The first step in the adoption process in Boston is choosing an adoption agency, such as the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, or one of the agencies that contracts with DCF, according to the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange. MARE recommends meeting with several adoption agencies to find the best fit.
The adoption agency, such as DCF, conducts preliminary screening with potential adopters, which includes a home visit from a social worker and a background record check of every member of the household over the age of 14, reports Health and Human Services of Massachusetts. DCF also conducts a Physical Standards Check, which ensures working safety equipment, such as smoke detectors, and adequate space and privacy for all members of the family. After passing the screening test, potential adopters fill out an application with the DCF or the adoption agency of their choosing.
Potential adopters must complete the Massachusetts Approach to Partnerships in Parenting Training, which covers topics such as communication, building self-esteem, child guidance, discipline and the challenges of adopting a child, according to Health and Human Services.
After passing the training course, potential adopters begin the homestudy, which involves meeting with an adoption social worker for a series of interviews, during which the agency reviews documents submitted by the potential adopters, according to MARE. The social worker interviews members of the household and community, and she conducts home visits.
The potential adopters then meet with the social workers of the child to discuss the child's history and any current issues, states MARE. The family is then allowed to meet the child, and the social worker arranges short visitations, such as overnight, holiday and weekend stays. This phase can take several weeks or several months.