One of the most common questions we hear from prospective adoptive families is “How long does adoption take?” Unfortunately, “I have no idea,” admits Dean Kirschner, Ph.D., LCSW-C. Adoption can be a lengthy process and it’s truly different for every family. There are several factors that can affect your unique timeline. So, let’s take a look at some of the circumstances that may impact the adoption process.
How Long Does Adoption Take? It Depends on Several Factors
“The wait is typically between two and seven years for a healthy infant,” according to the National Adoption Center. Though some adoptions can be quicker. It all depends on several factors.
- Family Assessment and Home Study: The home study is to “screen in” a family – rather than “screen out.” Still, this process can be scary, stressful, and time consuming for a family longing to bring a child into their home. According to the California Department of Social Services, “it will take anywhere from six months to a year to complete an adoption family assessment.” It is a comprehensive process that involves meeting with a highly trained adoption social worker who conducts a series of interviews with a prospective family and their references to screen the family’s readiness for adoption. The social worker will determine the family’s suitability as adoptive parents by interviewing the family and assessing family interactions, inspecting the home, running criminal background checks, collecting medical and financial documents, and discussing the family’s plans for raising the baby. The whole process also requires the adoptive family to submit a number of documents. Maryland allows 90 days after all documents have been submitted to complete a home study.
- Adoption Plan: “Sometimes, the wait time can be dramatically affected by your own personal desires and wants in your adoption plan,” writes Jason Granillo, Adoption Network. When creating your unique adoption plan, you will be asked to make several important decisions about your future baby, such as race, gender, and age, as well as whether you prefer domestic or international adoption and whether you are looking for an open, semi-open, or closed adoption. The more rigid your adoption plan criteria, the longer the process can take. Conversely, more flexibility often means a speedier process and a shorter adoption wait time. “Take a look and re-evaluate what is important to you in your adoption preferences and talk with your adoption professional for guidance,” advises Granillo. “It may be that the perfect child for your family is one that you never expected.”
- Adoption Pool: No matter what you do, your wait time is entirely dependent on the number of children currently available for adoption. So, your wait time will still be unpredictable.
- The Birth Mother: The matching and placement phase can be full of ups and downs and, ultimately, your wait time is reliant on a birth mother choosing your family. Just like prospective adoptive families are asked to create an adoption plan outlining their preferences, so too are birth mothers asked to create an adoption plan outlining their preferences.
Want to Know More about the Adoption Process?
Adoption Makes Family is here to help. We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland and our adoption professionals have many years of experience in adoption services. Each social worker is highly trained and experienced to assist prospective adoptive parents, providing counseling, adoption education, and placement services. We are prepared to meet your adoption needs in a personal, compassionate and professional manner. Our primary goal is to help you through the adoption process, making it more manageable.
24-Hour Hotline 410-683-2100
If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online contact form.
- “Adoption Cost and Timing Survey 2014-2015.” Adoptive Families, 24 Oct. 2016, www.adoptivefamilies.com/resources/adoption-news/adoption-cost-and-timing-2014-2015/.
- “Adoptions in America are declining.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 24 June 2017, www.economist.com/news/united-states/21723876-meanwhile-more-children-need-foster-care-adoptions-america-are-declining.
- “Adoption Study Discusses Current State of Adoption.” National Council for Adoption, 15 Feb. 2017, www.adoptioncouncil.org/blog/2017/02/adoption-study-discusses-current-state-of-adoption.
- Crary, David. “As Number of Adoptions Drops, Many US Agencies Face Strains.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-york/articles/2017-04-30/as-number-of-adoptions-drops-many-us-agencies-face-strains.
- “FAQs.” National Adoption Center, www.adopt.org/faqs.
- “How Long Does It Take To Adopt A Child.” Adoption Network, www.adoptionnetwork.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-adopt-a-child.