The Four Steps of Adoption

Completing the Adoption Process

3. Be prepared to wait. Adopting a child always requires a waiting period. If you want to adopt a Caucasian infant, be prepared to wait at least a year from the time the home study is completed, and more frequently two to five years. It's difficult to estimate the waiting period because birth parents usually select and interview the family they want for their child. Applicants wishing to adopt African-American infants may have a shorter wait — probably less than six months. If you want to adopt a child with special needs, you can review photolistings to learn more about waiting children who might be right for your family.

International adoptions may take a year or more, but the wait and the process will be somewhat more predictable. For any type of international adoption, even after a child is found you may have to wait weeks or months while final arrangements are made.

4. Complete the legal procedures. After a child is placed with you, you must fulfill the legal requirements for adoption. You might need to hire an attorney at this point, if you haven't already.

Usually a child lives with the adoptive family for at least six months before the adoption is finalized legally, although this period varies according to state law. During this time before the adoption is finalized, the agency will provide supportive services. The social worker may visit several times to make sure the child is well cared for and to write up the required court reports. After this period, the agency will submit a written recommendation of approval of the adoption to the court, and you or your attorney can then file with the court to complete the adoption.

For international adoptions, finalization of the adoption depends on the type of visa the child has, and the laws in your state. The actual adoption procedure is just one of a series of legal processes required for international adoption. You must also fulfill the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service's requirements and then proceed to naturalize your child as a citizen of the United States.

Source: National Adoption Information Clearinghouse

Content courtesy of American Baby.