Every child deserves a family. When you adopt from the foster care system, you change a child’s life by providing the love, security and owope they so desperately need. The Oklahoma Heart Gallery works with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to help find adoptive families for our waiting children.
- Contact OKDHS: Prospective parents contact OKDHS to express interest. This can be done by completing the agency’s online form or by calling 1-800-376-9729.
- Prepare for Adoption: OKDHS guides prospective parents through the:
- Adoption application
- Required training/orientation
- Assessment/home study process
- Selection process to identify the child/sibling group who will join their family
- Welcome Home: Parents welcome the child/children into their home for a 6-12 month period of temporary legal custody.
- Make It Official! The adoption is finalized at a finalization hearing, typically one year later.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can adopt?
A common misconception is that adoption agencies are looking for one perfect type of family to adopt. Every waiting child has the right to a loving, nurturing and permanent family, and people from a variety of life experiences offer strengths for these children.
Adoptive parents can be single, married, divorced or widowed. You can be experienced parents with children in your home, first-time parents or even have grown children.
To adopt a child, you must:
- Have the ability to love, understand, care for and accept a child to whom you did not give birth.
- Be at least 21 years of age.
- Submit fingerprints for a state and national criminal history records search, along with all other adults in the household.
- Submit to a search of all OKDHS records, including Child Welfare records.
- Ensure that no household members have a prior conviction of any sexual offense.
- Attend 27 hours of pre-service training.
- Be in good physical and mental health to provide for the needs of the child (physical exam required).
- Be a legal resident.
- Have a working vehicle and telephone.
- Provide sufficient beds and bedrooms for additional children.
- Provide information for a family assessment and home study.
How long does it take?
For families who are just beginning to explore adoption, it typically takes 2-3 months to complete the inquiry, orientation, training and assessment requirements. Though each situation is unique, adoptions are usually finalized approximately 1 year after the child is placed in the home.
How much does it cost?
OKDHS doesn’t charge any fee for parents for adopting a child in the OKDHS foster care program. Adoptive families are responsible for the cost of medical exams, which are required for everyone in the home. This fee depends on the family’s doctor/insurance.
Is the process overwhelming?
In order to protect waiting children, all adoption agencies require certain paperwork, background checks and assessments. But OKDHS works to make the process as painless as possible. They provide assistance for every step, answer any questions you may have and help you fill out all required forms.
Do I have to earn a lot of money?
No. You must simply be able to adequately feed, clothe and house a child, just as you would if the child were born to you.
Do I have to own my own home?
No. You can live in your own home, a rented house, an apartment or a trailer home—as long as it is a safe home with enough space and a bed for a child.
What if I already have children?
OKDHS is happy to work with families who already have children. Your parenting experience is valuable, and your other children will provide more family for the adopted child.
Do I have to be married?
No. Many single men and women adopt waiting children.
What if I have been divorced?
Divorce or any other life experience can be a learning experience that makes parents stronger and wiser. Your knowledge and experiences will provide you with valuable skills in helping an adopted child through the transition.
Am I too old to adopt a child?
There are many variables when it comes to age. Agencies who place waiting children are interested in your ability to raise a child and be involved in their activities, and in the likelihood you will live long enough to see your children reach adulthood.
If I adopt a child with special needs, is there financial support available?
OKDHS cares about the placement of special needs children and can provide monthly adoption subsidies for sibling groups, older children and those with emotional, learning or medical problems. They can also help with the legal costs of finalizing the adoption in court.