A Step-By-Step Process On Adoption: A Guide for Prospective Adoptive Parents
Wed, April 21, 2021

A Step-By-Step Process On Adoption: A Guide for Prospective Adoptive Parents



Kelly and Tom Vandergriff from Louisville, Kentucky, decided to adopt a baby after struggling with infertility for five years, narrated Parents, a parenting website. The couple then worked with an agency in April 2002. In July, they received a call saying that a birth mother, who was nearly nine months pregnant, had expressed her interest in meeting them.

The couple flew to Oregon to meet the birthing mother. After two weeks, Tom and Kelly were at the hospital where Landon, their son, was born. Kelly said the experience was amazing. “We were with Landon the entire time, we bonded with his birth mother, who is wonderful, and the whole process only took four and a half months," she commented.

Not every adoption process is as quick as the Vandergriff family. But most couples who have considered adopting a child domestically and internationally do not have to expect to undergo a costly or time-consuming process.


Survey Reveals the Perception of Americans of Adoption (2019)

Jamie Ballard of YouGov, a global public opinion and data company, found that 49% of Americans have a favorable view of adoption through their country’s foster care system. 11% said they have an unfavorable view of the system and 20% said their view on adoption through foster care is neither favorable nor unfavorable. 25% had a friend or family member who was adopted while 19% said they have a friend or family member who is an adoptive parent.

4% of Americans stated that they are adopted whereas 3% said they are adoptive parents. 24% said they have considered or are currently considering adoption. Among those who have ever considered or are currently considering adoption, they cited the following reasons: “I want to provide for a child in need” (56%), “I think there is an overpopulation issue” (18%), “I/we have infertility issues” (12%), and “I/we have other barriers which would make it difficult to conceive” (12%). 11% said, “I or my partner don’t want to be pregnant.”

Millennials were more likely to say that they are currently considering adoption (9% vs 5% of the total population) and to cite overpopulation (26%) as their rationale for choosing adoption. Further, 21% of millennials who have considered or are considering adoption said they considered adoption because they (or their partner) don’t want to be pregnant. 

Meanwhile, 60% of the US population said they have never considered adoption, citing finances and/or a desire to be totally child-free as their reasons for preferring it. Of those who have never considered adoption, the respondents mentioned: “I don’t think I can afford it” (20%), “I don’t want any children, adopted or biological” (20%), and “I want a child who is biologically connected to me” (13%). 

Some respondents also said “I’m worried an adopted child could have emotional needs I’m unprepared for” (10%) and “I’m worried an adopted child could have health needs I’m unprepared for” (8%). Individuals who are already parents to children below 18 years were especially likely to say they want biological kids (21% versus 13% of the total population) and that they don’t believe they could afford adoption (29% versus 20%).



The Difference Between Fostering and Adopting A Child

State agencies, for instance, don’t want kids to remain in foster care indefinitely, said Carrie Craft of Very Well Family, a website that provides parenting tips. Hence, foster care is temporary. The objective of foster care is to ensure that the child will go back to their home someday— that is, if the problems at home are addressed. However, if it’s deemed impossible, the child will be placed for adoption. Adoption is permanent and a legally binding relationship. This means that your adopted child will enjoy the same rights and privileges that a biological child will have.


A Breakdown of the Adoption Process

1.     Research

Conduct a thorough research, join a local support group, and start networking with adoptive parents before deciding to adopt a child. Another part of this step is asking yourself (and your partner) a couple of questions: Do you want to adopt a newborn or an older child? Would you like to adopt one domestically or internationally? Are you and your partner willing to adopt a child of a different race and/or ethnicity?

2.     Work With Agencies and Attorneys

This is to help you prepare all the necessary paperwork and fulfill the legal requirements. Such requirements may include a homestudy. A homestudy is when a social worker evaluates your home life and background. If you want to adopt internationally, you have to contact several adoption agencies, which can be either public or private. Each one has its own benefits, so it is recommended to do your research before making a decision.



3.     Wait

Once you have chosen an agency, you may be invited to participate in an agency-sponsored orientation session. During the orientation, you and other applicants will learn about the procedures and available children. You will also receive the application forms, which will be reviewed by the agency to determine if they will accept you as a client.

After you have completed the homestudy, you will have to wait for a certain period before you can meet your child. This will depend on the prospective parents’ ages, family structure, local legal requirements, and more. International adoption often takes less than two years, whereas domestic adoption can take three months or three years.

4.     Undergo the Legal Procedures

The child lives with you for six months before the adoption is finalized legally. However, this period may vary depending on your state or area. Before the adoption is finalized, the agency will provide you with supportive services. The social worker may drop by your house to see if the child is well-cared for, as well as to write their court reports. For international adoptions, it will be finalized depending on the child’s type of visa and your local area’s laws.

5.     Prepare Your Home

Prepare your home once it is certain that the baby or toddler will be part of your family. Depending on your child’s age, you might need to buy or borrow clothes and other things for your baby or toddler.


Families need to think carefully about adopting a baby or an older child. They also have to ensure that their household is safe and comfortable for the child to live in. Since adoption is permanent, families need to treat their adopted child as if it’s their own.