Adoption is a beautiful way to build a family and provide a stable, loving home for a child. COBYS Family Services facilitates adoptions of foster children through the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN). In addition, we provide a variety of adoption-related services to assist families who are seeking to adopt and to support those who already have adopted.
Recognizing that many adoptive families need support long after an adoption is finalized, COBYS provides free Post Adoption Services for families beyond adoption day to help them achieve the best outcomes possible.
In the State of Pennsylvania, approximately 2,500 children are seeking permanency with a family. COBYS works diligently to find an adoptive home for children through our Child Specific Recruitment program. Please see Waiting Children to learn more about these children. You can also meet additional children waiting to be adopted at www.adoptpakids.org.
COBYS provides additional adoption-related services, including free birth parent counseling for families facing unplanned pregnancies; and home studies and post placement supervision for families pursuing private adoption or adoptions through other agencies.
Here’s a story about one COBYS family’s adoption experience.
Who are the children?
Children are placed into foster care because they cannot safely stay with their biological family. They are between the ages of 0 to 18 when they are placed into foster care, but can decide to stay in foster care up to age 21. There are children of all racial and ethnic groups and of various religions. Some are placed individually, but many are part of a sibling group. Some children have mental or behavioral health needs, or special medical needs. All children must cope with grief and loss due to the separation from their biological family and with the impact of their parents’ issues that contributed to their placement. Parental addiction, homelessness, untreated mental health issues, lack of parenting skills or supervision, and truancy can be contributing factors to the abuse and neglect that children experience.
What role does COBYS play?
COBYS Family Services is affiliated with the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN). As a SWAN affiliate, COBYS is part of a network of public and private organizations that share a common goal of providing permanent homes in a timely fashion for Pennsylvania’s foster children. COBYS assists families and children who already are part of the COBYS program, as well as new families who are interested in pursuing adoption through foster care. Our role is to prepare children and families for adoption, facilitate the legal process, and provide support both before and after the adoption. All COBYS resource families are dually certified for foster care and adoption so children can be placed into pre-adoptive homes before parental rights are terminated. Before serving as foster parents, adoptive parents, or respite parents, families are required to attend an orientation session and complete a 27-hour pre-service training. Orientations are offered monthly in both Lancaster and Berks Counties.
Who are the resource families?
COBYS resource families are married or single persons, families with or without biological children, and families with or without a stay-at-home caregiver. They have in common a desire to share God’s love with children in foster care. Resource families provide love, guidance, structure and nurture children need to heal from their past experiences.
How much does it cost to adopt through foster care?
While adopting a child in some settings can cost thousands of dollars, families who adopt through SWAN incur little expense. In addition, most children are eligible to receive ongoing adoption assistance until they reach age 18. Families who adopt through SWAN also may be eligible for an adoption tax credit.
I like watching our birth children and foster children interact as though they’ve always been together. None of them seem to notice that our family members look completely different from one another. – COBYS Resource Parents Austin and Cathy