Individuals and couples who are considering adoption can do so through the Indiana foster care system. This program, which the Indiana Department of Child Services administers, primarily seeks to find homes for children and sibling groups ages eight to 16.

If you want to expand your family through adoption and are open to adopting an older child, these are the necessary steps to begin.

Become licensed as a foster parent

First, prospective adoptive parents must seek state foster parent licensing through their county of residence. You must do the following:

  • Complete the county application packet
  • Attend 16 hours of foster parent training
  • Successfully pass Child Protective Services and criminal background checks
  • Complete the home study program as required by your county

Adoptive parents can be single or married, gay or straight. You can have other children in the home or be first-time parents. Although you must be able to provide for the child, you do not need to meet specific income requirements.

Match with a child

When you receive approval as an adoptive parent, the state caseworker assigned to your family will seek children in the foster care system who are a good match for your family. You can also search the state’s database of children who are available for adoption.

When a successful match occurs, you will meet with the child and the state will proceed with the placement. This usually includes several pre-placement visits before the child comes to live in your home.

Finalize the adoption

During the first 30 days, you will meet with the child’s caseworker supervising the case. He or she is responsible for ensuring that the child’s needs are met. After this supervisory period ends, the caseworker will recommend that the courts finalize the adoption, which requires a hearing.

The process of adopting a child from foster care in Indiana usually takes six to nine months. Though this wait can seem significant, you are laying the necessary foundation to grow your family for a lifetime.