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Does anyone have experience with adopting in Arizona? DH and I are just beginning to look into it, but I'm finding all the various information about laws and requirements to be a bit confusing. Can anyone help me out? Are there minimum income requirements? What about the fact that our home has no A/C (we rely on swamp coolers and window A/C units)? We have five dogs, will that be a problem?
Any advice anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I'm in Alabama and adopting through foster care, so I'm not sure how helpful this will be.
Different agencies have different requirements, so first you have to pick a place to adopt from. Are you planning private adoption of an infant or adoption of a foster child? Foster children can be adopted through your local DHR/DSS/CPS (whatever they call it where you are) or through agencies that work with the foster office.
In our state, there are requirements regarding how long you have to have been married, your income, and of course your house situation. The main thing I tell people starting out is that they are not looking to rule you OUT as an adoptive home, they want to rule you IN! So it isn't as bad as sometimes we think.
The income basically is to show that you make enough to support your current family and an addition without any help. My state doesn't have "minimum" requirements that are generic. It is kind of customized to each home. It depends on how many bills you have, how much savings you have, if you own your home or rent, etc.
I've heard that in some states they have pretty big rules regarding dogs. Our state only requires that you show them up to date rabies vaccinations (and other needed vaccines) and that the dogs are generally safe and good around strangers. They usually tell the safety thing by walking with you into their enclosure. If the dogs don't bite them and aren't otherwise aggressive, they say everything is good. My dogs jumped on them and barked, but didn't do anything else and weren't mean (they're pretty tame), so we never had a question about it.
I don't think that the central air is going to be an issue either. As long as you have a home that is fairly comfortable in the heat of the Arizona summer, you'll be fine.
I hope that helps! And welcome here! I look forward to following along in your journey!
Thanks, that does help. I did contact our state Department of Economic Security and they pointed me to a couple of state adoption agencies (we definitely want to adopt a child in the foster care system, and we don't want to do private). We'll be attending their orientations soon, so I guess that's our first step and we should get plenty of information that way.
We are also in the process of trying to adopt a family members child who is in foster care. There is alot that needs to be done but it isnt impossible to do. Our Child is coming from another state so we also have to deal with the headaches that come from the sending state.
DES is a great place to start. We are going thru SWHD. We have a caseworker that is assisting us and she is a BIG help.
Your dogs need to have a rabies shot and to be licensed with the county you live in.
As for your AC...I dont know about that. You would have to talk to them about that. You will have a home inspection done by the state of Arizona and they will check the temp of you home.
Both of you will need your finger print clearance cards (If your adopting thru foster care they will pay for it)
You will need a copy of your finger prints. Can be done at Phx Police Station for $10 each set. Only need one set per person.
Classes are 30 Hours of PS-Mapp Training. (Ours was 2x week, 3 hours each time) It was really basic....BUT DONT MISS A CLASS OR YOU WONT GET YOUR CERT.
Your imcome has to be enough to support your family without the addition of the adoptive child and also enough to support the adoptive child.
One of you need to have a CPR Card. Infant and Adult.
I will PM you the Home Inspection Requirements. That will break down all the details of what they will be looking at. I hope it is helpful for you. I stressed about the inspection until I actually saw what they would be looking at.
(We used the linen closet in the hall way for medications and chemicals because we could easily put a locking door knob on it) We also do not park in the garage and have a locking door knob reversed on the door and keep it locked so it is not considered part of the house. But they will check to be sure your not storing a gas can next to your water heater) I was told that Guns and Pools almost always fail a home. So if you have a pool be sure it is fenced properly according to the inspection requirements NOT country or city code. County and City codes are too relaxed)
Here as soon as the prints are done, they give them back to you and you have to mail them with a form to get your background check card. I think mine took about 3 weeks from mailing to process and have approval back on. My husband already had his done so that was easy. He already had his CPR card, but they say that sometimes if you go above and beyond what is needed it 'could' show the court that your very motivated. So I went ahead and got my card too because I figured it couldnt hurt anything and since we have a pool it would be a good idea. We started on this as soon as we knew because I didnt know how long it was going to take. I wanted everything to be done before we were finished with the classes.
Another thing I remembered was that a doctors note is needed for each adult (on their form) saying that you have been examined and are in good health.
All and all, I think that everything they asked for was airly reasonable.
Oh yeah, you get them back when they do them... but mailing them off for the background check always seems to take forever. I got mine back in about a month. DH's took 3 months. We mailed them at the same time... had them done at the same place. It was just stupid.
I agree about getting things done as soon as you can too. It shows you are really interested and motivated AND that you have TIME to do stuff like that. My case worker always commented on how we seemed available to do what she needed which was good because it showed we'd be available for the kids.
Guns don't fail people here. LOL... We're in Alabama and everyone has guns. You just have to have them locked up and the ammo somewhere else.[/b]
I know more than one adoptive family here for whom guns were not a problem. And I can't imagine that pools would fail people here, as a huge number of homes have one.
Thanks for the tips and PM's everyone! The one thing that worries me the most is that DH is planning to adopt my youngest daughter, and I can't imagine how that will go if we fail the homestudy for some reason. It's not as she can up and move out!
I think DH adopting DD is different than adopting foster children. A lady I work with her DH adopted her children and it was very simple.
The issue with pools is most problematic when there are state ward children under (I think) 6 years old. The child we are hoping to adopt was 18 months at the time of inspection. Majority of our home inspection was done measuring the fencing bars, how sturdy fence was, how the gate closed, they closed it repeatedly to be sure that it would continue to latch. We have the highest drowning rate of any other state. As soon as Temps start hitting 80 degrees the drownings and near drowings start happening. We dont have guns so we didnt have to worry about that.
We don't a pool or guns, so we don't have to worry about that. My main concern is the fact that we don't have A/C and the two back bedrooms don't have heating/cooling vents (my older two daughters sleep in those rooms, and we use window A/C units and space heaters when needed). We have swamp coolers and when the humidity goes up we add window A/C units to our living room. But I still worry that it will be an issue.