The Destiny Design Program was developed to advocate for you, the family who desires to adopt from the child welfare system. There are 100,000 children in the U.S. foster care system waiting to be adopted. We guide you from how to adopt from foster care through to post-adoption support services.
Often, families find the child welfare system to be frustrating. “The system” advocates for the child, but advocacy for the adoptive family is rare. This is where our Destiny Design Program comes in, explaining the foster care adoption process and offering the following services:
We’ll take the journey with you each step of the way. We’ll help you identify a potential match and ensure the best match possible is made for you and the child.
After a match is made, the Destiny Design Program provides guidance and advocacy for you and your child through the transition period, working side by side with the child welfare system. A Destiny Design specialist will also provide you and the child with support services after the finalization process is complete.
There is a reasonable fee for the Destiny Design Program, however, in an effort to positively impact as many families as possible who wish to adopt from the foster care system, we’re happy to work with you on a payment plan.
There are more than 8,420 children in the Tennessee foster care system. Many are patiently awaiting adoption. If you think you may want to open your heart and home to one of these children, then there are a few things you need to know.
Before you set your heart on adopting a foster child in Tennessee, consider these basic requirements. You must:
· Be 21 years of age or older.
· Be a Tennessee resident.
· Complete the training program: Parents as Tender Healers (PATH).
· Have an approved home study.
· Demonstrate your ability to meet your family’s financial needs.
If you meet all the above requirements, chances are that you can adopt a foster child in Tennessee. Your marital status does not matter; you can be single, married or divorced. But the number of biological and adopted children within the family structure does matter. DCS limits the number of children within the home to a total of six, whether biological, adopted or foster. If a family already has six children, they must get a PER (Placement Exception Request) from the DCS Regional Administrator. Otherwise, DCS will deem the home overcrowded. (DCS Policy 16.4 and 16.46). It doesn’t matter if you are renting your home or you own it. As long as you can show financial stability, you should pass.
Generally, the families who are fostering children adopt them. Foster Parents are the first choice for the child’s permanency if the child has resided with them for at least a year and is available for adoption. (TN Foster Parent Bill of Rights). If you are not currently fostering a child in Tennessee, there are some basic steps to get started:
1. Contact your local Tennessee Foster Care Agency.
2. Complete the training program: Parents as Tender Healers (PATH).
3. Successfully complete a home visitation.
Once you have completed the above steps and have become a licensed foster-adoptive parent, your local foster care agency will begin contacting you about potential placements. Keep in mind that the children you foster might not be up for adoption in the future. You must care for them whether you can later adopt them or not.
When foster children do become eligible for adoption, their foster parents have the first chance to adopt them. After you decide you want to adopt your foster child, then you must go through the legal adoption process.
Tennessee Foster Care Adoption Process
If you want to become an “adopt-only” foster parent, instead of a “foster-to-adopt” foster parent,” the process is a bit different:
1. Complete the home visitation through a private, Tennessee-licensed adoption agency.
2. Find a child you would like to adopt.
3. Apply to adopt that child.
Once you are approved as an adoptive parent of that child, you will complete the training program: Parents as Tender Healers (PATH).
After you complete all required training and the child is been placed with you, you will begin the legal adoption process. This procedure will finalize the Tennessee foster care adoption.
Foster Child Adoption Assistance
Many prospective parents find it challenging to adopt through the foster care system. For this reason, we have created an assistance program called Destiny Design. Our experienced adoption professionals will help you through the entire process. We will help you find a match, advocate for you and offer posted option support. Read more about our Tennessee foster child adoption assistance program.
Contact Us Today
If you have any questions about the foster care adoption procedures, please feel free to contact us at Destiny Adoption Services. It is our privilege to assist adoptive families throughout this joyous process. Please call 865-392-6261 so that we can help you begin the process to grow your family.
Are you thinking about attending a Tennessee foster care matching event? These events are also called adoption meet-n-greets, foster care adoption recruitment and adoption activity days. Regardless of the name, they help adoptive families and adoptable children connect.
The idea is to put real children, rather than a stack of papers, in front of parents. The events provide a relaxed environment for both groups to get to know each other. They also give families a better understanding of the children who are in the foster care system.
Some people believe the events put too much pressure on the children. And the kids may feel like they are on display. But you can help the children feel more comfortable, as well as help remove some of the stigmas around these events.
Below are tips for families attending Tennessee foster care adoption matching events.
Try to relax and be authentic. Remember that the children are likely nervous, and they can sense your anxiety as well. When you are at ease, the kids are more comfortable. You also want to be genuine so that the children meet the “real” you. In turn, you want to meet the authentic child. If everyone is calm and relaxed, appropriate matches are more likely to happen.
Avoid asking probing and personal questions. Take this time to connect with the children and discover their personalities. The personal and sensitive information you want is likely in that stack of papers we mentioned earlier. These events are not appropriate for those inquiries.
Instead, ask questions that reveal characteristics of the child’s personality. Try, “What do you do for fun?” or “What is your favorite subject in school?”
Your questions should lead to more detailed inquiries. “So English is your favorite subject, do you have a favorite book?” or “Have you read the Harry Potter books? I love those.” These types of questions help the conversation progress naturally.
Be sure to include details about your family. Children may feel uncomfortable asking direct questions. So, you can drop personal information into the conversation when appropriate.
For example, you might say, “I love swimming too. There is a pool across the street from our house, and we go there every weekend in the summer.” Or perhaps, “It’s really cool that you love animals. We don’t have any pets right now, but we are thinking about getting a little dog soon.”
You can also open the conversation to allow the children to ask questions by saying, “It’s been great meeting you. Do you have any questions you’d like to ask us?”
Whatever you do, never imply to a child that you are going to adopt him. If you lead a child to believe they will be adopted, and things fall through, it will be a devastating blow. The kids know why they are at the event. They understand that you are considering them for adoption. You don’t need to mention this fact or give them any reason to believe you plan to adopt them. These events are only the beginning of the process. Even if you find a child you like, there is no guarantee the adoption will go through. So, wait until social workers say you can share your intention to adopt.
Many families find it difficult and frustrating to navigate adoption through the foster care system. We offer a unique program called “Destiny Design” to help families adopt through foster care. Our experienced adoption professionals guide you through the entire process. We help you find a match, advocate for you and provide post-adoption support. To learn more about our Tennessee foster care adoption assistance, please contact us at 865-392-6261.