Asia Pacific International Adoption Forum
Standards of Practice THE ADOPTIVE PARENTS
Prospective adoptive parents must be subject to an investigation concerning their suitability to adopt using appropriately trained and authorised personnel. The organisation has a responsibility towards the child to be adopted as well as towards the child's representative in his or her country of origin concerning the prospective adoptive parents and their suitability to care for an adopted child. Homestudy and placement agencies will provide accurate and complete information on adoptive parents to other agencies involved in the placement and to officials at home and abroad.
As child advocates, organisations will thoroughly assess the suitability and eligibility of prospective parents using trained, appropriate and licensed personnel, with the understanding that some clients may not be suitable candidates for an international adoption, for a particular type of international adoption, or for the challenges inherent in the adoption of children with special needs. This suitability and eligibility will be openly stated in the Homestudy document. Homestudy and placement agencies shall be knowledgeable of and in compliance with the eligibility requirements of the countries to which their clients are applying.
The organisation must see to it that the prospective adoptive parents receive adequate preparation for the adoption. This preparation should be organised either by the adoption organisation themselves or by other competent organisations and will include information about the legal, medical, emotional and cultural issues which affect all adoptions, as well as information about the uncertainties and risks inherent in any international adoption.
The Organisation must Develop procedures and practices which are respectful of clients, whether or not they result in the outcome the client desires. Provide adoptive parents with full and accurate disclosure about programs including the projected waiting times, the risks and uncertainties inherent to a particular program and the nature of the agency's relationship with other organizations involved in the placement. Provide disclosure statements about all agency fees and payment schedules, including those of it representatives, along with information about anticipated additional expenses so that clients will know the full estimated costs of the adoption. Provide as complete, accurate and objective information as possible about children who are eligible for adoption so that families can make informed decisions about the appropriateness of a particular placement. They will disclose all information that is obtained to prospective parents and provide written information which will include all available medical, social, psychological, developmental and legal information. Knowing that social, medical and developmental information is often limited and confusing, encourage families to seek professional help in evaluating medical information and make available listings of resources, including health personnel who specialize in international adoption child referral information. Provide clients with a reasonable period of time to make their decision and support them in whatever decision they make, within the framework of the relevant legislation. A reasonable period of time is to be not less than 1 week from receipt of all referral information, whenever possible. Help clients prepare for the adoption by ensuring that families receive professional and contracted support services when they travel to receive their child, or approved escorting services to bring the child to their home. Inform prospective adoptive parents of the progress of their adoption case as well as the reason for their application being refused, if this is the case.
The organisation must See to it that prospective adoptive parents complete the adoption as soon as possible, apply for new citizenship for the child and submit reports in accordance with the requirements of the child's country of origin. See to it that pending the completion of the adoption process, the child is financially protected by adoptive parents wills, insurance, legal guardians etc. Provide ongoing post adoption services, or information about local and national services, educational opportunities and support to adoptive families. Be available to provide services to parents and children in the event of adoption disruptions, or other circumstances where a child is at risk. Ensure that systems are set up and adhered to regarding the post placement reporting requirements of sending and receiving countries. When asked, provide information on the legal process for searching for background and birth family information in the sending country and provide any information in its possession that will aid and assist in a search and direct a family to available counselling resources.
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