Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible to adopt?


Marital Status: - Legally married couples or single individuals are able to adopt in Utah. - Single parents must not be in a cohabiting relationship. Income: - You must be above the federal poverty line. - Your financial stability will be assessed individually. Age: - You must be a legal adult. - You must be at least ten years older than your adoptive child. Physical Health: - You must be medically able to handle the day-to-day rigors of childcare. - You must have a sufficient life expectancy to raise a child. Mental Health: - Your mental health must be currently stable. - A therapist's letter may be required regarding any past treatment for mental illness. - Addictions will be assessed. Background Screening: - You must be able to pass a Utah criminal history screening. - You must be able to pass a DCFS child abuse background screening. - You must be able to pass an FBI criminal history screening. Parenting: - You must be providing for the needs of any children currently in your home. - You must be honoring any obligations to children from previous relationships. Home: You may rent or own your home. You must have a clean and safe environment for a child.




What is the international adoption process?


The first step in an international adoption is to identify the country from which you would like to adopt. Requirements, costs, and timelines vary from country to country, and international adoption home studies are written specific to the county you have chosen. You can read about international adoption programs for each country here. The next step is to choose your primary provider international adoption agency. As UAS is not an adoption agency, we cannot be your primary provider. You can view a list of accredited primary providers here, and search for one that has a program for the country you have chosen. Your primary provider agency will likely be outside the state of Utah, so UAS can then step in as an exempted provider to provide your home study. Once you have selected your primary provider adoption agency, ask them if they accept home studies from exempted providers. If they do, UAS can provide your home study! We would then complete the home study process with you. After your home study is completed, you will work with your primary provider agency to submit your study and dossier to USCIS for approval, and then to the regulatory body in the country you have chosen. Once approved by each government, you will await a match with a waiting child. Once matched, it is usually several more months before you are able to travel to the country to bring your child home. International adoptions involve a lot of red tape, and families pursuing this option need to be very patient. The process can be long and expensive. It typically takes a couple years before you will receive a match, and each country's timeline is different.




Open vs. Closed Adoption?


Openness encompasses the exchange of information between the adoptive family and the birth parents. Openness is a range, with many different levels of contact. Even placements within the same adoptive family may have different levels of openness with the children’s individual birth families. We believe that all parties in an adoption are best-suited when expectations for openness are clearly discussed and agreed upon before the child is placed. Benefits of Open Adoptions Benefits for Your Adopted Child: Openness can help establish a sense of identity and ethnic heritage for your adopted child, and can also help them understand the story behind their adoption. It also increases the number of people who love and care for them in their lives. Benefits for You: Openness promotes understanding, respect, and compassion for your child’s birth parents and can provide you with important resources to answer your child’s questions. Access to their medical history and other information can make it easier to take better care of your child throughout their life. Benifits for Your Child’s Birth Family: For birth families, having contact with the adoptive family can promote a sense of peace with their decision and reduce anxiety about how their birth child is doing. It creates a supportive relationship in their life, and allows them to see the development and progress of the child. Openness also allows you to show the birth family a level of respect, thankfulness, and understanding.




What is a home study?


A home study is a legal document required by the courts in order to complete your adoption. It is prepared by a licensed social worker and is a summary of your suitability to adopt. It covers many aspects of your life, including your mental and physical health, financial background, education and employment history, your childhood and relationship with your family of origin, your current family lifestyle and relationship stability, parenting skills, criminal history, adoption preparation, and other applicable topics. Your home study will likely be between 12-15 pages when complete, and will be valid for 1 year from the date of approval. You must have a current home study at the time of placement and/or finalization, depending on the state where your child's placement occurs. When you complete your home study through Utah Adoption Specialists, you own this document and can use it for private or agency adoptions. You will have a signed copy and can send it any agencies or attorneys of your choice. Your home study is confidential. UAS will never release your home study to anyone without your approval. The only people who are required to view your home study are your attorney, the judge, and ICPC administrators if your placement is out of state. Birth parents will not view your home study. UAS home studies will not be valid for foster care placements, or the placement of any child in the custody of a state. Luckily, foster care home studies are completed through the state and are free. Many couples complete both a private adoption home study as well as a foster care study if they are interested in both avenues of adoption. International adoption home studies are more complex and include additional information, depending on the requirements of the country from which you are trying to adopt.




What is the home study process?


The home study process consists of a series of interviews with a caseworker, submission of several documents, and a home visit. One of our experienced caseworkers will be there to guide you through the entire process. To get started with a home study, contact us to request an Application Packet. When you are ready to start your home study, return your completed Application Packet. Once we receive these documents, we will schedule a time to conduct an initial interview by phone. During this interview we will answer any additional questions and establish your adoption eligibility. Upon completion of this interview, you will pay the home study fee. Once your fee has been received, your caseworker will send you the Final Packet, which has forms for you, your employers, and your doctors to complete. When all of your paperwork is completed and turned in to your caseworker, we will conduct interviews and a home visit. We interview everyone residing in your home, including each applicant, any roommates, and any children you may have. We will also conduct a safety inspection of your home. After the home visit, we will have enough information to complete your Home Study Summary. Your caseworker will compile all of the information gathered into a written document and you will receive a copy when it is complete. At your request, we can also send this document to any attorney, child placing agency, or profile hosting website of your choice.




Private vs. Agency Adoption?


In a private adoption, hopeful adoptive parents hire a social worker to complete their home study and provide supportive services (casework). Families match independently in a private adoption through various means, such as profile hosting websites, social media, and word-of mouth. Once matched, the adoptive parent hires a social worker to provide pre and post placement counseling to the expectant/birth parents and hires an attorney to facilitate the legal aspects of the adoption. Private adoptions are typically significantly more cost-effective than agency adoptions. In an agency adoption, an adoptive family hires an agency to facilitate all aspects of their adoption. The agency has the ability to match adoptive parents with expectant parents. They will also provide all of the casework, counseling, and legal services.




Do you require adoption education/training?


Yes! We require every adoptive family we work with to complete some form of adoption training. You can choose to complete this online through a separate company, read from a selection of approved books about adoption, or attend our in-person adoption training classes that we offer twice a year. We always highly recommend attending our in-person training classes if you are able. They are the best way to learn how to make private adoption work for you. Online trainings or reading books can help learn about many aspects of adoption, but will not offer practical training on finding your own match. Our in-person training classes are held on a Friday evening and a Saturday morning/afternoon, and you will receive 10 hours of training. These include classes taught by professionals, and panels of adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents. Register for our next adoption training conference today!




Are there any community support groups for adoptive parents?


Yes! UAS sponsors a free adoptive couple support group that meets monthly throughout the year, alternating between in-person and virtual meetings. Follow UAS on social media to hear about the activity/topic for each month's group. These groups are organized by a volunteer board of adoptive parents who have been in your shoes, and the goal is to create a community of adoptive parents who can support one another and be a resource for each other. This group is open to all adoptive couples in the community who are interested in participating! UAS also sponsors an Adoption and Infertility support group through the Utah Infertility Resource Center. If you are needing support coping with infertility while learning more about adoption, this group is a great free resource for you.