11/14/2022 AWFC

Adoption 101: How Long Does an Adoption Take?

One of the most common questions hopeful adoptive parents face when going through an adoption process is, “How long does adoption take?” The truth is there is no set answer. Adopting a child is a lengthy process that requires several legal steps, family cooperation, financial commitments, and proper child placement before being finalized through a court. 

However, don’t let these conditions interfere with your hope of adopting a child. While some factors remain beyond your control, you can still make informed decisions that shorten the waiting period. In this article, we will take a closer look at the elements that influence the length of an adoption process and provide tips to shorten a long adoption process.

Why Do Adoptions Take So Long

The answer to the question, “How long does an adoption take?” varies. Generally speaking, adoption waiting periods can vary from a few months to a few years. A lot goes on behind the scenes, and there are many moving parts. An adoption center follows extensive government regulations. Applicants must complete several background checks and clearances. If you are adopting from foster care, you must complete training programs. The adoption process may be extensive, but remember, it’s all geared toward supporting the child, the expectant mother, and the parent(s) hoping to adopt. 

For domestic adoptions, you can expect approval within six months to two years. However, this number varies and is likely to be different in your case. To better assess adoption timelines, let’s explore domestic and foster adoption in the next section. 

Domestic Care Adoptions

Domestic adoption is the placement of U.S. infants and children for adoption by their birth parents. It is important to keep in mind that domestic cases, including background checks, initial placement, and consent, are regulated by state law and policy. Doing so can help you gain a better assessment of your waiting period. Here is what a domestic adoption timeline looks like:

  • Home study sessions: Many adoption laws require applicants to complete a pre-adoption assessment in the form of a home study. The purpose is to assess if your home is suitable for raising a child. You can speed up the process by gathering the necessary documents and completing all required paperwork. 
  • Matching and placement: How long you wait for a match will depend on whether you are working with an adoption center or completing an independent adoption. If you are working with a center, you can expect an average wait time between 12-18 months. If you’re hoping to adopt a newborn, the waiting period for placement will depend on how far along an expectant mother is in her pregnancy. 
  • Finalization: Before finalization takes place, adoptive guardians must consent to post-placement visits where a caseworker evaluates how well a child is adjusting to their new home. Generally speaking, you can expect a finalization six months after placement. 

Foster Care Adoptions

Another option you can look into is adopting a child from foster care. While foster and domestic adoption share similarities in regard to qualifications, there are some differences to be aware of when it comes to timing:

  • Training requirements: Texas applicants are required to complete several hours of free training to become educated on topics involving child abuse, neglect, and the effects of fostering on a child.
  • Possible reunification: It is vital to remember that not all foster children will become available for adoption. If a child’s birth parents are committed to reunification, then it is safe to assume that adoption is unlikely. In this case, consider a foster child who has been cleared for adoption or consider whether becoming a foster parent is the better choice for you. 

How To Reduce an Adoption Waiting Period

There are several steps you can take to minimize the amount of time you wait for an adoption opportunity. For starters, re-examine your adoption preferences and remain open to other options. Some adoptive families have strict preferences when it comes to the gender of a child. Other families operate on a limited budget or prefer to adopt a child with the same familial religious background.  

While restrictions and preferences are understandable, it is important to remain flexible and consider other alternatives. Limiting your options pushes you into a corner with fewer opportunities for developing a family. Broaden your desires and examine other opportunities to reduce the waiting period for an adoption.

Contact a World for Children

How long does adoption take? As you can see, the answer depends on several factors, not the least of which includes the type of adoption you pursue. A World For Children is ready to address any concerns or questions you may have about starting your foster-to-adoption process. As a licensed non-profit agency, our passion lies in our commitment to providing a second opportunity for neglected children and their foster families to live fulfilling lives. 

Check out our programs to gain a better understanding of our commitment to supporting this rewarding experience. Contact us if you have any questions.

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