Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to adopt?
Maybe not as long as you think. We can usually meet with you within a week or two of your first call for an orientation. The training and home study process can take as little as four to six weeks depending upon how diligently you get your paperwork done. Once the home study is approved, most families wait no more than 12 to 18 months before having a child identified or placed in their home.
Do I have to own my own home?
No. It is perfectly acceptable to rent an apartment or house. The important question is whether you have the space to provide a home for a child.
Do I have to have a certain amount of income or money saved?
There are no specific income or savings requirements to adopt or to be a foster parent. What we will look at is whether you have adequate income, savings, and other resources to successfully care for and raise a child. Some programs offer financial support to care for an adopted or foster child, and there are some tax credits that may be available to certain adoptive families. Your financial resources may make some programs more appropriate than others for you as you explore adoption opportunities.
Is there an age a limit?
Common Sense has no set age limits with regard to adoptive and foster parents. Some programs do impose age limits, but as long as you are a reasonably healthy adult who is able to provide a stable, permanent home for a child, there is probably a program that will work for you regardless of your age.
Do I have to be married?
No. Single adults, married couples, and adults in committed relationships are all acceptable adoptive and foster candidates. We will look at the length of time you have been in a relationship and how stable it appears. If you are single, we will help you explore what sort of additional supports you have to help in parenting.
What kind of classes do I have to take?
Training and education is recommended and usually required for certain adoption and foster programs. At Common Sense, we have found that requiring applicants to attend classes at the office is not the best way to achieve all of your training and educational goals. A few hours of onsite training is required for most families, but we can work with you to develop a specific learning plan that you can pursue at your own pace. Online classes, reading assignments, community training, and individual coaching can all contribute to the training that you will need. By working on individual, self-paced learning, we find that we can move the process forward more quickly for families and also make sure that each individual is learning specifically what they need in order to be successful in adoption and/or foster parenting.
What if I have a criminal record?
There are certain crimes that will prevent you from being permitted to adopt or foster. You may want to check with us to review a list of those crimes. Other crimes are not necessarily barriers to becoming an adoptive or foster parent, and you should discuss your entire history and current situation with your agency representative as you work to become an approved resource for a child.
Do I have to decide on an adoption or foster program before I get started?
No. A big part of our process is to help you decide which program is best for you. Our goal is to help applicants research the right program for them so as to be most successful. Regardless of whether you elect to foster a child or adopt privately or through the public system, we can work with you.
What geographic area do you serve?
Our office is located in Camp Hill, PA near Harrisburg. We serve families throughout central Pennsylvania, generally within a one-hour driving distance from our office. If you live farther away but there are no other agencies available to you, we can discuss options for providing service to you. Because we are licensed in Pennsylvania, we do not provide services to families living outside of PA.
How do I get started?
Call us at 717-412-0772 (toll-free 1-800-445-2444) or send an email to Contact@CommonSenseAdoption.org to set up a free orientation session with one of our adoption professionals.