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It takes approximately two to four months to complete the paperwork-gathering and home study process to become home study approved in Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C.. In any type of formal adoption, the family must first have a home study conducted by an agency that is licensed within their state. Your Home Study includes pre-adoption training, meetings with a social worker, and background checks. After the home study is completed, wait times range from six months to two years, on average. Often the waiting time depends on the family’s openness to the children and the circumstances of the child’s birth family. To see the step-by-step process and approximate timing, please see our Domestic Infant Adoption overview page.
Many factors lead an expectant parent to consider adoption during an unplanned pregnancy. Common reasons include a lack of emotional and financial readiness to parent, religious and/or faith values, the presence of children whom they’re currently parenting and an inability to parent additional children, and the values of and support they expect from extended family.
Will I have the opportunity to meet the birth parents?
Often the birth parent(s) request to meet the adoptive family that they select. These meetings are typically held at The Barker Adoption Foundation’s office with the support of Barker social workers or at an attorney’s office in cases in which the adoptive parent is working directly with a private attorney for placement.
At the time of application, it is common to have questions about the domestic adoption options available through Barker. If you are undecided, we will help you explore our In-Area Domestic Adoption and Out-of-Area Domestic Adoption plans. We may suggest that a family consider one path over another depending on the adoptive family’s preferences, and in some cases we may suggest that a family consider using both plans simultaneously. Our goal is to help you make an informed plan that takes into account the needs of children and your comfort level.
After a baby is born there is a period of time that birth parents have to reflect on their decision before it becomes final. The length of this waiting period is determined by each state. In most cases, during this period Barker will place the baby in the temporary care of one of our loving Cradle Care Families. Our Cradle Care Families are licensed as foster care providers in their respective state (Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C.) and meet regularly with Barker pregnancy services/counseling staff for continuing training. They provide the first home for your baby for a period that lasts from a week to 30 days depending upon the state. In many ways these families are the heart and soul of Barker in that they open their home to unconditionally love each baby that comes into care, providing him or her a nurturing and anxiety-free environment until the next chapter begins with his or her forever family.
While closed adoptions (in which adoptive parents and children do not know or maintain contact with the birth parents) were once the norm, this is no longer the case. Furthermore, research has shown how important it is for children’s identity formation to know who their birth parents are, and for birth parents to know about the growth and development of their birth children for their own personal healing.
In our experience, birth parents and adoptive families commonly agree to meet about once a year, and adoptive families agree to provide updates with photos and letters throughout the year. In the earlier post-adoption years, Barker often facilitates these visits. The reality is that there is a spectrum of openness and comfort levels across birth and adoptive families, and that comfort level can evolve as the years pass. Barker works to support everyone involved and to facilitate contact for families and birth parents who share similar preferences for openness.