Friday, October 21, 2011

Conference 8046

On Thursday, October 27th, 2011 at Battle Creek Church in Broken Arrow, OK a collaboration of churches and the Office of Faith Based Initiatives will host Conference 8046. A movement to get churches involved in supporting local orphans. In January 2011, 8046 were in states custody. For information about the Conference click HERE . Also please take time to hear from the mouth of an Oklahoma orphan...and her finding her forever family by clicking HERE. There are too many children in Oklahoma Shelters and Foster Homes. Going does not mean you have to adopt or foster, but you should participate in SOME way in the life of a child. So far only 170 have registered to attend in the Tulsa County area. Everyone is welcome. It is entirely free all you have to do is register (Click HERE to do so).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

DHS Waiting Child...

Today I found the new website for Oklahoma's Waiting Child. I have been sitting here for about an hour staring at Elmer, tears streaming down my face. He is the waiting child of the month. He is beautiful. I am wondering when he will find his family. HERE is a link to the website. Take a look at Elmer....I can't stop looking at him! I also found a neat "thing" we have here in Oklahoma. It is called the Waiting Child Heart Gallery. HERE is the link to the Tour Schedule so that when the Waiting Child Heart Gallery is near you - you can go visit!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Education on the Adoption Tax Credit

Hey guys! Your accountant doesn't know what to do on your behalf if you don't tell them. Read this quick article to educate yourself on the Adoption Tax Credit. It takes about twenty to thirty minutes to read, and it could make you some quick cash! I had a client who thought she could claim '0' on her tax returns. Now she is claiming the entire $13,000 + because of what she learned in this short article! So please, for your sake - and for the sake of your pocket book! READ THIS

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Adoption and Foster Care Symposium

You are invited to an Adoption and Foster care Symposium
Saturday November 6 from 10 30 am until 3 30 pm
Hosted by Hope Ministries at
Crosspointe Church
2601 24th Ave SE (just off Hwy 9)
Norman, OK

The symposium will feature speakers from International, Domestic and DHS adoptions as well as Foster Care information. Lunch and childcare is provided for those attending. A donation of a new article of childrens clothing is suggested, but not required, and will be used to provide for children in emergency foster care situations. This symposium is a one-stop-shopping spot for those families considering either fostering or adopting, with experts in a variety of adoption related fields answering questions in breakout sessions and an Information Fair.

Please RSVP to either or our facebook event page (use the email address to find us on Facebook). We need to know who needs childcare and need a headcount for lunch! If you have any other questions, please contact La Deana Roberts @ 630-7600

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Adoption Option Number 2

Okay, so the second option for adoption in Oklahoma is by using an adoption agency. I feel like I could seriously write a book about this, so I will try and touch on the important things!

The agency works as an advocate for both the adoptive family and birth parent wanting to choose placement for their child. The agency counsels both the birth parents and adoptive parents before the actual adoption takes place. Most agencies have some sort of training and also an application process.

The cost for using an agency in Oklahoma can be anywhere from $3,500-$25,000. Usually this amount is paid over the course of the adoption with a large amount paid after placement. They are so smart waiting until you have your sweet something in your arms to then ask for the big bucks! And can I tell you, IT'S SO WORTH IT! I have never been more excited to write such a big check...but you've got your bundle of love in your arms and you've experienced one of God's most amazing miracles of adoption! Well talk more about cost later...
The hardest part to starting this process is to choose your agency. A good place to start is the website for the Oklahoma Adoption Coalition linked on the right of our blog. They have a list of placing agencies. I would encourage you to ask around and talk to friends who have adopted that could give you advice. When you are looking online, you can generally tell if the agency has the same agenda as you. Are they a Christian agency or do they share the same beliefs? What do they offer birth parents as far as counseling and support? Is the counseling free? If so, for how long? I got frustrated because one agency said they do offer counseling but it was half price for the birth parent. Another agency said they offer free counseling, but when I asked for how long it was only until 2 months after placement. What? This is something that birth mothers will deal with off and on for years...2 months is an insult (but I guess it's better than half price?)! Make sure that your agency has a good handle on respect of birth parents and that there is no coercing going on to place the child. The agency should never bring up adoption unless the parent is seeking placement or information on placement.

When you are researching agencies think about your new child and family. What are you going to need as far as support in 5-10 years. Does this agency provide any kind of post-adoption care for the family and child? Do they have get togethers, seminars, support groups, classes, camps?

It's so easy when starting this process to focus on placement and feeling the need for it to happen as quickly, care free and cheap as possible... Remember there is a reason that adoption costs money, the agency does a lot of terribly hard work and they need to be paid just like any other hard working individual. The cost in adoption falls on those that can pay and that have resources...the adoptive family. So if you need to think about it this way, keep your focus that you are helping your child's birth parent survive this. This is the most painful thing that a person will go through in their life, choosing placement for their child. It takes a lot of support to survive it.

