All families must complete a minimum of 10 hours of pre-adoption education relevant to the type of adoption they are planning. Some states or foreign countries require additional education. Families adopting internationally must complete mandatory Hague Convention curriculum as part of their homestudy process.
Child Transfer Policy
CHAC takes all appropriate measures to ensure that the transfer of the child takes place in secure and appropriate circumstances, with properly trained and qualified escorts, if used, and, if possible, in the company of the prospective adoptive parent(s). In our China program, the child is transferred to the custody and control of the adoptive parents in their hotel or in the office of local government officials, in the presence of orphanage officials. All transfers occur during daylight hours, with a translator present,and appropriate clothing, food, and drinks are made available to the child and the parents at the time of the transfer.
Confidentiality of Adoption Records
CHAC retains adoption records in a safe, secure, and retrievable manner indefinitely. Case records are stored in our office building in a locked storage area. CHAC makes readily available to the adoptee or the adoptive parent(s) upon request all non-identifying information in its custody about the adoptee’s health history or background. Personal data gathered or transmitted in connection with an adoption is used only for purposes for which the information was gathered and sensitive individual information issafeguarded on a confidential basis.
Placement fees in our China program are approximately $20,000 plus document, third-party, travel, and orphanage donation expenses. Placement fees in our domestic adoption program range between $18,000 – $24,000. Many families are eligible for a federal adoption tax credit of approximately $13,000. A list of outside organizations that provide financial assistance for adoption expenses can be found under Financing Adoption Expenses on this website. Our fee for homestudy services for MD and VA families is $1700 plus $300 for each post-adoption visit/report, with a minimum of three required. A detailed explanation of fees and estimated expenses is available upon request.
CHAC encourages anyone with concerns regarding services offered by CHAC to bring these concerns to the attention of a staff member. CHAC will work to resolve concerns informally. For individuals or organizations that feel their concerns have not been resolved informally, a formal complaint procedure is available. Birth parents, prospective adoptive parents, adoptive parents, or adoptees may file a complaint. The procedure for filing a complaint is set out in our Complaint Policy and Procedures found on our website.
CHAC will not take any action to discourage a client or prospective client from filing a complaint. CHAC will take no action to retaliate against a client or prospective client for making a complaint, expressing a grievance, providing information in writing or by interview to the accrediting body, or questioning the conduct of, or expressing an opinion about, the performance of CHAC.
Notification of Significant Changes
Families must notify us immediately of any significant changes, including changes in residence, employment, marital status, medical condition, criminal activity, the composition of the family, and even contact information. Families must report significant changes to us, to their homestudy agency and to USCIS (if adopting internationally) even after the homestudy is completed and until the child has received a US visa (if adopting internationally).
Parent Education and Training
All families are required to undergo 10 hours of parent education and training (12 hours for families adopting from China). CHAC may exempt PAPs from all or part of the education and training if we determine that the PAPs have previously received adequate training or have prior experience as parent(s) of children adopted internationally.
Policy on Charging Additional Fees
CHAC does not charge additional fees beyond those disclosed to clients in the initial adoption contract. However, in some circumstances unforeseen fees and expenses may be incurred in the foreign country. CHAC will work to minimize the need for additional fees and expenses, and will notify the prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) of the amount of the additional fees/expenses and the reason for their accrual in writing. CHAC will obtain the specific written consent of the PAPs prior to spending any funds in excess of $1,000 for which the PAP will be held responsible.
Prohibition on Child Buying
CHAC prohibits its employees and agents from giving money or other consideration directly or indirectly to a child’s parent(s) or other individual(s) or entity as payment for the child or as an inducement to release the child for adoption.
Prohibition on Preferential Treatment
CHAC prohibits preferential treatment for its board members, contributors, volunteers, employees, agents, consultants or independent contractors with respect to the placement of children for adoption.
One-half of our $500 application fee ($250) is refundable if a family decides not to proceed within two months of submitting application. All other CHAC Agency fees, which are paid in installments as the adoptions progress, are nonrefundable. In addition, $2500 of the Foreign Program Fee is due upon submission of documents for registration in the foreign program or acceptance of a child referral, whichever occurs first, and is non-refundable.
Homestudy clients pay a $500 deposit, which is non-refundable. The balance of the homestudy fee is paid prior to the social worker’s visit and is nonrefundable. Fees for post-adoption services are paid prior to completion of the homestudy and are non-refundable, unless the family relocates to another state, in which event any unused fees would be transferred to the new agency providing post-adoption services.
CHAC returns to clients any funds to which they may be entitled within sixty days of the completion of the delivery of services.
Specialized Use of Funds
CHAC does not use any portion of its fees to provide special services, such as cultural programs for adoptees, scholarships or other services.
Withdrawal of Referral
CHAC does not withdraw a referral until the prospective adoptive parents have had two weeks to consider the needs of the child and their ability to meet those needs, and to obtain a physician’s review of the referral information including videotapes if available. However, a more expedited decision may be required in the event there are extenuating circumstances involving the child’s best interests.
Extenuating circumstances could include, but are not limited to, a sudden change in the child’s medical condition, the need for urgent medical care, the child aging out of the adoption program, or the expiration of the assignment of the child to CHAC for placement.
If the Adoption is in Crisis
If the adoption is in Crisis, CHAC makes an effort to provide or arrange for counseling by an individual with appropriate skills to assist the family. If counseling does not succeed in resolving the crisis and the placement is disrupted or the adoption is dissolved, the placing assumes responsibility for making another placement of the child. CHAC will promptly (in accordance with any applicable legal requirements) remove the child if the placement is no longer in the child’s best interests. We do not return an adopted child whose adoption has been dissolved to his country of origin, as we believe the child’s needs can be better served in the US. The adoptive family will have legal and financial responsibility for transfer of custody in the case of impending disruption or dissolution and for the care of the child.
CHAC does not have any corporate, financial or familial relationships with vendors of non-adoption services. We refer families to outside vendors only for authentication of documents and visa processing. We receive no financial or other benefit from any outside vendor.
A complete copy of CHAC’s policies and procedures is available upon request.