Adopting a child is a life-changing decision that involves careful planning and a structured process.
If you have an interest in adopting a child through private adoption, you should understand how to navigate the steps necessary to bring a new member into your family.
Initial inquiry and research
Private adoptions of U.S. children declined between 2019 and 2020 by 24% according to the National Council for Adoption, due in part to the length of the process, which starts with extensive research. Start with the types of adoption available to you. Then, consider your family’s preferences, circumstances or special needs.
Orientation and pre-application
Attend adoption orientation sessions to learn about the legal and emotional aspects of adoption and agency-specific requirements. Then, complete a pre-application.
During the home study, a trained social worker assesses your home, lifestyle and family dynamics, searching for a safe and loving environment. Prepare to provide documents and references and attend interviews.
Next, the adoption agency begins to match you with a child whose needs align with your family’s strengths and capabilities. When the agency finds a suitable match, you will receive a placement agreement that outlines the legal terms and conditions of the adoption. Thoroughly review this document.
After the child gets placed with your family, expect post-placement visits and supervision by the adoption agency to ensure that the transition proceeds smoothly and that you meet the child’s needs.
The final step in the adoption process involves a court hearing where a judge will officially establish your legal rights as the child’s parents. Then, the child becomes a permanent member of your family.
Adoption is a lifelong commitment, so connect with groups and resources that can assist you in your journey and provide guidance and support.