How long does the adoption process take?

How long does the adoption process take?

Best Answers

  • 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.

  • Answer ✓

    Unfortunately, there is no exact time frame. Just like every pregnancy is different, so is every adoption. Depending on how you plan on adopting will also depend on your timeframe.

    For a domestic adoption, the process can take anywhere from 6 months to 6 years. I only say 6 years because we waited 6 years to be matched with our son’s birth mom. In initial paperwork, background check, home study and just being ready to be looked at took approximately 6 months. Again, a lot of this will depend on your agency and your state’s requirements. For us, the paperwork wasn’t the hardest part, it was creating a portfolio for the birth moms to look at that took the most time.

    For international adoption, the process can take even longer. You usually are not waiting for a birth mom to pick you, but the overall process usually takes longer. You will be required to fill out a lot of the same paperwork but also a little more paperwork for international adoptions. Most countries will also require you to stay in their country for a specific amount of time. This also means if you do not have a passport, you will be required to obtain one, which can also take time.

    The best advice I can give you is to be patient. I know it sounds easier said than done but it is worth it in the end! Make sure to check with your local adoption agency to help you choose what adoption is right for your family.

    If you would like more information about the international adoption process check it out here.  

    For more information on the domestic adoption process check it out here.

  • Answer ✓
    If I knew the answer to that question, I would have saved myself so many tears! As a person who loves to think they are in control, being a parent waiting to adopt is so many emotions. I was going to type "hard," but I don't think that begins to cover it. There are really high highs (when you think you are about to get matched, when you are matched!, when you think you've picked up on God giving you signs, it is crazy the things I have convinced myself of) and really low lows (plans falling through, watching others get matched, going to your friend's baby's 1st birthday). 

    So the short answer is there is no answer. It could be a week, or it could be a little over 3 years (our current situation). And believe me, I have heard so many stories of families waiting much longer, so I am not asking for pity. My advice to other waiting families is this. First - you are not alone! I know that in and of itself doesn't help much, but I like to picture this. On my worst day, I picture myself sitting in a really large hole. Some people who don't understand what this wait feels like, stand at the top of this hole and shout down to me things they think may help. "Your baby is coming soon." "This is all happening for a reason." Sure, they mean these things with the best of intentions, but they really don't do much to ease my sadness.  But then, I look to my left and my right, and see I am surrounded by people who are also waiting. They are in the hole with me. They truly understand how I am feeling and we are in it together. And this is my second piece of advice. Cultivate  a network of people who have waited or are still waiting. For me, I have been lucky enough to have found these people close to me and we can meet in person. Some people prefer to find  people online - whatever works for you! These are your people. These people know, more than your well-meaning family and friends, how the waiting feels. Don't go through the wait alone. The best thing I have done through our wait is connect with others who get it. 

    Naturally the next question may be, but what if these other waiting families get picked before me? My gosh, it still hurts. I wish I could say I am completely selfless and just so genuinely happy for the family that is picked, and truly I am happy for them. But it hurts. There are more tears and I ask myself "Why wasn't it us?" But with time the tears stop, your friendship continues, you focus on how the process worked for them and you hold onto hope that the adoption will work for you.  Your time is coming - and it is! We just don't know exactly when. 
  • Answer ✓
    One of the most common questions that I get as an adoption advocate is how long is the process. A lot of times, people also ask how long their ICPC stay will be if that is applicable of course. The short answer, and also the most frustrating answer, is that there's simply no good answer. Everyone is going to experience a different process. The only way the timeline is more defined is when the adoption is of a child who is either already legally free to adopt, or if the child is someone that you know like a relative.

     It's a child has already been born then the process can go a little bit smoother with an actual timeline. However, it's not always as easy as that either. My husband and I adopted a relative in 2015. For some reason, our background checks just took forever to come back. If they hadn't, the process would have gone way smoother and been way shorter. It will also depend on the agency that you were using and their specific timelines and availability. Sometimes you get lucky and they are just totally on top of things. Sometimes they are completely overwhelmed and you feel like you'll never get your home study back.

    If you are waiting for a match, it is good to ask your agency how many children they match typically in a year. You can also ask them if they have an idea of a time line. Unfortunately, these timelines just very and can never really be guaranteed. It really just depends on how many people place their children for adoption. Foster care adoption tends to be a bit faster if the children are already legally free for adoption. If someone is seeking foster care adoption and the children still are not legally free in their parents have parental rights still, the process of obtaining TPR can take years. International Adoption typically can take years as well just because policies between various countries are constantly changing.

    All the answers above give great ideas on timelines. However, I just wanted to know to expect the unexpected. You might be pleasantly surprised. However you might have a longer wait than you thought ahead of you. Adoption is about accepting that the journey is unknown but the reward is great. Best of luck!

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