Getting Ready for a Domestic Adoption During the COVID Crisis
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a record number of families beginning the adoption process. More people are taking the time to think about what they want for the future and are taking steps towards achieving their adoption goals. However, COVID-19 has changed quite a few things about the domestic adoption process, so it is important to be fully prepared.
Decide Between Private and Foster Care Adoptions
If you are just getting started on the adoption journey, your first step needs to be talking with a New Jersey adoption attorney and examining your options for domestic adoption in New Jersey. You can adopt through the foster system. You can also go with a private adoption where an agency guides you through the process. Before making your choice, call several organizations to see how they are handling adoptions during COVID-19. Some agencies may be easier to work with right now since the government is overloaded.
Get Ready for Your Adoption Assessment and Home Study
In most regions, home studies have become a video call with your social worker. Preparing for an adoption home study often involves cleaning the home, creating a bedroom for the new child, and gathering all relevant documents. For COVID adoption studies, you need to make sure you have a scanner so that you can send important documents. Invest in a quality video camera so that you can show your home clearly. If you are using your child’s future bedroom as a home office, go ahead and clear it before the call so that there will not be concerns about the home’s suitability.
Have Childcare Plans Ready After COVID-19
Most adoption agencies want to confirm that you are prepared to handle a child both during and after the COVID-19 crisis. The biggest way this can affect adoption approval is with child care. Agencies may be wary of parents who just assume that they can continue to work remotely indefinitely. You need to make sure you have a way of giving a child appropriate care even if you have to go back to working on-site.
Address Changes to Your Employment Status
If you are currently unemployed because of COVID-19, it might be tempting to just ignore it and hope that the situation resolves itself. However, most organizations require prospective parents to alert them to any major changes in the parents’ situation. If you have a change in employment or living situation after you are approved for adoption, you need to be up front with the agency.
Make Sure You Have a Way of Travelling to Meet Your Child
If your prospective child is far away from your hometown, you need to think about how COVID-19 will affect travel plans. It is no longer as simple as just flying to pick them up. Instead, with adoption during COVID, you may need to prepare for long drives and find hotels that are still open. Some prospective parents have turned to RVs as a solution. This can help reduce coronavirus exposure because it limits the need for stopping at hotels and restaurants.
File Your Court Petition As Soon As Possible
In any type of domestic adoption, you have to file an official complaint for adoption with the court after about six months. Figuring out the timing for this during the pandemic can be tricky, so you may want to consult with a New Jersey adoption attorney. Right now, there is a big backlog of cases in family courts. Therefore, you should file as soon as you can so that you have less of a wait ahead of you.
With just a little extra planning and preparation, it is still possible to adopt even during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions, Cofsky & Zeidman is here to help. Our Haddonfield team is working from home and setting up remote consultations, so it is easy to get the assistance you need. To get more information, call 856-429-5005 or fill out our online contact form.