Criteria for Adoptive Families
The following list of criteria is not meant to be all-inclusive as to the criteria for adoption approval, but should serve as a general guideline for applicants in making their decision. Applicants’ individual situations will be taken into consideration as they may affect his/her ability to care for a specific child. Other factors that the agency takes into consideration include but are not limited to: DCF regulations, and expectant/birth parent(s) preferences.
The age requirement for adoptive parent applicants varies. Factors that are taken into consideration include: the child’s age, the emotional maturity of the applicants, and the health/life expectancy of the applicants. The agency prefers applicants to be older than 25 and younger than 55.
The Home for Little Wanderers accepts applications from single persons and unmarried/married couples. The agency prefers that couples have been living together for at least two years at the time of application.
Applicants may have been divorced. The agency prefers no more than two previous divorces. Applicants must demonstrate stability in their present relationship.
At least one applicant must be a United States citizen.
Applicants and other members of the household must be in good physical and mental health as shown by physical evaluations required by this agency. If applicants have medical problems/mental health issues, the agency will want to see that they are controlled by medication, in remission (medical), and will not interfere with the care of children. The agency may require a more detailed report, including prognosis, from a medical specialist or mental health professional. Applicants will be required to be able to obtain a statement from their physician that they have “normal life expectancy.” If there is an indication of possible alcohol/drug abuse or any type of addiction, the applicant must provide evidence of successful completion of a licensed treatment program and two years of current abstinence. All medical and mental health decisions will be made on an individual basis. It is strongly preferred that applicants have health insurance coverage for themselves and are required to have it for the child/ren they plan to adopt.
The financial situation of each family is reviewed individually. The family income and assets must be sufficient to meet the family’s needs, including prospective adoptive children. The actual amount earned is less important than the family’s ability to manage adequately on that amount. Documentation will be collected regarding the applicant(s) finances.
Applicants must be residents of Massachusetts.
Physical Requirements of Home
Applicants may rent or own their residence. All homes however, must meet the physical requirements for adoptive homes set forth by the state licensing office. For homes that have well water or a wood stove, a report of inspection will be required. The Home for Little Wanderers does include questions on the application regarding an applicant’s home environment which applicants are required to answer.
Applicants must have a background that is free of conduct that bears adversely upon his or her ability to provide for the safety and well-being of children. More specifically, applicants are ineligible if, within five years of the date of application, they or anyone regularly residing in the home or any substitute caregiver has been convicted of a felony against persons, or is awaiting, or is on trial for such charges. In addition, if the applicants or anyone regularly residing in the home or any substitute caregiver has ever been convicted of a felony involving violence of any kind, including domestic violence, child abuse/neglect, including physical and sexual abuse; or if any other above has had a child removed from their care or custody for reasons of child abuse and/or neglect, applicants are ineligible. Other background conduct issues will be assessed on an individual basis.
Failure to accurately report background conduct on the agency application may be reason for automatic denial.
Should a pregnancy occur during the homestudy or the waiting period before a child is assigned, we require applicants to notify the agency and be prepared to delay the adoption. If the pregnancy occurs after a child has been assigned, the agency will make decisions to go forward on an individual basis.
Significant Past Loss
The agency recognizes that each individual will grieve the loss of a loved one (spouse, partner, child) in their own manner and in their own time frame and that grief is not a linear process. The agency also acknowledges that the intensity of grief and length can relate to whether the loss is a sudden or predicated one. With that said, the agency requires that a loss has occurred at least two (2) years from the date of application (or of attending MAPP class) and prefers that a loss has occurred a least three (3) years from the date of application (or of attending MAPP class).
Prior adoptions must be legalized (finalized) before beginning another adoption/homestudy.
Time at Home
The agency prefers one parent to remain at home for at least three months after a child is placed. Adopted children who receive early and consistent care by a loving parent make a better adjustment.
Applicants are required to show evidence through letters of reference of their good standing in the community. Applicants who have a child/ren must be good parents to the child/ren they are parenting and demonstrate the way in which they have parented to be appropriate. The agency may require one letter of reference to be from a person who can attest to the applicant(s) parenting skills (i.e., school reference).
All members of the applicant household shall participate in the homestudy process (including children). Applicants may be required to attend an adoption parent educational series. All applicants are required to fill out an application and submit necessary homestudy documents.
As stated earlier, at times outside evaluations by a provider approved by the agency may be necessary. An evaluation may be requested by the agency to assist in making a final determination of approval or denial of the adoption application . A refusal of the agency’s request for the outside evaluation shall be reason for denial of the application. Costs for the outside evaluation will be at the expense of the applicant.
The applicant(s) must have a plan for discipline that does not include the use of corporal punishment and will be asked to sign a statement attesting to this.
Ability to Parent
The ability of the applicant(s) to provide quality parenting shall be determined but is not limited to the family’s capacity to do the following:
a. accept and handle the issues of infertility, if applicable;
b. accept and become educated about the unique dynamics of raising an adopted child;
c. accept and respect the child’s racial and cultural background, particularly if it differs from their own, and be able to help the child integrate his/her biological and adoptive identities;
d. become educated regarding the benefits of openness in adoption for the triad members;
e. exercise good judgment in care for children;
f. know and understand the developmental needs of children and relate them to parental expectations; and
g. have the ability to provide a safe and nurturing home environment.
Date Effective: 11/06
DEEC 5.10 (3) These standards were developed taking into consideration requirements/recommendations made by DEEC, COA and The Child Welfare League of America.