How to Adopt a Child? The Process Explained

Are you planning to adopt a child?

You can help children in foster care find a stable and loving family through the adoption process. Even when you’re willing, a hurdle that might discourage you is the lack of knowledge on how to adopt a child. Fortunately, it’s simpler than you think.

With this guide, you’ll learn how long does it take to adopt a child and the other processes involved. Read on to learn about the processes and challenges ahead.

Educate Yourself

You have plenty of resources available online when you’re planning to adopt. The costs, timing, and requirements depend on the type of adoption you opt for. Here are some types excluding step-parent adoption:

Foster Care Adoption

This is where you adopt a child from a foster care agency, whether it’s a state, provincial, or local institution. A public or private agency completes the adoption process directly. This includes the department of human services or social services.

When adopting this way, know that most children in foster care experienced neglect, abuse, and trauma. Most children waiting in these institutions are eight years old.

You might ask, “how much does it cost to adopt a child from foster care?” It can range between free and $2,500.

Depending on your state, you can reimburse the nonrecurring adoption costs for children with special needs. It depends on certain factors, such as the severity of their condition.

Foster parents or relatives adopt children in foster care. Some people choose to become foster parents before adopting. If you do, know that it’s not a guarantee that you can adopt a child or any child for that matter.

Domestic Private Adoption

Private and licensed adoption agencies supervise these types of adoption. In most cases, the available children are younger or have disabilities. It costs more than foster care adoption. However, some agencies offer sliding fee scales.

Agencies recruit parents based on factors like religious affiliations. For infants, their birth mother will choose their adoptive parents. It takes anywhere between six months and a few years to complete.

International Adoption

Are you looking for ways on how to adopt a child internationally? You have two choices: through a lawyer or an international adoption agency. After all, many countries allow American citizens to adopt their children.

Available children range from infants to teenagers. They have varying health conditions depending on how their birth parents treated them. The costs can get as high as $60,000, depending on travel expenses and home country.

The country and agency have certain age requirements for adoption. Most accept parents between ages 25 and 45. Some countries won’t accept single parents, so keep that in mind.

As for the process duration, it ranges between six months and several years. The child’s health, age, and current political climate of the country play huge roles.

Independent Adoption

Adoption through individuals is possible through attorneys or adoption counselors. Take note that not all states allow private adoptions. It’s because most children adopted through this process are infants.

The costs depend on the associated fees for finding birth mothers and attorney fees. Some birth mothers will require you to shoulder their birthing expenses before letting you adopt the child. They often prefer younger, well-off married couples.

Tax Credits or Exemptions

American families adopting a child with special needs usually get an adoption tax credit. This applies even when you have no adoption expenses. It could help offset the costs if you spent anything to adopt a child. If you file your personal taxes with a tax professional or CPA, then they might be able to find further tax credits and/or deductions, ensuring that you are taking every financial advantage available to you.

Think of Your Payment Methods

Most adoption agencies won’t charge you for adopting children from foster care. However, you must do your homework on certain areas like how old to adopt a child. Since adoption is a legal process, you’ll need help from a family law lawyer.

Here are some payment methods for adopting a child:


Some banks and institutions offer specific loans for adoption. Each has its set of requirements for eligibility and interest rates.

If you can find nonprofits or foundations, you can get low- or no-interest adoption loans. These become options after approving your home study.


Foundations catering to adoptions offer special financial aid to aspiring adoptive parents. They grant them through an application process. You must use them to adopt a child, but you need not pay them back for it.

Employer Assistance

Certain employers offer adoption benefits for their employees. It’s either direct cash assistance or reimbursement of adoption costs. It also covers paid or unpaid leave associated with the adoption process.

Contact a Local Agency

To narrow your choices, it’s best to start with local agencies. It won’t matter whether it’s public or private. Search for these agencies using search engines like Google.

Otherwise, contact adoption specialists to direct you to local public agencies. If you prefer private agencies instead, they also have contact information for the best ones within your area.

Attend an Orientation Meeting

After contacting a local adoption or foster care provider, they’ll invite you to an orientation meeting. It allows you to learn more about various topics. This includes the following:

  • Foster care children
  • Adoptive and foster parent responsibilities
  • Adoption or fostering process
  • Things to do after the adoption

When attending these meetings, you must have an open heart and mind. Listen to the presenters and ask questions whenever you don’t understand something. Take some notes on important matters like contact information, the next meeting date, and what to do after.

During the orientation, you’ll hear the answers to common questions like, “how hard is it to adopt a child?” You’ll hear the challenges associated with the role of a foster parent. It’s natural if you feel conflicted since child adoption is a permanent responsibility.

At this point, you need not make major decisions. Take the time to mull things over. After that, decide whether you’ll continue to become an adoptive parent.

Learn How to Adopt a Child Now!

These are some considerations when learning how to adopt a child. Never get into the process without knowing what you’re getting into. Use the information above to guide your decision better.

Is this guide informative? Read our other posts today!

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