Forever Families: Supporting Adoption Services in Indiana

This article is made possible by a partnership with the Marion County Commission on Youth. Indy with Kids is proud to support the work of MCCOY and help communicate information that is important for the youth of our community.

Written by Jacie Farris

According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, there are approximately 1,500 Hoosier youths available for adoption. In honor of National Adoption Month this November, MCCOY, Inc. has reached out to experts who can discuss adoption resources for families in Indiana. 

Adoption is important for birth parents, children and prospective adoptive parents,” said Steven Kirsh, adoption attorney for Kirsh & Kirsh, P.C., an adoption-only law firm that handles all kinds of adoptions throughout Indiana, including adoptions between Indiana and other states. Some expectant mothers conclude that they are not equipped to provide their children with stable homes and bright futures. In my experience, all birth mothers love their children. Those birth mothers who do not believe they have the resources to provide their children with the life they feel their children deserve and who are able to put their children’s needs above their own make adoption plans for their babies. Adoption professionals refer to making ‘adoption plans’ and not ‘giving away’ a child. Birth parents who proceed with adoption are making a plan for their children’s futures. It takes incredible courage, determination and foresight to make an adoption plan. Children who are adopted receive loving families that are better able provide the day-to-day and future needs of those children. Birth parents who make adoption plans for their children have the peace of mind in knowing that they have provided loving, secure homes for their babies.

When pursuing adoption, it is important that families consider all aspects of their needs and the needs of the child or children they may adopt.

Deborah Jasper is the director of foster care and adoption services at the Villages of Indiana, an organization that helps birth parents and adoptive parents with a variety of services that include matching birth and adoptive parents and providing follow-up services to both families post adoption. Jasper outlined three types of adoption: open, where prospective adoptive parents exchange identifying information; semi-open, where some information is shared between the prospective adoptive parents, but no identifying information; or closed, where no identifying information or ongoing contact is shared between the two sets of parents.

According to Noelle Russell, deputy director of communications at the Indiana Department of Child Services, there is a lot of prep work for parents who would like to adopt. Requirements generally include training, background checks, a home study and more. Timelines also vary greatly.

Russell said that there is a great need for families who are willing to adopt older youth and sibling groups. She noted that the majority of children who are available are males between the ages of 11 and 16, and many of the available children have emotional needs and may have medical needs as well.

Jasper asks that families look into their financial situations and do their research. She said that “infant private adoptions are generally more expensive, as they may include costs related to birth parent counselling, living expenses, attorney fees and home study and post placement fees. There are private attorneys and local licensed adoption agencies that work with both birth families and adoptive families. Families may want to consider adoption through the Indiana Adoption Program. There are few fees associated with this type of adoption. Children who are placed through this program are generally older, have been placed in foster care and the case plan is now adoption. Many of these children are members of a sibling group.

The Indiana Adoption Program is a program of the Indiana Department of Child Services in collaboration with Children’s Bureau, Inc. 

Families are the launch pad of life,” said Rosie Butler, an adoption champion for the Indiana Adoption Program. “Adoption is one way to grow a family. It is not at the fault of the children that they are orphaned and need new parents. Good parenting involves intentional engagement with children to prepare them for the future, and children in the Indiana Adoption Program come from life situations that have been traumatic in varied ways and need individuals or couples dedicated to assisting them to meet their special needs to prepare for adulthood.

Individuals not considering adoption can be supportive of families who are looking into the process.

Adoptive families are like any other family in that there are times when neighbors, co-workers, friends and family can reach out to offer help during particularly difficult times,” said Jasper. Adopted children at times can challenge their adoptive parents when they are dealing with issues related to previous trauma experiences or losses, or as they attempt to integrate themselves into their new family life. Help can be offered in the way of giving the adoptive parents a brief respite from the child for a few hours. Also, be respectful of an adoptive family’s personal history. Families will share their adoption story with you when they are comfortable to do so. Asking questions about their child’s birth parents and family history is something that is private between the child and parents and it is up to them to determine who and under what circumstance they share this information.”

For those who are interested in learning more about adoption or ways to support families who are involved the adoption process, November can be a great month to find information and events.

“This is our biggest month of the year!” said Butler. “Many, many courts hold National Adoption Month days. In Marion County, the Probate Division of the Marion County Superior Courts plans for us to be present in the court room (with the parents’ permission granted ahead of time) to celebrate with them through a small gift and refreshments. Each court may do something different, depending on the desire of the judge. This year Marion County is celebrating on Friday, November 16, and around 16 new families are going to be ‘birthed’ that day!”

Indiana has regional Adoption Specialists who can help families who would like to learn more about beginning the adoption process. For more informationcall 1-888-25-ADOPT. Other resources include the following:

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