Adoption & Fostering FAQ's
Is adoption right for me?
Adoption is forever and a lifelong commitment for everyone involved. It is extremely important that adoption is pursued for the right reasons. Anyone who plans to adopt must be prepared to properly deal with the significant challenges and commitments that will be necessary. Before deciding to adopt, a person must be certain they are ready and able to give a child all the love and attention they need and deserve. In the end, adoption can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
What is the age requirement for adopting?
Koinonia works with adoptive parents who are at least 24 years of age and demonstrate the maturity and responsibility necessary to adopt a child. California requires that you are at least 10 years older than any child you adopt. (An exception may be made if the adoptive parent is a stepparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, or first cousin of the child and, if that person is married, is adopting jointly with his or her spouse.)
Can I adopt foster children placed in my home?
Thousands of placed children have been adopted by foster parents. Koinonia provides a full range of services including adoptive family assessment, guidance, and finalization.
Will I receive financial assistance when a foster to adopt child is placed in my home?
Yes, you are reimbursed the same amount for a foster to adopt child as a placed foster child until the child becomes an adoptive placement. All foster to adopt children are also eligible for Medi-Cal insurance.
Is there any additional financial support or tax credit available?
Families who adopt foster children qualify for the Adoption Assistance Program which is a federally funded, state administered, subsidy program for the adoption of special-needs children. There are various federally aided and state funded adoption assistance programs available for eligible children. Detailed information is available at Koinonia's orientation and pre-certification trainings. The Adoption Tax Credit is applied to federal taxes and allows adoptive parents to deduct certain adoption-related expenses from their federal tax bill. Please visit: http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc607.html for additional tax information.
Does submitting an application obligate me to complete the adoption approval process?
Submission of an application for adoption approval does not commit you to the adoption process. On the other hand, application submission does not guarantee you will be approved for adoption.
I just want to adopt; how does Koinonia's foster to adopt process work?
Koinonia primarily works within the foster care system to assist children in finding permanent homes. Families wishing to adopt with Koinonia must receive their foster care certification and become adoption approved. To receive adoption approval you will be required to complete additional paperwork, two adoption specific background clearances, and a more in-depth home study.
How long does the adoption home study process take and what does it involve?
In order to become certified for foster care and approved for adoption with Koinonia, a home study must be completed. The home study, which Koinonia offers free of charge, is an overall evaluation of a family and the types of children they are interested in adopting. Once the application paperwork has been completed, it normally takes 60 to 90 days for the social worker to complete the adoption home study. In some cases, it may take longer if more interviews are required or more information is needed. In general, the following information is included in the home study:
- § Personal and family background – including upbringing, siblings and key events
- § Significant people in the lives of the applicants
- § Marriage and family relationships
- § Motivation to adopt
- § Expectations for the child
- § Feelings about infertility (if this is an issue)
- § Parenting and integration of the child into the family
- § Family environment
- § Physical and health history of the applicants
- § Education, employment and finances – including insurance coverage and child care plans, if needed
- § References and criminal background clearances
- § Summary and social worker's recommendation
What costs are incurred for foster care and respite care certification and adoption approval, if applicable?
TB Screening* & Medical Examination(s): personal health insurance may assist in cost.
Household items required by Community Care Licensing/Koinonia:
Such as first aid kit, fire extinguisher, locks for cabinets, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors (Central CA only), pool fencing/covering, additional furnishings, etc. (to be discussed with your Koinonia representative at the initial home safety review visit).
The fees listed below are for each person: Fees:
DMV printout(s) $2-5
Foster Care Live Scan** (fingerprinting) - DOJ/FBI/Child Abuse Central Index Clearance $60
Trainings to be completed by each foster care and foster to adopt applicant:
Orientation Training: This training will orient you with the history of Koinonia and its programs. You will gain an understanding of the heart of Koinonia. In addition to an overview of the certification/approval process, requirements and roadmap of choices, you will be provided an introduction to the home study process. The Koinonia staff will be there to help you walk this journey.
Pre-Certification Training: These training modules will focus on California's regulatory requirements, overview of the home study, foster care and adoption process, child development and behaviors, attachment and bonding, crisis intervention, financial benefits, and the child's journey from detention to reunification or adoption. You will hear many stories and experiences that you will be able to relate to when dealing with placed children and their issues, including important principles useful in parenting. To become certified, each applicant must complete 16 to 24 hours (dependent upon county requirements) of pre-certification training provided by Koinonia. Training materials will be provided. Your district office training information flyer will give you the specific details for completing your hours. Information regarding meals/snacks will also be provided on the training flyer.
CPR/First Aid Training: This blended course consists of 5 hours of total training--3 hours online and 2 hours hands-on. The fee is applied toward your online training, materials and instruction at the hands-on training. Upon completion of the training, you will be certified in infant, child and adult CPR/first aid. $45
Non-minor Dependent (NMD) Training, if applicable: This training is currently under development. For details, please speak with your Koinonia representative.
Additional Live Scan*** (fingerprinting) to be completed by each foster to adopt applicant:
Adoption Live Scan - DOJ/FBI (includes the Child Abuse Central Index Clearance)
Please note: If there is a FBI criminal record, a second adoption Live Scan will be required. Your Koinonia representative will notify you if this becomes applicable. $67
* Required for adult residents living in the home and on the property of applicants.
** Required for adult residents living in the home, certified respite care providers and alternative caregivers.
*** In some cases, this live scan may be requested for adult residents living on the property of applicants going through the adoption approval process.