Adoptive Family Services
Birth Mother Services
A Family Tree offers a private, domestic adoption program called Ka Makana. This program is exclusive to residents of Hawai'i and only serves pregnant women living in Hawai'i. We limit the number of prospective adoptive families we accept into this program in order to support greater chances of child placement. We advocate for open adoption in most cases, and support birth mothers in determining their preferences. Our goal with Ka Makana is to create a nurturing, supportive experience for all members of the adoption triad.
kA mAKANA dOMESTIC aDOPTION
Families interested in participating in the AFT Ka Makana domestic adoption program should complete and submit the AFT application to AFT and complete an AFT home study prior to being eligible for the Ka Makana program.
Due to the occasional nature of domestic adoptive placements, AFT requires prospective adoptive families to be committed to the home study process prior to being accepted into the Ka Makana program. Since birth parent work is unpredictable, it is conceivable that a waiting prospective adoptive family may receive a tentative birth parent match relatively quickly. However, for this same reason prospective adoptive parents may face long or unpredictable waits. AFT will discuss options with families prior to their commitment to the Ka Makana program and will provide insights into the current expected wait times and other adoption options if appropriate.
Open vs. Closed Domestic Adoptions
The degree to which an adoption is open or closed is determined by the birth parent(s). AFT will aim to match birth parents with prospective adoptive parents appropriately. AFT believes in the importance of openness in adoption, especially if this is the request of the birth parent(s).
Open: Typically an open adoption is one in which the birth parent(s), and the prospective adopting parent(s) meet and/or exchange identifying information prior to and/or after the birth and placement of the child for adoption. The degree of openness will be the topic of conversation prior to the child placement and may be an ongoing discussion following child placement. It is important that all members of the adoption process are comfortable with the intended degree of openness. It is equally important that all participants understand that in the vast majority of cases, once an adoption is final, the birth parents lose any and all rights over the child and are dependent on the good word of the adopting family to continue to agreement. AFT will work with all members of the adoption to determine what is desired and appropriate.
Closed: Closed adoptions are increasingly less common as research and experience indicate the importance of identity and knowledge to adopted child. However, should a closed adoption be requested by the birth parent(s) AFT will seek a family open to such an adoption. In closed adoptions AFT plays a larger role in communicating between the various parties and may serve as the liaison in years following the child placement.
Domestic adoptions may not be easily predictable due to the fact that children are not waiting in group homes but rather are usually born to birth mothers shortly before adoptive placement. In some cases waiting families wait a few weeks for a prospective child match, and in other cases the wait may be years. AFT will update waiting families as appropriate, and encourages families considering this program, to discuss other or concurrent options as well.
Adoptive Parent Requirements
Many domestic adoptions involve the selecting of the prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) by the birth parent(s). For this reason, in the AFT Ka Makana program PAPs are required to complete and submit to AFT, a Dear Birth Mother Letter and photos depicting family, friends and lifestyle. Additionally, PAPs are required to complete an HIC home study and provide AFT with criminal and child abuse record clearances, medical approvals, financial information, and background information.
At this time, the Ka Makana program is open to PAPs that are Hawaii residents only.
The Process –
Ka Makana Domestic Adoption Program
Complete the AFT Application
The AFT Application provides us with information about you and your adoptive needs. You are asked to list references, your reasons for wishing to adopt, and the type of child you think would best suit your family. You will also be asked to write a “Dear Birth Mother” letter. (You may wish to schedule a phone or face to face appointment with a member of the AFT Ka Makana team to discuss this letter before you submit it.) Submit the AFT Application to AFT along with your application fee and required attachments and AFT will be in touch.
Complete the Step Two Packet
The AFT Step Two packet contains the contracts, clearances and guidelines required for the home study, and for most adoption programs. You can work on these concurrent to beginning your AFT home study process.
Begin your Pre-Adoption Training
All AFT prospective adoptive families are required to complete a minimum of twelve (12) hours of pre-adoption training. These training requirements are available online through AFT. Training is required to be completed prior to child placement.
Complete the Home Study
AFT will complete a home study for residents of Hawaii. Clients living outside of Hawaii are required to work with AFT to identify an AFT-approved home study provider. In order for you to receive AFT program approval, an original copy of your home study should be submitted to AFT as soon as possible. Home study details and requirements can be found in the AFT Step Two Packet in the Home Study Section. Call AFT to schedule your home study.
Receive the Ka Makana Domestic Adoption Program Packet
AFT clients receive the electronic Ka Makana Domestic Adoption Program Packet during the home study process. This packet includes information and forms necessary for completing the initial aspects of your adoption. Review the packet and begin collecting required documents.
Send your Ka Makana documents to AFT
Your AFT Ka Makana documentation should be hand delivered to the AFT office, or sent via postal mail to our street address (1632 SA. King Street, Honolulu, HI 96826). We recommend you consider certified or express mail to ensure proper delivery. Please sign the signature waiver so the envelope can be delivered after hours if necessary.
You are Matched with a Birth Parent
You will be matched with (a) birth parent(s) assigned to you through counseling and discussion with the birth family’s wishes. The information you receive will generally include brief family medical information, birth mother’s expected due date, a list of expected pregnancy and birth-related expenses (if any), and demographics of the birth family.
Make Travel Arrangements
For prospective adoptive families living outside of Hawaii, travel to Hawaii will likely be required prior to the birth of your prospective adoptive child. The length of stay will vary based on the details of the birth, the health of the child, the specifics of the adoption service plan, as well as interstate clearances require to travel with an adopted child. Note that most but not all Ka Makana clients are Hawai'i residents. In some cases your child may be born on an island other than the one on which you live. In those cases you would be expected to arrive on your child's island of birth as soon as we inform you that birth mother is ready for you to arrive. In most cases this would be at the time of your child's birth.
Return Home with your Child
You are strongly advised to have your child checked at a pre-scheduled appointment with your child’s pediatrician after placement, and that you pay special attention to your child’s needs in the first few days. If you do not currently have a pediatrician we encourage clients to identify and interview a pediatrician prior to placement.
Once home with your child, you are required by AFT and the State of Hawaii to complete a minimum of at least two (2) post placement visits within the first six (6) months of placement with the AFT team members. The first visit will take place in your home within a few weeks of placement. Subsequent visits will be either at the AFT office or in your home, based on need through AFT’s determination. AFT may require additional visits if deemed needed based on the best interests of the child or based on the laws of the state where the child was born. These reports may be submitted to Family Court for the final adoption process.
Once home with the child, you may contact an attorney to file your adoption petition in Family Court. During the wait time for a hearing date, the post placement reports will be completed.