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The Adoption Process

When considering adoption, there are many facets to explore. The emotional readiness of you and your family, the financial commitment of raising a child and legal implications, to name a few. I address some of these aspects in past articles which can be accessed here in our Blog archives.  Once these topics have been explored and you have made the decision to welcome a child into your home, it is important to understand fully the scope of the process from beginning to end. I often get asked about this, so I have compiled a few answers to some of the questions that I receive that may help to clarify the adoption process.

How do I begin the formal adoption process?

The process begins when the adoptive parents either hold a meeting with a private adoption agency or attend an information session with the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families and complete a formal application for adoption.

What is the difference between public and private adoption in Rhode Island?

A public adoption is managed through the State of Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), the State of Rhode Island’s child welfare agency. Children available for adoption have been taken into this agency’s care for many reasons, but ultimately it was determined to be in the child’s best interest. There are also private adoption agencies who work closely with the RI DCYF and others that can also process international and out-of-state adoptions. A quick internet search will yield numerous resources.

Private adoption is legal in the State of Rhode Island and takes place when arranged independently by biological and adoptive families without the assistance of the state or licensed adoption agency. Families must be known to each other and not be brought together by a third party. This is to prevent someone seeking to profit financially by bringing such families together. It is important to understand that private adoptions can involve considerable risk as legally, the biological parents continue to have rights until the adoption is finalized.

How long does the adoption process take?

Each situation is unique, presenting timelines that are dependent on the child’s individual situation. I generally tell people that from the time that a match is made with a child, it can take up to 8 weeks for all essential reports and assessments to be completed that will allow a child to move into your home. The formal adoption is dependent on the court system and can take much longer.  

In regards to legal situations, each is as unique as the individuals involved, so it is imperative to have a strong lawyer that you can trust to manage the adoption process for you. Adoption is an extremely emotional experience for all parties involved. Finding an experienced lawyer, who understands the Rhode Island adoption process is the first step to ensuring that the adoption process goes as smoothly as possible.