How old are the children?
In China, waiting children, both boys and girls up to 14 years old and with minor correctable as well as more involved medical needs, are able to be adopted. Families can have Heartsent look for a child for them on our available child list, according to what they want and what they are prepared for. In all countries children who range in age from 1 year up to 14 year are available. In our domestic adoption program newborns are available. From Colombia, older waiting children are available, including single children and sibling groups. Most of the waiting children are medically healthy, but may have issues to work with emotionally due to their age and their past. In Taiwan, infants, toddlers and older children and sibling groups are available up to the age of 13. Thailand has mostly healthy older toddlers available, from 4-5 years at the time of homecoming.
How do we start the adoption process?
You begin your process by calling to receive an information packet from Heartsent, requesting home study and country specific or domestic adoption information. You can also call to set up an appointment to meet with us personally. We will discuss your options in an open, honest way, using our own experience as adoptive parents to help guide your process. After you make the decision to begin working with Heartsent as your home study agency, you will first fill out an application form, then you will be matched with a Heartsent social worker, file with Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) if adopting internationally, and begin your home study for an international or domestic adoption. The home study typically takes between 6-8 weeks to complete. Along the way you will attend focus classes and adoption workshops, and have opportunities to meet others in the adoption process while you are waiting for your child to join your family..
Please see our 'Getting Started!' page for more information on how to begin the adoption process with Heartsent Adoptions, Inc.
What is a Home Study?
One of the most often asked questions, the home study seems to bring up the most curiosity and concern for adopting families. The home study is the foundation of your adoption, and is the process by which a social worker determines whether your home is safe and stable for an adopted child. This is done through careful assessments, questions from the social worker during his/her visits at and about your home, your physical and emotional stability, and your readiness to add an adopted child to your family. The social worker is not coming to 'interrogate' you or make you nervous- merely to sit with you and talk about your background and how you wish to parent your child. If you come from a home that was less than stable yourself, you will understand the need for this kind of discussion, because no one wants to repeat the difficulties they had with their own childhoods, and no one wishes to see an adopted child harmed by entering a family who might be ill-equipped to parent an adopted child with more needs than is usual. It is the social worker’s job to review with you your physical health status, financial stability, and your readiness to bring a child into your home- a child who may have difficulties with attachment or bonding or be delayed. Once the social worker has completed the required number of sessions with you, and checked your paperwork that verifies what you have told him/her, the home study report is written to (typically) recommend your adoption.
What is the next step?
While you are completing your home study, you will be discussing with your case worker and social worker the various country choices available, including domestic adoption. You do NOT need to enter the home study process already knowing the country you wish to adopt from! Once you select your child's birth country (including the U.S.), you will be focusing your efforts on specific paperwork requirements for that country. For a foreign adoption, you must wait until the home study is done and CIS approval has been granted before you will be able to locate your child or receive a child referral.
After applying to a country or the domestic program, how long before we can adopt?
This depends on the country (including U.S. domestic adoptions), and varies widely. You can receive the match of a toddler or older waiting child or sibling group as soon as 1-3 months, or wait for an infant in our domestic programs for as a long as 1-1.5 years. Your country choice makes the biggest difference in your waiting times. Domestic adoptions typically take an average of one year to complete.
Who will help us during our stay in our child's birth country?
You will be assisted either by Heartsent staff or an attorney who will be directing you, or by individuals working with our U.S. staff such as program coordinators and guides in foreign countries. Heartsent will be in constant contact with the agencies and individuals in the birth country to track your progress and provide assistance if necessary. Domestic adoptions also require assistance; Hearstent is there along with your adoption attorney (if applicable) to provide assistance with out of state travel and paperwork help to complete your adoption.
How long is the stay in the birth country if we do a foreign adoption?
Generally between 5 to 14 days, depending upon the country and the location within that country. At times two trips are necessary, or there may be an extended time in the foreign country before your adoption can be considered complete there (2-4 weeks are spent in Colombia when adopting). Domestic adoption may require 1-2 weeks in the child's birth state before you can bring your infant home, if he/she was born in another state.
Is it possible for us to work with Heartsent all the way through our adoption?
YES! For countries where Heartsent has an internal (direct) program of adoptions, you can work with us to complete your home study, prepare your foreign documents, then receive travel assistance once it is time to meet your child and bring him/her home. We can also work with our network agencies to form a "team" approach to your adoption. This way we can provide you with continuing clinical services, classes and cultural events throughout your adoption experience, as well as assist you with your dossier preparation and travel. For a domestic adoption, Heartsent works with highly qualified attorneys to complete your adoption, providing local education, support and a personal touch to your adoption process. If you work with one of our expectant mothers you will be working with Heartsent for almost all of your adoption work.