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The Adoption Exchange helps prospective parents

Adopting a child can be a confusing, time-consuming and intimidating process.

But, in Southern Nevada, The Adoption Exchange helps guide prospective adoptive parents through every stage of the process, from deciding whether to adopt in the first place to assisting after the adoption is finalized.

The organization was founded in 1983 to help recruit prospective parents to adopt children in foster care programs in Clark County and the state, said Sharon Feeney, program director for The Adoption Exchange.

Toward that end, the group conducts programs in the community and participates in the “Wednesday’s Child” feature on KLAS-TV, Channel 8.

The Adoption Exchange also offers monthly informational classes for people who are considering adopting a child, whether through private adoption, international adoption or the foster care system.

“The thing that makes us unique is, we are not an adoption agency,” Feeney said. “We don’t have children (to adopt), but we help facilitate the process.”

The classes offer information about adoption in Nevada, including costs and eligibility requirements. They often include parents who have adopted and who can discuss their experiences.

For those who choose to pursue adoption, the organization can provide links to resources, including agencies in Nevada that are licensed for adoption as well as information about adopting foster children.

The Adoption Exchange then can help to guide parents through the adoption process.

“There is a lot of red tape. A lot of people get frustrated because of all the things that are required,” Feeney said, noting it can take six months to a year to complete an adoption.

After an adoption is finalized, “we’re still involved,” Feeney noted, and can offer services and resources to help parents deal with whatever issues may arise.

For adults who opt against adoption, the organization offers information about other ways to help kids, such as serving as court-appointed special advocates.

The Adoption Exchange is nonprofit and does not charge for its services. In all, eight states are involved in the organization. Financial donations always are welcome, Feeney said, as are volunteers who can help out with administrative and office tasks here.

For more information, call 436-6335 or visit The Adoption Exchange Web site (www.adoptex.org and then follow the link to Nevada).

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