There can be grants available for funding if that is a problem. Some agencies have those grants available for "hard to place" babies (African American, exposures to drugs, alcohol, etc). Some agencies allow for donations to be made for a specific adopting couple that are tax deductible. Check with your church. Several churches are starting adoption ministries that will help grant money to pay for adoptions. Most any couple you talk to about how they afford adoption will tell you that God made it happen. There are miracles left and right about how God works it out! Take a leap of faith!
Generally speaking, domestic adoption in Oklahoma can be rather quick. Wait time from "ready" to placement can be two weeks to two years. This usually depends on what specifics you have placed on the child you are open to (race, exposures, open/closed adoption, etc.). Most agencies allow for the birth parent to pick the adoptive family. There usually is no "match" like in international adoption.

Most agencies encourage some degree of open adoption. This could be anything from pictures and updates twice a year to visits, phone calls, emails on a monthly basis. Most of the time agencies still encourage some confidentiality, so there aren't visits at homes or baby sitting and such. People always ask me that, so that is why I addressed what "open" can mean! Having an open adoption is not legally binding. The adoption is still complete/final, but there is a written agreement of contact between the birth parent and adoptive parent. Most of the time this agreement fluctuates as the relationship grows and changes. The adoptive parent and the birth parent can choose what they want their adoption to look like as far as openness. I will have to devote a whole post to open adoption...I could go on and on here!

After a child is placed in your home, the birth parent sets a court date to relinquish rights. After this is complete the child is really in legal custody of the agency and the family is more like foster care. For the next 6 months you have home studies, interviews and check ups to make sure the child is safe and thriving in the new family. Once this period has lapsed the agency releases you to legally adopt the child. Now you take your attorney and get a court date set for finalization! The only hard waiting time is from leaving the hospital with your baby to the court date for the birth parents rights. Once this has been completed, you can rest easy praying that you can pass the interviews! Ha!

Hope this has been helpful. Please post any questions or comments so that we can address anything that I have missed!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Adoption Option, Number 1

In the next few days, or weeks, we are going to give you the Adoption Options as they stand in Oklahoma. So today, the first option available to families, is through the Department of Human Services. To make it simple and to the point. There are mainly two ways in which you may adopt children through DHS.

The first way to adopt a child through the Department of Human Services (hereinafter DHS) is to foster children. Click HERE to find out how to become a foster parent. The good side of this is that you do not have to pay to become a foster parent, in fact, you are paid to foster children in the State of Oklahoma. In addition, the children will have their own health insurance, DHS will pay for daycare if it is needed, and you will receive a monthly stipend. The downside to this, you have DHS in your home, you are restricted in your parenting methods (such as discipline) and you MUST take a training course, which is about seven weeks. But again, I must point is biblical, and it is FREE. In addition, if the child placed in your home becomes eligible for adoption, the legal services finalizing the adoption are paid for by OKDHS. Therefore, this is really the only FREE method of adoption in Oklahoma.

The second way is to apply to adopt a "waiting child". These children are typically older children, mixed races, sibling groups or special needs. But wonderful, beautiful, loving little creations that need a home and a forever family. Click HERE on how to adopt through DHS. The only expense to the family is the medical exam that each family member must have prior to finalization. Click HERE to see some of the precious children right here in Oklahoma, waiting on a family.

So that is lesson number one on adoption options....please ask questions and check back for updates and answers to those questions.
***It was brought to my attention that you may have to pay for a physical which costs approximately $50. You will incur this cost!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oklahoma Statistics.....

In Oklahoma, we are never forced to face the facts. Here are some hard facts that came from a recent audit done of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS). Although DHS does the best that it can with the resources available. Following are some recent (2007) statistics. Here are the top ten:

10. Only sixty (60) percent of children removed from their homes by the State are ever reunified with their parents.

9. In 2007 alone, 573 children aged out of the foster care system....and were never adopted.

8. Only 40% of children adopted from DHS are adopted from their foster care parents.

7. In 2007, 506 children who were waiting adoption had been in the system for MORE than five years.

6. The average age of a child adopted through DHS is 6.5 years old.

5. Eleven (11) percent of children are placed in permanent guardianship's, eight (8) percent age out of the system, Nineteen (19) percent of children are adopted and sixty (60) percent are reunified. The other two (2) percent of children either run away or die in foster care.

4. Forty-six (46) percent of children in foster care are adopted by their family.

3. Sadly, in Oklahoma, 20% of waiting children are African American while only 11% are being adopted, 15% of children are Hispanic while only 12% are being adopted, 22% are multiracial and only 16% are being adopted, 8% are native american and 11% are being adopted, and 35% of children are Caucasian and a staggering 49% are being adopted. Clearly Caucasian children are being preferred.

2. Once a child reaches the age of 9, the likelihood of being adopted drops significantly.

1. 4,628 foster children in Oklahoma are waiting to be adopted.

There is something that you can do. Call 1-866-512-2565.