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How Long Does Adoption Take?

Comparing the Wait Times For Different Types of Adoption

Adopting a baby can be one of the most beautiful, life-changing choices you’ll make. We know just how important it is for you to grow your family through adoption.

That’s why understanding adoption wait times and the factors that affect how long it takes to adopt a child will help you prepare for the journey ahead. But, how long does adoption take? We’re here to explain the different types of adoption and how adoption wait times vary based on the type of adoption you choose and the professional you work with.

If you would like to speak to an adoption professional today, then you can get more free information now when you fill out our online contact form or call us at 1-800-ADOPTION.

How Long Does it Take to Adopt a Baby?

Adoption wait times can vary depending on the type of adoption you pursue. There are many factors that affect the length of the adoption process, such as the different requirements and steps you’d need to take before finalization. Below, you can find a breakdown of how long it takes to adopt a child based on the three main types of adoption.

Domestic Infant Adoption

If you’re wondering how long it takes to adopt a child through domestic infant adoption, then adopting through our agency is typically 9-12 months. Every adoption journey is unique, and the adoption agency you work with will have a significant impact on the length of your adoption process.

When you work with American Adoptions, our national scope allows you to find more adoption opportunities in a shorter amount of time. It’s important to research your adoption agency and ask how long the adoption process takes with them before moving forward. Adoption wait times can vary drastically depending on the agency you choose to work with.

At American Adoptions, we work hard to minimize adoption wait times through:

  • Advertising to better reach prospective birth parents, which creates more adoption opportunities

  • Networking to connect with adoption professionals across the U.S.

  • National exposure by working with prospective birth parents throughout the country

  • Balance by monitoring the number of adoptions completed vs. the number of hopeful families that join our agency

  • 24/7 availability to help prospective birth parents when they need it without them having to call another agency

As the adoptive family, you can also minimize adoption wait times by being open to certain adoption situations. This includes being open to an adoption opportunity that involves a different race, certain medical histories and substance use.

We’ve been serving families for more than 30 years and know what it takes to consistently reduce wait times. When you’re wondering how long it takes to adopt a child, you’ll find comfort in knowing we can complete your adoption in the shortest amount of time

Foster Care Adoption      

If you’re wondering how long it takes to adopt a baby through foster care, then the wait times are much different compared to domestic infant adoption. Generally speaking, it takes around six months to become an approved foster parent. Once you become a foster parent, keep in mind that children in foster care don’t always become available for adoption.

Adopting from foster care can be done in two ways, each of which has a different wait time:

  • Adopting a foster child: This is when children in the foster care system cannot be reunited with their birth families and are available for adoption.

  • Fostering to adopt: When hopeful adoptive families choose to become foster parents, it means they will care for the child with the intention of adopting them if they cannot return to their birth families or a biological relative.

One of the factors that determines how long it takes to adopt a child from foster care is training. If you’re considering adopting through foster care, then you must go through some form of training. Each foster care agency has different requirements and training programs that can affect wait times.

Another factor is the reunification of a foster child with their birth family. When you’re fostering to adopt, the goal of foster care is reunification with the birth family. Because of this, you may receive several placements but find yourself waiting a long time for an adoption opportunity.

International Adoption

The wait times for international adoption can vary greatly depending on the country you adopt from. When you’re wondering how long it takes to adopt a child internationally, it can take between two and three years for placement.

During this time, you’ll need to complete the home study and dossier preparation, which can take six months to complete. There are many documents that you will need to have notarized and, in some cases, authenticated.

Some factors that impact how long it takes to adopt a child internationally include:

  • Scheduling home visits

  • Background checks

  • The country’s dossier requirements

  • Processing times

  • Referral wait times

Some families have shorter wait times than others, but it’s important to remember that every adoption journey is different. Make sure to research adoption wait times in the country you’re adopting from to ensure a stable adoption process.

Learn More about Adoption Wait Times

If you want to learn more about how American Adoptions minimizes adoption wait times, or if you’re ready to begin the adoption process, then you can fill out our contact form to get more free information now. We’re more than happy to help!


Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. 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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