Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of some of our most commonly asked questions by potential adoptive parents. We’d be happy to speak with you regarding your specific questions. You can get in touch with us by completing our contact form or calling us at 877.380.HERO.
Who are the children eligible for adoption at Aspiranet?
The children eligible for adoption at Aspiranet are children in foster care of varying ages, ethnicities and life experiences. Some of the children placed by Aspiranet are no longer under their parents custody (commonly referred to as “parental rights terminated”) while others have varying case status in the legal system. What this means is that some children are initially placed into the foster care system on two tracks that are followed simultaneously. One is reunification with their birth family. The other is adoption if reunification is unsuccessful. To prevent them from being moved from one home to another, children are placed with a family that is ready and willing to adopt should the child not be reunified with their birth family.
By definition, children in foster care are under the court’s jurisdiction. As a result, they can only live with a licensed or certified foster parent, relative, or non-related extended family members prior to the termination of parent’s rights.
For this reason, all Aspiranet adoptive families must become certified foster parents. We work exclusively with children who are in the California foster care system who need a permanent family.
What does “special needs adoption” mean?
In adoption, the term “special needs adoption” has a different meaning than the clinical definition of the term “special needs”. Often, children available for adoption who are in foster care are referred to as “special needs”. Special needs can mean that the child is older than age three, a minority, has experienced an adverse parental background or requires placement with his/her siblings. Typically, these children have lived in foster care and are school-aged youth. Some have physical or mental challenges that require specialized care and others have experienced the emotional trauma associated with abuse and neglect.
Who can adopt?
Aspiranet Adoption Services looks for loving families with big hearts that can make the commitment to be a parent to a child. You do not need to own a home or be married to adopt. Our families are as diverse as the children available for adoption.
In the state of California, you must be at least 10 years older than the child you are adopting, you must be financially able to care for a child and be willing to assume responsibility for the care, guidance and protection of a child. You must have adequate, safe housing. The adopting parent and the child will have the legal relationship of a parent and child with all of the rights and duties of this relationship. For more information, please refer to our basic requirements.
How much does it cost to adopt a child in foster care?
At Aspiranet, the only costs associated with adoption of children in foster care are those expenses associated with fulfilling the requirements for completing an adoption, such as: fingerprint clearances, TB tests, health screenings, obtaining copies of required documents and any household modifications required by regulations, etc.
Additionally, a growing number of companies and government agencies offer adoption assistance as part of their employee benefit packages, including time off for maternity/paternity leave, financial incentives and other benefits. There are also federal tax credits available for foster care adoption to help offset costs. A state tax credit may also be available for adopting a child who was in the custody of a California public children welfare agency.
What is an adoption home study?
State law requires that prospective adoptive parents undergo a psycho-social assessment called a home study. The home study has many purposes:
- Determine if a family is a viable and safe placement resource for children
- Meet statutory and regulatory requirements
- Educate and prepare the adoptive family for adoption
- Provide information that identifies a family’s strength to facilitate a good match with a child’s needs
The home study process may seem time consuming and cumbersome, but it is vital to ensure the best possible outcomes for both the child and the family. During the process, your family will be actively involved, providing feedback, asking questions and helping the adoption worker understand the strengths and needs of your family. The home study consists of three separate face-to-face contacts with the prospective adoptive parent. Home studies typically take between 4-6 months to complete.
Is there financial assistance available to support the needs of the child I adopt?
If you adopt a child from foster care, the majority of children will be eligible for a federal/state adoption subsidy, known as the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP). AAP provides monthly payments designed to offset the short and long-term costs associated with adopting children who need special services. Monthly payments are equal to the foster care payment the state would have made if the child were still in basic foster care. AAP benefits begin the date the adoption is finalized and end when the child turns 18. All children who qualify for AAP benefits are also eligible for health care services through the Medi-Cal program.