How Adoption in the US Works

According to the website Adopt US kids, there are over 500,000 children in foster care in America and over 80,000 US citizens have considered adopting a child.

Many people are put off by the fact that they don’t know enough about the adoption procedure, or what type of homes US agencies are looking for. In this article we go through the basic stages you will have to go through in order to adopt and show you how adoption works in the US.

First off, you don’t have to be a middle class married couple with a home of your own. You can be single, living together, co-parenting or married. Gay people, whether in a relationship or single, can also adopt in many US states. You don’t need to own your own home and you don’t need to be a ‘stay at home’ parent.


smiling african mother holding adopted baby


Adoption agencies are looking for well-rounded adults who are stable, dependable and mature. They want people who can give a child security, love and affection. If you have thought carefully about adoption the next steps are as follows:

Contact an adoption agency

More than likely there will be more than one adoption agency in your state. Look around carefully and choose the one that suits you best. The Child Welfare Information Gateway has contact information for local and county welfare agencies.

Attend a Meeting with the Adoption Centre

Once you have made enquiries about adoption, you will be asked to attend a meeting. Don’t forget to make a list of the questions you want to ask. Listen carefully to the information you will be given, as it will outline in detail what adoption is all about.

Apply to Adopt

Completing the paperwork for the application to adopt, is in-depth and will take time to complete. You will have help from a caseworker, who will answer any questions and help you with anything you don’t understand.

You will also have various checks, which will be made with the appropriate authorities to confirm for example, that you don’t have a criminal record.

Attend Training Sessions

Training sessions are important because you might be adopting a child that has been neglected or abused. Training helps you understand better what young children have been through and how you can welcome them into your family. It also gives you the chance to talk to other adoptive parents and build up a better understanding between yourself and the adoption agency.

There is normally between four and ten sessions. If the adoption is to be with two parents, then they must both attend all the training sessions.

Complete a Home Study

This is completed by your caseworker and involves a number of visits to your home. It will go through your routine and family life, look at where you live, talk about your perceptions of adoption, go through your family background, qualifications and what you do for a living. The study can take anything from three to six months to complete.

Get approved to adopt

It may take some time to hear from the agency, as they study all the paperwork including your application and the Home Study. Once they have made their decision they will let you know very quickly.

Get matched with a child

If you are approved for adoption, you then you can begin the search for a child. You can do this yourself and your caseworker will also search on your behalf.

Receive an adoptive placement

When you are matched with a child, you will be given more information about him or her, and the child will be introduced to you. Your family caseworker will be on hand to answer any questions and see you through the integration into your family.

Legalize the adoption

A case worker will visit about once a month to assess how things are going. If all is well sometime between three and nine months after placement, the legalization of the adoption will take place.

It normally takes about a year between applying to adopt and getting a child placement, it does require patience, but as you will see from the stories on the Adopt US Kids website, it is certainly worth the wait.

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