Foster Parent FAQs

How do you know when it’s time to adopt?

The only real way to know when it is time to adopt is to speak with an experienced adoption attorney.  An experienced adoption attorney will be able to tell you when the timing is correct to adopt.  Many caseworkers will provide you with advice about when to adopt but often they are wrong and do not understand adoption law.  Our law firm, Berry & Domer, will gladly speak with you free of charge, in person or by phone, and let you know if it’s time for you to file your adoption petition.

If you are represented by an attorney in the CHINS matter involving your foster child ask your attorney about their adoption experience. If your CHINS attorney is not experienced in adoption, please contact us for adoption advice. We will provide you with adoption advice while the CHINS case is ongoing so that you have the best chance of a favorable outcome when it is time to adopt.

How much does a foster parent, kinship or family member adoption through DCS costs?

At Berry & Domer we do not charge our clients any fee for an uncontested foster parent, kinship or family member adoption through DCS.  An uncontested adoption occurs when the Department of Child Services agrees to consent to your adoption and the biological parents have either signed consents to your adoption or their parental rights have been terminated by a court order.  When these events occur, the State of Indiana will pay $1500.00 of your adoption costs (attorney fees and filing fees) to complete an adoption.  We accept this amount as payment in full for our attorney fees.  We DO NOT charge our clients for the filing fees and Indiana Department of Health fees (generally around $220.00 per child) in uncontested adoption cases.

How long does the adoption process take?

Once the consents and/or termination orders are obtained, the adoption process can be completed in about 90 days, but the time frame is determined by the documents that you complete, your background checks and documentation filed by the Department of Child Services.  We work closely with DCS to make sure that they file the home summaries in accordance with the Court’s orders.  We also keep tabs on the filing of the adoption subsidy eligibility application so that the adoption subsidy can be negotiated and completed prior the final adoption hearing.  DCS is a busy institution with a high caseworker turnover so we have found that they gently need to be reminded of court deadlines and hearings in order to keep our adoption cases moving closer to completion.  We will assist the caseworkers in any way we can to move the case along.

If the parents have not consented to the adoption and have not been terminated, is it still possible for foster parents to adopt?

Yes, but it can be a lengthy and complicated process.  However, we will gladly meet with you to evaluate your case to determine the likelihood of a successful adoption.  We do not charge you a fee to meet with us.  However, if you do hire our firm to represent you in your adoption case, we do charge for the time spent during that initial meeting (as many facts and legal strategy is discussed).  The attorney fees for a contested adoption can also be high. We will do our best to provide you with an estimate as to the total cost of your attorney fees in a contested adoption.   We have represented many foster parents and kindship/family placement in contested adoption cases successfully. 

Can I still adopt my foster child(ren) if the parents consent but the Department does not?

Again, it is possible to successfully adopt your foster children even if the Department does not consent to your adoption.  It is best to make an appointment with us. We can evaluate the facts of your case and determine the likelihood of success.  We do charge an attorney fee for these kinds of adoption cases, but we will not charge a fee for the initial consultation unless you hire us. We will be fair in assessing your case.