What is Adoption?
When you adopt a child, you legally and emotionally accept a child not born to you into your family. Your adopted child has the same legal rights as a birth child and can bear your name. The adoption must be approved by a court of law. After it is approved, you will receive an official adoption decree and birth certificate with your name noted as the parent of your adopted child.
Who are the Children Available for Adoption?
Children become available for adoption for a number of reasons, including neglect or abuse. While many children available for adoption are generally healthy, some may have physical or behavioral challenges due to their past. In these cases, CYFD will provide additional medical or psychological help. Some children may need to re-live parts of their childhood, with their new adoptive parents as their guides. Some children experience conflicting emotions or grief over the loss of important people in their lives. They may have brothers and sisters. They are every race, age, and religion. All of these children have different talents, hopes and dreams. Most children are older and part of a sibling group. And, all of them deserve a loving family.
Children waiting to be adopted are in foster homes, group homes, or treatment centers. They are all in the legal custody of the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.
How are Children Matched with Families?
You can review any of the agency adoption sites to find a child who matches your family. A caseworker will tell you about him or her in detail before you are introduced. You will be given available medical, social, educational and developmental information. You should ask lots of questions, especially about what the child is good at, what is most difficult, and about previous relationships and attachments. Arrangements can then be made for you to meet and spend time with the child. There may be several visits, including some overnights and weekends, before your child comes to live with you permanently. Each child’s situation is different. Your experiences with visits and placement will vary depending on the child’s needs.
Some people go into the adoption process with a specific child already identified. It is important to understand, however, that the child may be placed with another family before your adoption study is complete. Final placement decisions are always made by the child’s social worker. Sometimes many families may be considered for the same child. In these cases, the case worker will try to provide the best “fit” between the child and prospective family by evaluating how the child’s needs can best be met.
To get started on your path to becoming a licensed foster parent, complete our easy online form.
Adoption subsidies are available for children with special needs. Federal subsidies were created by Congress (through Public Law 96-272—the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980) to encourage the adoption of special needs children and remove the financial disincentives to adoption for the families. Children may receive a federally funded subsidy under Title IV-E or a state-funded subsidy as per state guidelines.
Questions regarding adoption subsidies in New Mexico should be directed to:
Children, Youth & Families Department
P.O. Drawer 5160
Santa Fe, NM 87502