Why should I adopt through an agency?
Adoption is unique and raising an adopted child is different than raising a biological child. If you adopt through an agency, you are given the education and support needed to guide you through the life-long journey of adoption. Nebraska Children’s Home Society will always be there to support, educate, and advocate for you and anyone involved in the adoption process.
The Advantages of adopting through an agency include but are not limited to:
- Preparation and support provided to prospective birth parents
- Adoption Education given before, during and after the placement
- Support groups for all individuals involved in the adoption process
- Post placement services
- A lifetime of support and advocacy
What are Adoptive Couple’s Eligibility Requirements?
The following are our requirements and guidelines for prospective adoptive parents for our program:
- Couples must be married to each other for at least three years before they start the adoption journey.
- Applicants must be under the age of 48 at the time of application and may participate in the program until the first spouse reaches the age of 50.
- Couples must live in Nebraska.
- Each spouse must have medical insurance.
- Each spouse must carry $50,000 in life insurance coverage.
- If you previously filed bankruptcy, you must wait at least 3 years from the date of filing before applying to the program
- If parenting, your youngest child must be 18 months of age before applying. If approved you would not be eligible for selection by a pregnancy client until your youngest child is 2 years old.
- We do not require a certain income level, nor do we require that families own a home. Our primary concerns are how a couple manages their resources and how able they are to adequately provide for the needs of a child.
What is a Home Study?
A home study includes exploring marital and family relationships, family history and preparation for parenthood through adoption.
A Home Study also includes:
- Conjoint Interviews
- Individual Interviews
- Educational Trainings Sessions (ISM & ADOPT)
- Background checks
- Health information
A home study is required by law in the State of Nebraska. After a couple has completed the Educational Training they are assigned a caseworker who completes the home study, usually in 90 days, however there are times it may take longer.
A home study is valid for one year and must be renewed to remain in our adoption program. As part of that renewal we require our couples to have obtained 10 CEU’s. These can be obtained through attendance at PREPARE groups, readings, volunteer work or any other activity related to parenting or adoption as approved by the caseworker.
What are the adoption laws in the State of Nebraska?
In Nebraska, as a licensed child placing agency, we are required to do the following:
- A home study must be completed prior to an adoption placement.
- Birth parents are not allowed to sign relinquishments until after a minimum of 48 hours after the birth of the baby. Relinquishments will not be signed until the agency is confident the birth parents are ready.
- Nebraska Law requires the agency to duly notify all possible birth fathers before an adoption plan is made. To learn more about birth father’s rights, visit A Father’s Role.
- A petition to finalize the adoption can be filed after the child is in the home for six months. During these six months, NCHS will complete post placement visits with the family before the adoption can be finalized.
Can we be an “approved couple” with other agencies?
We encourage you to check out other agencies. They all have different requirements and processes, and it is important for you to find one that is most comfortable for you. Once you do start your home study, we ask that you only work with one agency. All agencies will ask the same.
How long will it take to receive a child?
Once you are an approved couple, it is impossible to predict how soon a placement might occur. More often than not, the birth parents are involved in the selection process and we never know what qualities or characteristics they will look for in adoptive parents. Unfortunately, NCHS is unable to guarantee that a placement will occur.
When is the adoption final?
Once a placement is made, the State of Nebraska requires your child be in your home a minimum of six months before legal paperwork can be filed to be finalized. During these six months, your caseworker will visit your family to access how your family is adjusting to parenthood. This process will also be explained to you in more detail during your home study and educational meetings.
How much does all of this cost?
There are considerable costs incurred by agencies in the adoptive placements of children. The national average fee can range from $9,000 to $25,000 per placement. It is our philosophy, however, to provide these services with no fees attached. It is our expectation that those who adopt through our program be great parents, positive advocates for adoption and for Nebraska Children’s Home Society, and finally will contribute to NCHS through gifts of their time, talent and treasures. It is only through generous contributions that we are able to survive and continue helping children and families like yours.
How do I get started with the Adoption Process?
If you meet our eligibility requirements (see above) and are interested in starting the adoption process, please email Betty Wilson or call us at (402) 483-7879.
Betty Wilson, 2Adopt@nchs.org
When you email us, please include the following information:
- Phone Number; home, work and cell
- Date of Marriage
- Date of Birth
- If you have children…how many?
- Specify all that you are interested in: Infant Adoption, Adopting a second child, FosAdopt, Other
After you email us this information, please give us 7-10 working days to process your request information and respond to you. This will begin your adoption process.
What is “open adoption?”
Open adoption involves a continued relationship between a birth family and an adoptive family. This relationship can have varying degrees of contact and is different within each individual situation. Often times, birth parents choose to meet the adopting parents prior to the child’s birth, at placement, and or sometime after the placement. In the majority of our current placements, adoptive families and birth families schedule get togethers, share pictures and write letters.
An important part of our educational efforts at Nebraska Children’s Home Society includes educating all members of the adoption circle on openness. Most of our adoptive couples feel more comfortable as they learn more about openness. It is also important that family and friends of adoptive couples understand what open adoption is. We offer Extended Family Workshops as one means of educating them.
Is it different raising an adopted child?
Yes, adoption is unique and raising an adopted child is different than raising a biological child. This child has a biological history and a medical history that is not your own. At Nebraska Children’s Home Society, you are given the education and support needed to guide you through the life-long journey of adoption. Nebraska Children’s Home Society will always be there to support, educate, and advocate for you and anyone involved in the adoption process. Our post adoption services also provides additional support and assistance after the placement.
Are Support Groups available?
You will be informed of support groups during your home study process. We have support groups called PREPARE across the state for adoptive couples. These support groups meet at different times and locations with some focused on social and networking opportunities and others focused on educational purposes. Please contact your local NCHS office if you want to be involved with a PREPARE group.
Can I still be on infertility treatments during the adoption process?
We ask that you devote your full attention to adoption and conclude your infertility treatments once you start the adoption process. This allows you to focus on the adoption process wholeheartedly.
What do I do if I become pregnant during the adoption process?
We ask that you inform of us of any changes in your life, including a pregnancy, while you are a client of NCHS. In this circumstance, we would congratulate you and want you to focus on your pregnancy and preparation for your child. Therefore, we would remove you from our group of approved families awaiting placement, but would not close your file. We ask that you continue to keep us informed of your situation so that if anything unforeseen happens to your pregnancy, you have an opportunity to continue your adoption journey and rejoin the approved group of families if you wish.
In addition to news of a pregnancy, our clients have a responsibility to provide truthful and accurate information and a responsibility to notify the Nebraska Children’s Home Society when any changes occur with them as individuals, as a couple and as a family. The following are examples of this, but are not limited to the following examples:
- Any health changes, to include physical and/or mental
- A change in employment
- Any changes in finances
- Filing for bankruptcy
- A change in address
- A marital separation
- Receiving counseling for whatever issue
- Any criminal charges, to include charges of assault, driving under the influence, etc…
- A report made to Child Protective or Adult Protective services in regards to the applicant’s or members in their home
- Any evaluations completed for the purposes of alcohol or other drug evaluation, a gambling evaluation, etc…
- An occurrence or occurrences of domestic violence in the home
What can I do to learn more about Adoption?
You may only be in the adoption process for a short time, but you are an adoptive parent forever. The more you can read and educate yourself on adoption, the better. Please visit our section called Adoption Resources for additional information.