How long does adoption take?

How long does adoption 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.


  • edited April 23 Answer ✓
    There's no way to know for sure how long it will take to adopt a child. Let's say we are talking specifically about domestic infant adoption. I know of a couple who were matched with an expectant mother within two months of completing their home study, and they took their baby home five days later. I know another couple who waited for two years before they matched with a girl early on in her pregnancy, and they waited almost 8 months for the baby to be born. I know another couple who hasn't been matched after six years of waiting. 

    Coming to the decision to adopt takes time, and even after that You cannot be officially 'waiting to be matched' with an expectant mother until your home study is complete. This can take several weeks. 

    Most of the adoptive couples I know personally waited between one and two years to be placed with their child after their home study was completed. Then even after you are placed with, the adoption isn't typically finalized until 3-9 months later, depending on the state laws and the circumstances. It can seem like quite the lengthy process! 

    There are a few things you can do to help with the wait. The most important thing is to keep yourself busy. Sitting around at home waiting for the phone to ring will make the wait seem like an eternity. Spend time with friends and family, be productive at work, and explore new hobbies. For some people, making things for their future child or preparing a gender-neutral nursery is a good way to channel their excitement and cope with the wait. For others, this is hard. You just have to find what works best for you. 

    The length of time it takes to adopt a child definitely varies from person to person, and there's no formula to know how long it will take for you. Be patient, stay busy, and try and enjoy life as it is while you wait. 
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