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Requirements to Adopt a Child in Washington, D.C.

If you are thinking about growing your family through adoption in Washington, D.C., it’s important to know whether or not you will meet D.C.’s adoption requirements. If you wish to adopt in the nation’s capital, it’s not necessary to have a prestigious career or a hefty bank account, but you will be required to meet a few qualifications for adoption to ensure that you are capable of providing a child with a safe, well-prepared home. While this article makes no guarantee that you will or won’t be able to adopt in Washington, D.C., we’ve answered a few of the most popular questions about adoption requirements in D.C. to help you get an idea:

How old do you have to be to adopt in Washington, D.C.?

There is no adoption age limit in the District of Columbia. It is important to note, though, that not only should a hopeful adoptive parent be a legal adult (meaning at least 18 years of age), but he or she should have a stable job, a steady income, and be at a place in life where they can afford to take time off from work to take care of a child’s needs. Different adoption professionals often also have their own established age requirements for adoption in D.C.

Do you have to be married to adopt in the District of Columbia?

No, there are no marriage requirements for adoption in Washington, D.C. You can be single or married to adopt in D.C., although it’s important to note that, if you are married, you must petition jointly with your spouse (unless your spouse is the child’s biological parent, as in a stepparent adoption). As a national adoption agency, though, American Adoptions must satisfy the adoption requirements of every state. For this reason, we currently only work with couples who have been married for at least two years, although exceptions can be made in some circumstances.

Can a felon adopt a child in Washington, D.C.?

While it may seem like a simple question, the answer to whether or not someone who has been convicted of a felony can adopt is actually somewhat complicated. If the crime involved any type of child abuse or domestic violence, it is highly unlikely that you would be cleared to adopt in the District of Columbia — or anywhere else. However, it’s possible that if the felony was of a different nature, you may be able to talk to your social worker and explain what happened, what you’ve learned, and how you’ve changed since committing the crime. If your social worker feels that you’ve made legitimate efforts to fix your mistakes, it’s possible that you may still meet the adoption requirements in D.C.

What are the emotional requirements to adopt a child in D.C.?

If you meet the legal requirements for adoption in the District of Columbia, it’s important to think about whether or not you are emotionally prepared as well. If you are thinking of adopting a child, you should ask yourself:

  • Are you and your spouse (and the rest of your family, if applicable) on the same page about adopting?

  • If you and your spouse struggled with infertility, is this something that you have grieved completely and moved on from?

  • How do you plan to tell your loved ones about your decision to adopt a child?

  • Have you come to understand and accept that there will be emotional lows as well as highs throughout the adoption process?

If you and your spouse are both confident in the answers to all of the above questions and feel ready to begin the adoption process, congratulations! Getting to this point is not always an easy or simple journey, but we promise you it will be so worthwhile.

Requirements to Adopt a Child from the D.C. Foster Care System

As a private domestic adoption agency, American Adoptions is not affiliated with the foster care system in the District of Columbia. However, it’s a system we’re very passionate about. To become a foster parent or adopt from the foster care system in Washington, D.C., you must meet the following adoption requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old

  • Complete a minimum of 30 hours of training

  • Be a legal resident of the United States, although you do not have to be a U.S. citizen

There are approximately 900 foster children in D.C. alone, and each one of them could use your help. You can be single or married and a home owner or a home renter, and it isn’t necessary that you be wealthy or elite. All that matters is that you can provide a safe and loving home for a child in need.

To learn more about Washington, D.C., adoption requirements for our agency and whether or not you meet them, please contact American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION. 

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