Adoption Process – the steps, requirements and what to expect

Adopting a child is one of the best things you can do for humanity. The stability that adoption brings into the life of adopted children gives them the best chance of reaching their full potentials. When you decide to adopt, you’re be giving a child a reason to hope and believe in humanity. However, the process is hardly ever as smooth as you wish. There’s usually a lot of waiting and uncertainty. And there are stacks of paperwork you have to deal with. But once you decide to go through with the process, you can rest assured the result would be more than worth the stress.

Before you embark on the journey, it is important to arm yourself with as much useful information as you can. You’ll need to answer questions such as

  • Am I working with an adoption agency or dealing directly with the government?  
  • Am I adopting from the United States or another country?
  • Am I financially capable to foot all the bills or would I need to apply for financial aid?

It may take a while to make informed decisions regarding these questions. That is why you cannot simply wake up one day and tell yourself you would like to adopt a child. It’s a process that requires careful consideration and sometimes hard choices.

Below is a highlight of the steps and requirements in the adoption process once you’re settled on the basics.


Photo by PNG Design


Complete a home study

It doesn’t matter the adoption program you have decided to pursue, you’ll need to complete a home study before your application can be considered. You’ll be holding a series of meeting with one or more social workers for the purpose of ascertaining that your family are eligible to adopt a child. The paperwork would naturally start here as you would be required to provide documents such as birth certificate, child abuse clearances, marriage license, etc. The requirements may vary slightly if you are single.

Asides the paperwork, you should also prepare for at least one in-home visit. If you have a family, all the members of your family should be at home during the visit. The whole process may take anywhere from  two months to one year depending on your state and how efficient you are in completing the necessary paperwork.


Receive a referral

When it’s time to receive a referral, you would understand why most people prefer to work with an adoption agency. Depending on the adoption program you opt for, you may be given a waiting list to review or you would wait in line to be chosen by a birth parent/caseworker. If your adoption program employs the latter method, you may choose to accept or reject a referral. Once the referral process is completed, you can then move to the stage of child placement. This stage is usually the longest stage for many prospective adopters. The timeline is unpredictable and it would heavily depend on your adoption agency or the specific adoption program you opted for.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema


Child placement

Once you’ve scaled the receiving a referral stage, you would need to complete even more paperwork in order to seal the adoption legally. Afterwards, the child would be placed with your family and you can start parenting the adopted child. You should expect a series of post-placement visits to monitor the transition process of your adopted son or daughter. Often, you would also need to make a court appearance wherein a judge places a final seal on the adoption documents. If you are adopting from another country, the process could be much more complicated. Your child would be issued an amended birth certificate once all the adoption process is finalized.

The finalization of the legal process only signals the end of the first stage of adopting a child. You still have a lot of work to do as a parent and you might find out parenting an adopted child could be slightly more difficult than parenting your own child. If you have an existing family, it is your duty to help your child integrate into the new family. All your family members must be in carried along at every step of the way so they can help your new son or daughter feel at home. Though the task may seem complicated an daunting, it would be more than worth it if you are willing to follow through.

If you still wish to know more about adopting a child in the United States, you may follow this link

Catalina Magee

Founder of Trend Prive Magazine, America.Guide, Christianity.Global and Roast.Global. Romanian-born American, "seasoned" in Italy, "cooked" in Germany and currently serving in Israel. NCIS Special Agent in Charge EA.

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