About the children
The Waiting Child Adoption program is often times referred to as Special Needs Adoption. These children come into foster care for a variety of reasons and they are considered special needs because of the following:
- History of abuse and neglect
- A history of trauma
- Medical, physical, or emotional disabilities
- Risk of physical, mental, or emotional disability based on birth family history
- Any condition that may make the child harder to place in an adoptive home
- Ethnic or racial background
- Part of a sibling group
Given the special needs status of these children, financial support may be available to adoptive families on behalf of the child.
Home Study and
For the waiting child program, a standard home study fee and facilitation fee will be assessed to those applicants who receive placement. Please refer to the current Statement of Fees for more detailed information.
Financial assistance may be available to help you adopt a child. Waiting children are often eligible for medical assistance and, in some cases, a monthly subsidy to help you with the costs of parenting. In addition, the state placing the child may reimburse the adoptive family for their travel costs and legal fees. These benefits vary from state to state.
Characteristics of Successful Adoptive Parents
While we look for certain strengths and traits in all adoptive families, the adoption of older children who have been in foster care due to abuse and/or neglect requires different attitudes, skills and abilities.
Research has demonstrated that adults who possess the following attributes are more likely to successfully parent a child who has experienced the loss of family through abuse or neglect and through the finality of adoption by another family.
- Flexibility and adaptability, while providing structure for the child
- Ability to make a lifelong commitment to an older child who may have behavioral, emotional or educational challenges
- Ability to accept a child for who they are and not expect them to change
- Tolerance for value and cultural differences
- Positivity regarding the child’s family of origin
- A strong external support system
- Patience and realistic expectations regarding the process of child attachment
- Ability to celebrate incremental improvements
- Ability to meet the child’s emotional and physical needs
While not required, previous parenting experience is an asset for Waiting Child Adoption.
Preparation for Placement
Applicants applying to adopt children from public foster care must complete the online waiting child adoption preparatory training and provide a certificate of completion to be maintained in their file. Online training must be completed by the time the home study is finalized and approved, prior to any placement of children in the home, and each applicant must complete the training and provide a certificate of completion. The training addresses the following issues critical to adopting waiting children: grief and loss, effects and behaviors resulting from exposure to domestic violence, parenting abused and neglected children, parenting children across racial and cultural lines, and the sexual behaviors of traumatized children.
Children are available throughout the United States for permanent, adoptive placement. We work with other states in an effort to find permanent homes for waiting children. Children become available for adoption when the court terminates parental rights due to repeated abuse or chronic neglect or endangerment. Children remain in foster care until an adoptive family is identified.
As an approved adoptive family, your home study will be sent to adoption exchanges in order to inquire on a child or children you believe might be a good match for your family. If the child’s social worker believes that you might be a good match, the social worker will contact our agency to arrange for the next step in the selection process. The social worker and agency having custody of the waiting child will make the final selection of the family for that child.
If the child is living outside of Wyoming, you should expect to travel to the state where the child lives to meet the child. This will give you the opportunity to meet the child’s foster parents, social worker, counselor, attorney, and other individuals significant in the child’s life. It may also give you a better understanding of the region or area the child is most familiar with and possibly his or her cultural and ethnic identity.
The process of identifying a waiting child for adoption requires patience. Despite the number of available children, finding the right match takes time and placement cannot be guaranteed.
The Legal Process
You will need legal representation to represent you in court to finalize your adoption. At least six months after initial placement, a court hearing will be held to finalize the adoption. In the period of time between placement and finalization Wyoming Children’s Society will supervise and support the placement of the child in your home. In some instances, your placement may be supervised by the public child welfare agency, and you may be asked to become certified as a foster parent prior to finalization. This requirement will vary from state to state, and we can help you connect with your local Department of Family Services for certification.
In some cases when the child is coming from a different state into Wyoming, your adoption may be finalized in the child’s current state of residence and that state may have a staff attorney who will facilitate the finalization of the adoption on your behalf. All interstate placements are subject to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC); we will guide you through this process as well.
In most cases, post placement supervision will be provided by the Wyoming Children’s Society. The purpose of this service is to support the adoptive family with the transition following placement and in the adjustment of becoming an adoptive family. During this time any questions or concerns that may arise will be discussed. Wyoming Children’s Society mandates a minimum of three visits with the family that will allow the court information on how the transition is going for the child and family.
Find more valuable information about adopting waiting children at the internet links below as well as photos of waiting children.
The website for the Wyoming Department of Family Services has information about foster care and adoption.
Raise the Future has photo listings of waiting children in Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Utah.
The Northwest Adoption Exchange has photo listings of waiting children in Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Adopt Us Kids is sponsored by the United States Children’s Bureau and features many waiting children as well as information regarding state-specific adoption requirements.
North American Council on Adoptable Children is an excellent resource for families considering adopting a waiting child.