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How to Adopt a Child in 7 Steps

Answering Your Questions about the Basics of Adopting a Child

Becoming a parent can take many paths. Pursuing adoption is a wonderful way to build a family, and we’re here to guide you through your journey to adopting a child.

You can call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time or click here to connect with one of our adoption professionals now. As a national adoption agency, we know the work it takes for potential adoptive families to pursue child adoption and become parents, but we also know the joy that can come from it. 

Our founder, Scott Mars, was adopted as a child, and has a personal connection to adoption, as do many of our staff members, which means you can get personal attention from professionals who have been in your shoes.

Like most families considering adopting a child, you probably have a lot of questions. We will begin to answer them below.

If you're a birth mother reading this and considering placing your child for adoption, you can find out complete guide here or click here to connect to a professional today.

How to Adopt a Child in 7 Steps

This process will look different depending on the type of adoption you choose. Here is what it will look like when you adopt a child through American Adoptions.

Step 1: Make Sure Adoption is Right for You

Adoption can turn your dream of a family into a reality. It’s OK — recommended, even — to take your time making this choice. Adopting a child will change your life. If you know that adopting a child is the next chapter of your family's story, then you are ready for step two.

Step 2: Choose the Type of Adoption

As we said above, there are several types of adoption. When adopting a child, you have to know for certain which type you want to pursue before going any further. If your dream is to adopt a newborn, then domestic infant adoption with American Adoptions is right for you.

Step 3: Choose the Adoption Agency

You’re almost there! This is the last big decision before you officially begin the process of adopting a child. There are several types of adoption agencies, and we recommend considering all of your options. 

American Adoptions is a full-service, fully-licensed domestic adoption agency. Being full-service means that we can meet your need at every step when you are going through the process to adopt a child. Fully-licensed lets you know that we are held to the highest standards of professional and ethical accountability. You can be confident your adoption will be done the right way, and we can offer you financial protection.

We’ve helped thousands of families begin through adoption. We’d love to be your adoption agency.

Step 4: Become an Active Family

Now that you’ve made all these big choices, you’re ready to become an active family. When you adopt a child through American Adoptions, you’ll have personal guidance from your adoption specialist throughout the whole journey. Don’t worry about being an adoption expert — that’s what we’re here for.

To get things going, you’ll fill out an Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ), which is essentially a document that gives you an opportunity to define how you’d like this process to go. The more open you can be, the more likely you will find a quick adoption opportunity.

Next, you will need to complete your home study for adoption. We offer home study services in most of the states we work in. However, if we don’t have in-house home study services in your location, you can use or speak to your adoption specialist about finding a service provider in your area.

While this is happening, you can also put together your adoption profile. Our media team helps you put the best version of yourself forward to prospective birth mothers through print and video profiles.

Step 5: Be Selected by a Prospective Birth Mother

Once your APQ, home study and adoptive family profile are complete, you will be an “active family,” which means your profile will be shown to prospective birth mothers. Now comes one of the most difficult steps to adopting a child: the wait.

We know you’ve waited a long time to start your family already. You deserve to hear those words “mom” or “dad” as soon as possible. You can have the shortest wait time with our agency because we put your family profile in front of more prospective birth parents.

In fact, you’d need to join more than 25 other adoption professionals at the same time to have the same exposure for your profile (here’s how much that would cost). Too often, families choose other adoption professionals who quote unrealistic wait times.

In fact, we encourage you to read this comparison between adoption agencies and consultants so that you avoid falling into any traps from professionals who promise false wait times.

Even with a shortened waiting period, it can be hard. But it’s so worth it when you get the call saying that you have been chosen to adopt a child.

Step 6: Pre-Placement Contact and Adoption Placement

Once a prospective birth mother has chosen you to adopt a child, you will usually have the opportunity to get to know her through pre-placement contact, depending on the level of openness in your adoption.

There’s a lot more to learn about this, but what you need to know now is that 90% of domestic infant adoptions are at least semi-open. This is a good thing, as it helps prospective birth mothers feel confident in their choice of adoptive parents and can become a beautiful relationship.

Then, when the time comes, you’ll get another amazing phone call: Baby is on the way. You’ll travel to the hospital where, after official consent to the adoption is given, your child will be placed with you.

Adopting a child is a long journey, and you need to savor this moment. It’s the manifestation of a dream, and it’s truly amazing.

Step 7: Post-placement and the Life Ahead

There are a few steps left to finalize the adoption. For many families, the process of waiting for ICPC can be difficult, but going with the flow and trusting your adoption professional makes a difference. Your adoption specialist will make sure everything goes smoothly post-placement.

 In a way, that’s the end of the adoption process. But it’s only the beginning of the adoption journey.

You’re parents now! That comes with all of the joys — first steps, first words, endless moments of laughter — and challenges — sleepless nights, dirty diapers, arguments — of parenthood. You’ll also, depending on your communication plan, have the chance to stay in contact with the birth mother as your child grows and thrives.

More Information on Adopting a Child

We know that’s a lot of information to take in. Adopting a child can be a challenging process, but it’s also an incredible opportunity. Most things worth doing aren’t easy, and that’s most certainly true when you want to adopt a child. We can tell you this: in the end, it will always be worth it.

To learn more about adopting a child, you can get more free information online, or contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Prospective birth mothers, remember to complete this form to speak with one of our professionals about placing a child through adoption. We know you have questions and our experienced staff can give you the answers you need to begin the life-changing journey of adoption today.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions does not allow gender specificity in adoption. Any family who wishes to be gender-specific in their adoption should contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION and ask about the possibility of an exception waiver before taking any other steps toward adoption with our agency. Any families who do receive an exception to be gender-specific may also incur an additional fee, which helps cover the additional advertising costs of such a request.

Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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