You may have already dealt with infertility, disrupted adoption opportunities, or other heartbreaks and obstacles in your journey to become a parent. But waiting is often the hardest part for hopeful adoptive families.

In the beginning stage of the adoption process, there’s so much to do; filing paperwork, completing background checks, coordinating with home study professionals and more. Then, once all of that is done, you’re left to just — wait.

Everyone’s Wait Time Will Be Different

One of the first questions that couples considering adoption ask is, “How long does it take to adopt a child?”

For some, the wait is a short one. They’re placed with a child within a few months or even weeks for a number of reasons, which could include openness to all possible situations on their APQ or accepting an already available adoption opportunity.

For others, it can take years. This is not uncommon for couples who choose to adopt internationally, are adopting through a smaller local agency that is only able to manage a few clients at a time, or for those who want to foster to adopt.

For those who adopt through American Adoptions, the average wait time until placement is 1-12 months.

Your wait time will be determined by the type of adoption you pursue, your openness to different kinds of adoption opportunities (being open to any kind of gender, race, or medical history) and more.

It’s frustrating to see others adopt quickly while you’re still waiting. Try to remind yourself not to compare your adoption experience with others’. You’re going to become a parent on your individual timeline, not someone else’s. Keep hanging on!

Why a Birth Mother Hasn’t Chosen You Yet

“Why haven’t we been picked yet?”

“Is there something wrong with our profile?”

“Are we doing enough?”

If you’re still waiting to be placed into an adoption opportunity with a potential birth mother, you may be fighting to push aside some of these questions and fears. You’ll worry that you don’t look “young enough,” or that birth mothers don’t think your home is “nice enough,” or that you don’t seem “fun enough” in your pictures.

You are absolutely enough.

Someone is going to choose you to raise her child. That’s the biggest decision that a pregnant woman can make. It’s an honor to be chosen for that monumental task, but it also means that these pregnant women have a lot to consider. Most importantly, something will just click when they see the right family for their baby.

Just because that hasn’t happened yet for you doesn’t mean that it won’t, or that you’re doing anything wrong.

How did you know that your spouse was the person that you wanted to marry? How do you know when you make a major decision? You probably just had a sensing of “knowing” that this was the right choice for you.

Pregnant women considering adoption are waiting to experience that same sense with a prospective adoptive family. Trust that there will be a potential birth mother who sees your family profile and just knows that you’re the family for her baby.

Why You’ll Be Chosen by a Birth Mother

It’s important to represent yourself accurately in your family profile because a pregnant women considering adoption will look at a family’s profile and feel a little rush of excitement when she finds something that she connects with.

She may see a family who has a strong relationship with their extended family members and be thrilled because that’s something she wants for her baby, too.

She may see a family who loves spending time outdoors, and that’s exactly the future she envisioned for her child.

She may see a family who has a quirky sense of humor and whose favorite activity is playing games together at home. She just knows that this is where she wants her child to grow up.

Pregnant women considering adoption are looking for married couples with no children, committed couples with several older siblings for their child and everything in between — there’s no way to be the “right” family for every potential birth mother. You can only be the right family for the right birth mother.

The Real Reason Why You Keep Waiting

The wait time of your adoption will vary from other adoptions. There a number of factors that can affect your wait time.

But the reason you keep waiting, despite the emotional toll that this inactive phase of the adoption process can have on you, is your desire to become a family.

When you feel like you can’t stand to wait another second, remember the child that you’re waiting for. When you’re tempted to call your Adoptive Family Specialist and cry and scream and beg, remember who you’re waiting for.

This time spent simply waiting for a phone call is one of the most difficult parts of adoption. But you’re waiting because of the years you’ll get to spend with your child.


  • You are enough.
  • The right birth mother for you will choose you.
  • Everything that can be done is already being done.

The waiting is the hardest part. Here are some tips to help you through your adoption wait as a family, and here are a few things you can do to help minimize your wait time. In the meantime, stay strong!