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How to Adopt a Child in the United States

by Beth Williams

Adopting a child is a very personal decision that requires forethought and preparation to ensure that you are ready for both the long and sometimes arduous process of adoption and for bringing a child or children into your home. Knowing what to expect from the adoption process is an important step.

How To Adopt A Child in the United States

Make sure that adoption is what you really want. If you have experienced infertility, you must ensure you have accepted your infertility, completed your fertility treatments, and be mentally and emotionally prepared for the adoption process.

Educate yourself about the adoption process, so you know what to expect with each step. In addition to using the Internet to learn about adoption, talk with others who have adopted to find out what the experience was like for them.

Choose an adoption agency in your state that will help you through the adoption process. Make sure you research your options by calling numerous agencies and asking about fees, the support they offer, the children they typically place, and the length the process generally runs.

Once you’ve chosen your adoption agency, you’ll be ready to schedule your homestudy. A homestudy consists of you providing your caseworker with the relevant documentation, including your birth certificate, and having her visit your home to ensure that you and your family are ready to bring a child into your home.

By now, you should already have been thinking about the type of child you want to adopt: infant, toddler or teenager. Also consider whether you’re willing to adopt a special needs child or siblings.

Start looking through your state’s waiting child list to find a child, or children, in whom you are interested. When you’ve found a child, contact your caseworker who will then contact the caseworker representing the child.

Once your caseworker notifies you that you have been chosen, you will meet with the child or children several times.

After you’ve met with the child several times, you’ll complete the required paperwork and wait for your new son or daughter to be placed in your home, which will be followed by the finalization of the adoption.

Tip

  • Adoption can be a long and trying process, so be prepared and be patient. It is the caseworker’s responsibility to find a family that best meets the needs of the waiting child.

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