Adoption FAQs

Get the answers to common questions about adoption.

How does one go about adopting a child?

The numerous venues for adoption can be overwhelming for people just starting to consider adopting. Here's a breakdown of the range of options:

Agency adoptions

  • Through the local public agency
  • Through licensed private agencies (includes both domestic and international programs)

Independent adoptions

  • Identified adoptions
  • Using attorneys or other intermediaries defined by state law
  • Using adoption facilitators (allowed in only a few states)

What kinds of kids are available for adoption?

There are three different groups of children from which you can choose to adopt:

  • U.S.-born infants
  • Children with special needs
  • Children from other countries

How long does it take to adopt a child?

If you want to adopt a Caucasian infant, be prepared to wait at least a year from the time the home study is completed, and more frequently two to five years. It's difficult to estimate the waiting period because birth parents usually select and interview the family they want for their child. Applicants wishing to adopt African-American infants may have a shorter wait -- probably less than six months. If you want to adopt a child with special needs, you can review photolistings to learn more about waiting children who might be right for your family.

International adoptions may take a year or more, but the wait and the process will be somewhat more predictable. For any type of international adoption, even after a child is found you may have to wait weeks or months while final arrangements are made.

How much does it cost to adopt a child?

There are many factors that influence the cost of adoption. The average cost of adopting a child in the United States varies according to the type of placement:

  • Public agency adoptions, where children are adopted from the foster care system, range from zero to $2,500.
  • Private agency adoption ranges from $4,000 to $30,000 or more.
  • Independent adoption ranges from $8,000 to $30,000 or more.
  • Adopting a child from another country through either a private agency or an independent adoption ranges from $7,000 to $25,000 or more.

I'm single. Will they really let me adopt a child?

In the last 20 years there has been a steady, sizable increase in the number of single-parent adoptions. The desire to nurture and to share life as a family is a strong universal need that is felt by a large number of people and one that is not exclusive to married people or couples.

Despite the greater acceptance of single-parent adoption, the traditional view of parenting, that a child needs a mother and a father for healthy growth and development, still exists. Adoptive parents and agencies, in preparing prospective adoptive parents, stress the importance of having friends and family who can lend support and serve as a backup system. It will also help if you can demonstrate to a potential adoption agency that you have thought through some of the long-term implications of being a single adoptive parent.

What kind of information will we need to give?

During the home study, you'll be asked about:

  • Personal and family background, including upbringing, siblings, key events, and what you learned from them
  • Significant people in your lives
  • Motivation to adopt
  • Expectations for the child
  • Feelings about infertility (if this is an issue)
  • Parenting and integration of the child into your family
  • Family environment
  • Physical and health history
  • Education, employment and finances, including insurance coverage and child-care plans if needed
  • References and criminal background clearances

Once I've adopted a child, is there any kind of support network?

Parent groups and children's groups are the two typical kinds of support groups related to adoption that you will find. They operate on the age-old concept that people with common circumstances often can provide the most help to each other.

Adoptive parent groups usually focus on a variety of social, educational, and support activities. A group's focus is determined by the interests and needs of its members. In some cases, groups include only single parents or parents of children from a certain country.

In some communities there are peer groups available for adopted children and adolescents. These groups may be run by adoption social workers, mental health professionals, adoptive parents, adult adoptees, or any combination of the above. The groups help to reduce a child's or adolescent's feelings of isolation by providing a chance to meet with other adoptees and discuss mutual concerns.

Source: National Adoption Information Clearinghouse

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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