There are hundreds of thousands of children waiting to be adopted in the United States alone, but many people interested in caring for these kids are unaware of the strict processes and procedures associated with adopting. There are plenty of rules and regulations in place to ensure children are sent to caring homes with their best interests in mind, which makes the process a long and difficult one most of the time. Whether you’re interested in the best adoption agencies for birthmothers, or wanting to adopt a child in need, understanding the child welfare system is a great first step.
Not just anyone can apply to adopt a child; there are certain requirements you must meet to be eligible to care for a child in the U.S. First, you must be a U.S. citizen. If you’re not married, then you have to be at least 25 years old, and if you are married then you and your spouse will have to adopt the child in joint custody. There are also required background checks, fingerprinting to check criminal records, and an observation and evaluation of your home to make sure it’s suitable for children. If you meet these requirements, then you can apply to adopt, which incurs a $775 fee.
Most agencies have a list of available children and can give you a basic idea of their personalities in a short description. If you want to know more about the child, then you can request information from the agency, but be aware that some of the information might be confidential or reserved only for families who are serious about adopting the child. Some parents looking to take in a new child worry that the birth parents might show up and want their son or daughter returned, but rest assured this is not legally allowed. Children awaiting adoption have typically been relinquished to the state already.
It can take a long time to have a child enter your home when you’re adopting, and the timeline can vary greatly. For example, to adopt a baby it can take anywhere from two to seven years. All adoptions require a waiting period before a child is placed in a home, and there are also post-placement interviews and evaluations to ensure the child is safe and happy.
Adopting a child can be a long, arduous task, but knowing how the process works can make it easier.