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How Long Does it Take to Adopt a Child?

Factors Influencing the Length of the Adoption Process

If you are considering adoption, you may be preparing for one of the most beautiful journeys of your life.

With such a large step, it is normal to be curious about the average length of the adoption process. While many factors can influence how long it takes to adopt a child, the most important might be the professional you choose to work with. You can get a free consultation with an adoption coordinator and learn more about starting your family.

Or call 1-800-ADOPTION.

This guide will also help you understand adoption wait times.

How Long Does it Take to Adopt a Child?

Our adoption wait times are currently an average of 12 months. Every adoption process is unique, and your circumstances, the details of the prospective birth mother’s life, and the adoption agency you work with will impact the length of the adoption process.

While the agency is only one-third of the equation, it can have an outsized impact on how long it takes to adopt a baby, for better or for worse. That’s why one of your biggest reasons for selecting a particular adoption professional should be how long it will take for you to adopt a child with them.

If you're a prospective birth mother reading this and want more information on the process for placing your child for adoption, you can find our complete guide here. You can also get help from a professional today by clicking here.

How Long You’ll Wait to Adopt a Child

Here are the four biggest factors in determining your wait time to be selected by a prospective birth mother:

1. Advertising Budget

As an adoptive family, you will work with an agency to create a family profile that is shown to prospective birth mothers. The time between completing your profile and being selected by a prospective birth mother can be the most challenging wait. The way your agency gets your profile out there, which is called “advertising” in adoption, will affect the length of the adoption process.

Advertising is the most important contributing factor in an adoption professional’s average adoption wait times. The more money spent on advertising per adoptive family, the more exposure they will have to prospective birth parents.

Each agency operates differently in this area. American Adoptions places a high value on adoption advertising, and your family profile is easily accessible at the top of search results because of our efforts. To get the same exposure elsewhere, you would need to join the waiting list at 25 other agencies at the same time.

We are also a national adoption agency, which means we work across the country to find the best adoption opportunity for you. This nationwide scope, combined with our large investment in advertising, tends to create a shorter wait time for our adoptive families.

Other adoption professionals do not work nearly as hard on their advertising efforts. They do this to cut costs and present families with a lower overall cost of adoption. It’s up to each family to decide if that lower cost is worth a much longer average length of time for the adoption process, which is the most likely result with a low advertising budget.

2. Number of Active Adoptive Families

Another factor in determining how long it takes to adopt a child is the number of active adoptive families compared to the total number of adoptions a professional completes annually.

For example:

Adoption Professional A has 100 active adoptive families and completes 100 adoptions per year, giving them a ratio of 1:1.

Adoption Professional B has 200 active adoptive families and completes 50 adoptions per year, giving them a ratio of 4:1.

Therefore, Adoption Professional A monitors their completed adoptions with the number of adoptive families they let join, while Adoption Professional B lets in four adoptive families for every one adoption they complete.

From this example, Adoption Professional A would be a better choice for a prospective adoptive family concerned about a long average length of adoption process.

American Adoptions gives you the transparency you deserve by providing realistic wait times based on the ratio of waiting adoptive families and prospective birth mothers.

3. Your Adoption Plan

The more flexible a family’s adoption plan, the more exposure they will have with expectant mothers, which will help reduce their adoption process length, on average.

For example, if a family is only open to adopting a Caucasian child, their exposure will be limited to a smaller number of prospective birth mothers. If another family is open to children of Caucasian, Caucasian/Hispanic and Hispanic backgrounds, their adoption professional would be able to show their profile to more women looking for an adoptive family because their adoption plans would match.

If you have certain preferences in your adoption plan, it is important to discuss these with any adoption professional you are interested in, as these preferences could dramatically affect how long it takes to adopt.

Prospective birth moms, did you know you can create a personalized adoption plan today? Fill out this form to connect with a professional to learn more.

4. Understand You Can Only Do So Much

As stated in the previous three principles, there are many steps an adoptive family can take to help limit how long adoption takes. However, all families must understand that no matter what they do, their wait will still be unpredictable.

Birth mothers choose certain adoptive families for numerous reasons, from the way the adoptive father may remind her of her own father, to the fact that the adoptive family already has children and she wants her child to have older siblings. The reasons certain families are chosen ahead of others are unique to each birth mother.

Adoptive families should go into the adoption process knowing that their wait is somewhat unpredictable, even when working with an agency that uses best practices to shorten how long it takes to adopt a child. It’s best to spend your time trying not to worry if their wait takes a little longer than expected.

If you have more questions about how long the adoption process takes, you can get free information here or call 1-800-ADOPTION now.

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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