Adoption: A Guide to General Information and Support

Happy Family  running and playing together in the park

About 135,000 adoptions are finalized each year in the United States. These adoptions represent a wide range of situations and adoption types. Some of these adoptions are of infants. Others are adoptions of foster children. Children adopted internationally are included in this number. So are kinship adoptions, in which a child is adopted by a member of their biological family. People decide to pursue adoption for a variety of reasons as well. Whatever a person’s circumstances or desires, adoption can be a daunting journey. There are legal, financial, and emotional ramifications. One cause of stress is that it can be difficult to understand the process. But there are many resources available to help people through the process of adopting a child.

Getting Started

The first steps when considering adopting a child are learning about the process, identifying an agency to work with, and attending either a virtual or in-person orientation session.

The Adoption Process

Although each state has its own adoption laws, this guide by the state of Georgia has lots of information that may apply to states around the country.

What to Know Before Adopting a Child

The New York Times lists the main ways people adopt children: from foster care, through an adoption agency, through an adoption attorney, or via international adoption.

Steps to Adoption

The North American Council on Adoptable Children has compiled a thorough list of each step prospective families will go through on their adoption journey.

Preparing to Adopt a Child

Adoptive parents might want to consider having a doctor review their child’s medical records before they bring the child home so that they can properly prepare for any special care the child might require.

How to Adopt a Child in Seven Steps

Waiting is a major part of the adoption process for prospective families.

Adoption and Guardianship Assistance by State

Adoption can cost the adopting family a lot of money. Luckily, there are programs available in each state to help make the process more affordable.

Children Waiting for Adoption

Most states maintain a searchable database of children available for adoption. Here are the children waiting to be adopted in Texas.

Immigration Through Adoption

Children from other countries adopted by United States citizens must go through an immigration process to become American citizens.

Intercountry Adoption

The State Department offers resources and assistance for Americans adopting children internationally.

Home Studies

No matter what type of adoption someone decides on, each type typically requires the adopting family to complete a home study.

How to Get Your House Ready for an Adoption Home Study

Prospective adoptive parents often find the idea of a home study a little scary. These tips can help them prepare their home for the social worker’s visit.

Home Study Outline for All Social Workers

Although different states or agencies will have their own forms, reading through this can help people prepare for their home study.

What I Wish I Had Known About Adopting an Older Child

Family therapy is often recommended for those adopting older children.

Want to Adopt an Older Foster Child? Here’s What to Know, From People Who Have Been There

These stories from real people who have adopted older children will help people understand what life is like after becoming the adoptive parent of an older child.

How to Boost Your Adopted Child’s Confidence

Respecting the adopted child’s birth story and prior experiences is key to helping them build confidence.

Three Strategies for Helping Adopted Children Make and Keep Friends

Children adopted at older ages often struggle to form lasting friendships.

Strengthening Adoptive Families With Older Kids

The Annie E. Casey Foundation wrote this article describing evidence-based best practices for support and treatment for adopted older children who have residual trauma they need help dealing with.

Nine Surprising Facts About Adopting a Baby From Foster Care

The majority of children adopted straight from foster care are under the age of 3.

Adopting a Newborn From the Hospital? What to Expect and How to Prepare for Your First Hospital Adoption Experience

Adopting an infant straight from the hospital is the goal for many prospective adoptive families.

Adopting a Drug-Exposed Baby: Making the Decision

Although wanting a healthy baby is a natural impulse, adoptive families are often presented with the choice of waiting for a perfectly healthy baby or choosing to adopt an infant whose biological mother used drugs during the pregnancy.

Choosing an Adoption Professional

Adoptive family support groups have recommended this guide on how prospective adoptive families should choose the right adoption agency or attorney to work with on their path to becoming parents.

Eight Questions to Ask Before Starting the Adoption Process

Prospective adoptive families should consider their support systems, their financial resources, and how stable their lives are before beginning the process.

Finding Forever Families: A Step-by-Step Guide to Adoption

The Dave Thomas Foundation published this in-depth guide explaining the adoption process.

I Adopted a Child: Here’s What it Was Like

These women have gone through the adoptive process and share the ups and downs of the journey.

What it Was Like to Adopt a Child From Foster Care

Adopting from foster care was emotionally draining but ultimately rewarding for the writer of this article.

Helping Adopted Children Adjust and Integrate Into Your Family

Older children need to be able to share their feelings freely with the adults in their lives.

Let’s Talk About Adoption

Adoptive children have unique needs their new families need to be prepared to meet.

Blended Families: Combining Biological and Adopted Children

Families who already have biological children face additional concerns and challenges when bringing their adopted child home for the first time.

Ten Things Moms Who Adopted Their Kids Want You to Know

Every family’s adoption journey and experience is unique to them.

Pre- and Post-Adoption Support

Parents and children need ongoing support once the adoption is finalized to become a successful family unit.