Special Children Need Special Parents
AGAPE’s special needs adoption services provide opportunities for children whose backgrounds and needs may call for special recruitment to locate adoptive parents. These children are:
• Children in the foster care system who are school age
• Sibling Groups
• Youth in foster care who have resolved their issues and are ready to be part of a family
• Children who have handicapping conditions, which may be medical, psychological, or emotional/behavioral in nature
Toddlers represent a group of children who are not generally readily available for adoption as most are adopted by foster parents who have cared for and bonded with them during the time that decisions were made related to termination of rights of biological parents. Most of the children in AGAPE’s foster homes, whose goal changes from reunification with parent to adoption, are adopted by their foster parents.
AGAPE currently is in need of prospective adoptive parents who will consider teens who have expressed a desire to be connected with a forever family who will guide them through the transition into adulthood with support that will last a lifetime.
AGAPE encourages families who wish to adopt children from the foster care system to search the web sites that feature profiles of children who are waiting. Those are: www.adoptuskids.org;www.adoption.com; and www.parentachild.org. To qualify for one of the over 9,000 children who are waiting across the United States, prospective parents must complete PATH (Parents As Tender Healers) training along with Medication Administration, and CPR/First Aid, and be approved through the home study process. AGAPE offers PATH training, and home studies, assistance in submitting match requests, and post placement assistance for interested families. Contact us for more information on this service.
You will find pictures and profiles of children who are available for adoption on this web site. There is always a need for approved families who will adopt African American and bi-racial infants, most of whom have no known medical problems. AGAPE works with children who are in custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.
Contact the caseworker whose name appears with the profile or Judy Rister, Director of Social Services. Information will be given that will enable you to decide if you want to continue the process. Training information will be provided.
Application packets are provided during training. When the application is submitted, references are sent. Physical exams (including TB tests), financial statements, criminal background checks, references, and questionaires are required. Individual interviews and a home visit are scheduled before the home study is completed. The process generally takes 8 weeks.
The home study process assists you in identifying the type of child (age, sex, siblings, range of problems) desired. If the family identifies a child on a web site, the AGAPE case worker will assist in contacting the case worker of the child. If the child desired is an infant, birth parents may be involved in choosing the adoptive couple.
Fees for the placement of any child who is in the guardianship of AGAPE are established by the Board of Directors. Consult an AGAPE case worker for the most current fees. You can expect to pay a fee for the home study, for the placement services, and for an attorney. An Adoption Tax Credit is available to offset those qualifying adoption expenses.
Children who meet the federal guidelines for special needs may qualify for a federal and state funded Adoption Assistance Program. The case worker will let you know if the child you are interested in qualifies for Adoption Assistance and will explain the application process.
The AGAPE case worker provides supervision through the finalization of the adoption. In most cases, counseling and other supportive services will have been identified and a long term plan discussed before the adoption finalizes.