The state of Kentucky is has about 7,000 children who live outside of their own home, based on statistics from the Adoption Exchange Association (AEA). Some of these children are newborns and are available for adoption. The Kentucky Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) oversees all adoptions in Kentucky, but both private and state agencies facilitate adoptions. Costs vary among the private agencies and the state program is free. Court fees may be reimbursed by the state.
Determine if you meet the criteria for adoption. You must be at least 21 years of age, financially stable and in good physical and mental health, and you must offer a suitable home. Financial stability is based on having an income adequate for your family. Through Kentucky's Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the child you adopt may be eligible for financial subsidy.
Contact the AEA through its website or by phone at 877-994-9970. This organization assists you with the adoption process regardless of what agency you decide to use. Contact the state directly at 800-928-4303 or 800-432-9346. A list of private adoption agencies is available through the Office of the Inspector General at 502-564-7962.
Attend an informal meeting for an overview of the adoption process, including all of the pre-adoption steps required. Meetings are held in various regions, including Lakes, Jefferson, Two Rivers, Northern and Southern Blue Grass, Salt River Trail, Northeast, Eastern Mountain and Cumberland.
Consent to an evaluation. The size and safety of your home will be considered, as well as the health and stability of your family. Only a state Recruitment and Certification (R&C) worker from DCBS or a representative of a private adoption agency licensed in Kentucky may conduct a home study.
Complete 30 hours of training and the paperwork designed to prepare you for what is involved in adoption. The intent of this step is to make an educated decision on whether adopting a newborn is right for you and your family. The training often coincides with the family and home evaluations.
Wait for the final report from a social worker for a state agency adoption. Approval from the state is not guaranteed. Expect a six- to nine-month time frame for completion of all the training and approval, even if you adopt through a private agency.
Prepare your home for the arrival of a child, but be expect a wait if you only want to adopt a newborn. The majority of children waiting for adoption in Kentucky are over the age of 11. Working with a private agency may speed up the process. DCBS also conducts adoptions of children who are considered "special needs," whether for a physical or mental disability. Some of these children may be newborns.
Contact your social worker or other community resources with any questions, concerns or issues that arise, even after a child has been placed in your home. Request "Kentucky's Adoption Assistance Handbook for Parents" from an R&C worker. Kentucky also has dozens of support groups and a mentor program for adoptive parents. AEA's website features their contact information.