How long does adoption take?

How long does adoption take? 


  • There is no easy way to know exactly how long the adoption process may take. Every adoption situation is unique and come with many variables that will determine the length of time it will take to physically bring a baby or child home.

    With all adoptions (domestic, international, or foster), a home study must be completed by a licensed agency. A home study entails an in depth look at all aspects of the physical, emotional, and financial portion that comprise a family. The agency will dive into background checks, financial stability, medical records, as well as inspect physical home premises. Each area takes time to be completed. Background checks are at the mercy of the states in which they are applied for. Medical appointments are dependent on typical doctor office availability. The house portion of the home study typically are done in 2 or 3 days over a several week period, but can be done in shorter time depending on the agency or person doing the study.  In short, the home study can take place over several weeks or be expedited to be done in just days (for an additional fee).

    Once all paperwork is in order and signed by the perspective adoptive parents and the agency certifying that they have met all requirements to be considered adopt, the waiting for a match begins. While the paperwork portion is technical, this part of the process has so much variety. Essentially, perspective adoptive parents are waiting to be matched with a perspective birth mother who may or may not have already given birth to her child. It can take days or years for this match to occur.

    After the match is made and an adoption plan is in place, there are a few more things that need to occur to bring the adoption to finalization. Once the birth mother places the child with the adoptive family, there is usually a period of time called the revocation period in which the birth mother (or father) can revoke the adoption plan, have her parental rights reinstated, and decide to parent the child. This time frame varies from state to state and is not necessarily a part of every adoption. In the case of our first adoption, the birth mother’s parental rights were already terminated when we met our son, thus removing the stress of the wait period. With our second son, we had to wait ten days for the birth father’s rights to be terminated. Prior to either of our children, we were part of a disrupted adoption where the birth mother changed her mind on day seven of the ten day revocation period and decided to parent.  As you can see the revocation period varies per state and per adoption.

    At the completion of the revocation period, there are usually 3 post-adoption home visits taking place over 6-9 months to verify the well-being of the adopted child. Once this is done “paperwork ping pong” begins. The adoption paperwork is sent back and forth between a judge and the adoption agency or adoption lawyer. In some states, the adoptive family and the adopted child must appear before the judge to make the adoption final. Some states allow the lawyer to stand in for the adoptive family, and some states don’t require a physical courtroom presence at all. Whatever the requirements are, at the end of this “legal-ease” portion, the adoption a final and a “final order of adoption” is issued.


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