Are you thinking of adopting a child?
Youth Villages is a private, nonprofit organization that provides adoption services for special needs children in Tennessee.
Adopting a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Our adoption program is available to assist you and your family before, during and after the adoption process.
Adoption is very different today. Most children waiting for permanent homes in the United States are older and have what are called “special needs.”
The following list of frequently asked questions will provide you with answers to some of your questions about adopting special needs children.
What does “children with special needs” mean?
- Children having special needs are:
- Brothers and sisters who need to be adopted into the same home
- Children of a minority or mixed race age 5 or older
- Caucasian children age 9 or older
- Children of any race or age who have been the victims of severe abuse, or demonstrate physical, emotional or behavior difficulties
- Children of any race or age who are HIV positive.
Who are the Youth Villages’ children waiting for adoption?
Youth Villages’ children are like other children in our neighborhoods, our schools and our communities. They have the same basic need for love, guidance and structure. They all need families that they can call their own.
These children are of all ages. They may have emotional, physical, or learning disabilities or developmental delays. There are brothers and sisters who need to stay together when placed for adoption.
Many are victims of abuse, neglect or were abandoned. Forty-five percent of the children available for adoption are African American; 33% are Caucasian and the remainder is mixed race, Hispanic or other.
You can view profiles of some of our children waiting for adoption here.
Who can adopt?
Single persons or married couples can apply to be adoptive parents. Adoptive parents should have income sufficient to meet their own expenses and needs. A medical statement or report showing the parent’s physical ability to care for a child is required.
Couples or singles who successfully complete adoptive parent training and have a positive home study will be registered with REACT (Resource Exchange for Adoptable Children in Tennessee) for a match with available children. It is important that a family be willing to make a life-long commitment to a child needing a permanent home.
Families from states other than Tennessee must meet the eligibility requirements of their state and be approved by a licensed agency in their state of residency. Adoptions across state lines are accomplished through the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children.
What will it cost to adopt?
Youth Villages charges no fees for adoption home studies, training or support services. Most of our children are eligible for adoption assistance subsidies that help to provide for a child’s care after the adoption. This assistance also helps to pay for the attorney’s fees and other adoption costs.
Are adopted children covered by the family’s health insurance?
TennCare, a state supported insurance program, meets medical needs of children in Youth Villages’ Adoption Program. Adopted children can be enrolled on the adoptive family’s health insurance or adoptive parents can apply for TennCare on behalf of their adopted child.
What is a home study?
A home study is an assessment of the adoptive home. It includes medical and financial statements, background checks and individual interviews. If a prospective adoptive family has children already residing in their home, the children are interviewed as to their feelings and opinions about another child becoming part of their family. All of this is compiled into a narrative form that describes the adoptive family and the type of child that could be adopted by them.
How long does a home study take?
The process from application to a completed home study will take from two to six months. Adoptive parents can speed the process along by providing documentation and references in a timely manner.
The prospective adoptive parents provide applications, verifications, medical statements, releases, and names of references. We conduct criminal background checks, contact references, visit the prospective adoptive parents’ home and individually interview the family.
Where are the children while waiting to be adopted?
Youth Villages’ children waiting for permanent homes are living in foster homes or group homes.
Why are these children in foster homes or group homes?
They are in temporary homes because their parents or guardians are unable or unwilling to care for them. Some parents have personal or family problems that make it impossible for them to care for their children. Some of the children who are waiting have been abused, neglected or abandoned.
Can a child’s biological parents come back and take a child after it has been adopted? No. Children available for adoption through Youth Villages are legally available for adoption because their biological parents’ parental rights have been completely terminated by a formal court procedure.
How does foster care differ from adoption?
Foster care is considered to be a temporary placement for a child while his or her parents are working to regain custody. When a child’s birth parents are unable to make the necessary changes in their lives to regain custody, the child is made legally available to be adopted by another family.
After a child is placed for adoption, how long does it take before the adoption is finalized?
A Petition for Adoption must be on file for six months before a Final Order for Adoption is issued. The waiting period can be waived if the child has lived in the adoptive home for six consecutive months before or after the Adoption Petition has been filed.
What is Youth Villages’ part in the adoption process?
Youth Villages provides training for prospective adoptive parents, prepares a written home study of the adoptive family and registers them with REACT. We also prepare the children for adoption. We match waiting children with adoptive homes and provide general information about possible matching children to prospective adoptive parents.
After a family and child are matched, we facilitate the placement of the child in the adoptive home through the sharing of written information, face to face visits between the child and family and ongoing support for both the child and the family. We also assist with filing legal documents and obtaining adoption assistance or subsidies to help defray the fees associated with adoption. Youth Villages provides the court with a report on the adoptive home. We also provide ongoing support services for the child and family after the adoption is final.