The home of Pizza Hut, Graham crackers, and helium is a beautiful place to live. And, with its lush prairies and rambling parks, Kansas is also a great place to raise a family. If you have ever thought about adoption in Kansas, now is the perfect time to start.
Adoption in Kansas though Foster Care
Adoption through foster care is fairly inexpensive. It is usually less than $3,600 in legal and home study fees. In addition, the state of Kansas will reimburse adopting families up to $2,000 per child with special needs, which includes children that are over 12 or part of a larger sibling group.
There are currently over 500 children who are already available for adoption in the Kansas foster care system. It includes children of all ages, races, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds. The majority of those children already free for adoption are school-aged (around 8 years old,) part of a sibling group of three or more, or have special developmental needs.
Parents wishing to adopt a younger child or infant through the foster care system will most likely not be able to find one who is already available for adoption. You may ask to foster a younger child who is more likely to become available for adoption in the future. The state of Kansas has a dual-licensing program, which will enable you to become certified as a foster parent and adoptive parent at the same time.
Your caseworker may be able to identify and match you with a child who has a higher chance of becoming available for adoption. However, there is no guarantee that the child or children will become adoptable. If this is too great a risk for you to take, you may want to consider adopting through a domestic agency or private lawyer.
Children in foster care or adopted through foster care in Kansas receive health insurance through a state or federal program. They may also be eligible for a monthly subsidy based upon their child’s needs, community resources, and support services. The amount and type of the subsidy is negotiated between the adopting family and the Department for Children and Families. It is legally binding and continues until the child turns 18—or 21 in some cases.
Becoming a foster parent in Kansas is considered voluntary. There is, however, a stipend of $20 a day per child to help meet the child’s basic needs such as food, clothing, and childcare.
If you are a Kansas resident interested in adopting through foster care, you can begin by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of adoption agencies that can help you prepare for adoption. If you are not interested in becoming a foster parent, make sure the adoption agency you choose works with adopt-only homes.
Your adoption agency’s application process will involve a TIPPS-MAPP training class, verification of employment, background checks, health checks, reference checks, and a review of your financial plan and budget.
There will be a home inspection that is nothing to worry about. Just make sure your house is very clean that day! The social worker will ask questions about your parenting style, life experiences, sense of family, expectations for your child, community support, and information about the age, gender, and needs of the type of child you would prefer to adopt.
After you are approved to become an adoptive parent, you can begin working with your agency’s social worker to find a matching child. If you would like to become licensed as a foster parent as well, your application will be submitted to the Kansas Department of Health and Human Environment (KDHE) for your foster license.
You can continue to search on the Adopt Kansas Kids website to find a child who is a good fit. If you take an interest in a child or children, you can have your caseworker send your home study to the child’s caseworker to see if it is a match.
If you are selected, you will be invited to participate in a Best Interest Staffing, which is a meeting of all the professionals involved with a child to officially select adoptive parents for the child. You will be able to meet with the child’s teachers, social workers, and counselors in order to get all the information you can about the child.
Your adoption will be legalized in less than 12 months. During this time, you will continue to receive services and visits from your caseworker.
If you are a non-Kansas resident who is interested in a child on the Adopt Kansas website, you should complete the adoption approval process in your home state first. Once approved, you should check to see if the child you are interested in is available for interstate adoption. This may be indicated on the website. Adoption.com has a wonderful photolisting page where you can review the profiles of children who live in Kansas and those who live outside the state as well.
If you are not interested in any particular child, you can have your social worker register you on the Adopt Kansas website. If a child’s caseworker thinks that you will be a good fit for a particular child or children, you will be contacted.
If a match is made, you will be asked to participate in a Best Interest Staffing for the child. You will be able to review all of the child’s information as presented by those closest to them.
Finally, an Interstate Compact for Placement of Children (ICPC) will begin, in which you will decide on the time that the child will come live with you. Your adoption will be legalized up to 12 months later.
Adoption in Kansas through a Private Agency
Adoption in Kansas is different through a private agency. You can adopt a baby or toddler who is already available for adoption, so the risk involved in fostering a child is eliminated.
There are many private agencies that work with Kansas families, including Adoption & Beyond, Zoe’s House Adoption Agency, and ANA Adoptions. You will be asked to complete a home study, which involves a background check, evaluation of your physical and mental health, home inspection, and financial review. Many private agencies now also require families to create a website, online profile, or picture book highlighting your family’s home, interests, and pets. These are designed to help birth mothers choose the best fit for their infant.
Private agency adoption in Kansas can cost between $20,000 and $35,000. Many families offset this cost through the federal adoption tax credit of $13,810 per child. This is a way that you can be reimbursed for adoption-related expenses in the form of income taxes that you will not have to pay after the adoption is finalized. The expenses that qualify include home study fees, legal fees, birth mother expenses, and travel. The state of Kansas also offers a state-level adoption tax credit of up to 75% of the federal adoption tax credit.
Many adoptive parents also receive employer assistance for adoption. You can apply for adoption grants as well.
Adoption in Kansas through a Lawyer
Adopting privately through a lawyer is slightly less expensive than using an agency. It usually costs somewhere between $15,000 and $25,000 including home study fees, lawyer fees, and birth mother expenses. The federal and state adoption tax credits also apply toward private lawyer adoption.
When using a lawyer, the adoptive family is a bit more involved in the process of locating birth mothers than they are with an adoption agency. They may have to receive phone calls from prospective birth mothers or place ads in local newspapers.
Infants can be adopted through a lawyer, and the level of “openness” is negotiated with the birth mother beforehand. In most cases, there is an exchange of text messages, emails, or letters on birthdays or other occasions to update the birth mother on the child’s progress.
The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproductive Attorneys is a good place to start looking for a reputable adoption lawyer. These professionals have distinguished themselves by completing at least 50 adoptions each, including 10 interstate adoptions. There are currently 9 AARA attorneys in the state of Kansas.
If you are ready to begin pursuing adoption in Kansas, get ready for an exciting adventure. Whether you choose foster care adoption, agency adoption, or private lawyer adoption, you can begin to prepare to make a home for a child whose life will be forever changed by your love.
Visit Adoption.com’s photolisting page for children who are ready and waiting to find their forever families. For adoptive parents, please visit our Parent Profiles page where you can create an incredible adoption profile and connect directly with potential birth parents.