Sunday, July 09, 2000

Adoption requirements and numbers




        Sixty-five children are available for adoption in Hamilton County. They range in age from 6 to 16. Seven are white, 58 are African-American. Twenty-eight are female, 37 are male.

        Adoption officials weigh a number of factors when reviewing would-be parents, says Mindy Good, spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Department of Human Services.

        • Parents must be older than 18, but can be single or married.

        • Race, religion, nationality, gender and income are not factors in whether someone can become an adoptive parent.

        • Parents must undergo 36 hours of training to learn about the special needs of some children. The home must pass a safety test.

        • Parents must be fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background check to determine if they have a history of criminal behavior or child abuse or neglect. If there are birth children in the home, parents are asked to sign a document confirming those children have no juvenile court history.

        • Parents are asked to discuss how they were raised and what their attitudes are toward discipline.

        • A credit check is conducted to determine that the child would be in a financially stable home.

        • Everyone in the adoptive home must undergo a medical exam.

        The most favorable prospective parent is someone who enjoys being a parent and wants to be a better parent, Ms. Good says. The parent must be able to accept the adopted child's history and be willing to ask for help if needed.

        — Marie McCain

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