utmost haste. But please remember that all efforts will be made by the agency to locate a suitable and compatible child for you and this may take time - anything from three to six months, depending on the availability of children. It would be an appropriate analogy to draw here that just as nature has provided time between conception and the birth of a baby, so the adoption process involves this period of waiting which allows a couple to get emotionally prepared for adoptive parenthood.
Meeting your child: This is the moment you have been waiting for with mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety. The social worker will arrange for you to see the child that has been identified for you.
The medical screen: once you feel you would like to adopt the child, it is important to get a complete re-examination done with a doctor of your choice to reassure yourself of the child’s health.
When your decision is final, you have to meet a lawyer who will help you file all the relevant papers in court before you can take the child home in pre-adoptive foster care.
Court Hearing and legalisation process: The social worker will assist you with all legal formalities and you may be required to attend court.
Documents related to the adoption will be given to you by your lawyer: the court decree, the Deed of Adoption (if relevant) and the child’s birth affidavit (Annexure 6).
Post-adoption Follow-up: The social worker will keep in touch with you and visit you for follow-ups as per the stipulation of the court and the agency’s rules ( Annexure 4). Even after the legal follow-up period is over, you can feel free to approach the agency for any advice or assistance.