State Auditor, Crit Luallen, is calling for a speedier adoption process. A report released Dec. 14, 2006, shows Kentucky children spend an average of three years in state custody during adoption.
The length of time could be detrimental to older children and those with special needs because the chance for successful adoption decreases as their age increases. The report went on to list several more recommendations.
“We had a very fast process ... above average ... We went from first application for our child to having him in our arms in four and a half months,” said Chris Sweeney, who adopted a son from Korea.
Sweeney and his wife Brittney, had a positive experience with adoption. So much so, Chris said there’s no doubt they’d do it again.
The process was quick and the best part is their son Landon is thriving in his new home but the Sweeney’s chose to go the international route. Sometimes domestic adoption can take longer.
“I think anything that’s going to help the child and their transition ... whether back with biological family or placed in adoptive home ... the quicker the better for the child,” Sweeney said.
Another recommendation is a toll-free number to guide prospective parents through the process and a public awareness campaign to boost the number of adoptions.
“A lot of people get conceptions about adoption from TV ... see only the bad part ... and there are so many great things if the public were made aware it would change their views,” Sweeney said.
The audit also says Kentucky should consider the formation of a birth father registry, another idea Sweeney favors. He believes there’s still so much to learn about adoption, hopefully this state-wide effort will open more eyes.
“It all goes back to what’s best for the child ... anything the state will do for betterment ... That’s best,” Sweeney said.
In addition to their son Landon, the Sweeney’s have two more foster children from Kentucky living with them. There are 1.5 million adopted children in the United States.