Adoption Checklist

Understand the Basics

If you are thinking about adopting a child, you may want answers to a few basic questions about the adoption process, the parties involved, and the costs of adoption:

  • Who May Adopt?
  • Who May be Adopted
  • Who May Place a Child for Adoption

Determine What Type of Adoption is Right for You

There are a number of possible adoption types available for parents seeking to adopt a child. Prospective parents can work with an adoption agency, or can go through an "independent" adoption, with no agency involvement. An adoption can be "open" or "closed," depending upon how much contact between the birth parent(s) and adoptive parent(s) is desired.

Learn more about Types of Adoption

Participate in The "Home Study" Process

All states require prospective adoptive parents to participate in a "home study." This process has three purposes: to educate and prepare the adoptive family for adoption, to gather information about the prospective parents that will help a social worker match the family with a child whose needs they can meet, and to evaluate the fitness of the adoptive family.

Learn more about The Home Study Process

Find a Child Available for Adoption

Whether you are looking to adopt a child in the U.S. or from a foreign country, you have a number of options in locating a child for adoption. There are also a number of steps you can take to obtain background information on children who are available for adoption.

Obtain Consent to Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights

"Consent" in the adoption context refers to the agreement by a birth parent to relinquish the child for adoption and to release all rights and duties with respect to that child. Each state has laws related to who must consent, how consent may be given, and when it may be given. Termination of parental rights ends the legal parent-child relationship between a prospective adopted child and his or her birth parent(s). Once the relationship has been terminated, the child is legally free to be placed for adoption.

Learn more about Termination of Birth Parents' Rights

Obtain Adoption Petitions and Court Approval

No matter what type of adoption you choose, eventually your adoption will need to get court approval. In most states, parents adopting a child will file an adoption "petition" in court, and may need to go through an adoption hearing before the adoption may become final.

Learn more about Adoption Court Procedures

Parenting After Adoption

After the adoption process is over, there are a number of things for new parents to keep in mind when raising an adopted child -- including what to watch for at key stages in the child's development, how to discuss adoption with the child, and how to deal with adoption-related issues that might arise at school.

Learn more about Parenting After Adoption

Adoption: More Considerations

If you are interested in adoption, the above information may not answer all of your questions. Click on the links below for specific information on the following adoption-related topics:

Questions About Adoption? Get in Touch with an Attorney

No one can ever be completely prepared to take on the responsibilities of parenthood, whether it be with a biological or adopted child. There are extra challenges, however, when it comes to adoption, from the process of locating a child to the process of obtaining court approval of the adoption. Reach out to an experienced adoption attorney to get your questions answered and to receive help with the adoption process.

Next Steps

Contact a qualified attorney specializing in adoptions.

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