How Long Does It Take to Adopt A Child?

While every hopeful adoptive parent would love a quick adoption process, in most cases, the wait can be long. However, some stories end up getting passed along throughout the world of adoption. One of the best things to remember about adoption is that no two stories are alike. If you have adopted more than one child years apart, each story can be drastically different. So, how long does it take to adopt a child?

It Depends on Your Paperwork

If you have started the adoption process, you know all too well the massive amounts of paperwork required for you to adopt. Every agency has their own forms to fill out on top of the state-mandated ones. Most adoptive families first become foster families while they wait for their child to arrive. The foster approval process is long and tedious. Staying on top of your required paperwork and knowing when forms are due is essential to helping your adoption process move quickly. Set up appointments as soon as possible with medical and fingerprinting offices. You don’t have much control over the speed of paperwork once it leaves your hands.  Doing everything that you can to move paperwork along while you have it will help.

It Depends on The Legal Status of the Child

Those adoptive families interested in a newborn will have other hurdles that can affect the adoption process. Adopted newborns may have the permission of the birth mother but not the birth father. In these cases, a newborn is placed within a home as a foster child if needed. Finding birth fathers can take a long time, and having them sign the proper paperwork can take even longer. Many newborn adoptions can take longer when the birth father is not with the birth mother or is not known.

Children also can have different legal statuses when placed in the adoption process. Those that are “legally free” are children whose birth parents have relinquished their rights to parent, or a court has taken away the parent’s rights. Many children within the foster care system are not legally free and could still return to the birth parents.

It Depends on the Child’s State

The time it takes to adopt a child from another state can take longer as well. Every state has its own adoption laws. Some states have similar regulations that are relatively simple to process while others are quite different. Not only will adoptive parents need to complete the requirements for their own state, but also the state of their adopted child. Add in the distance between two states that are on opposite sides of the country, and it can delay an adoption as well.

It Depends On Your Individual Experience

Once you begin the adoption process, you will hear stories of parents who received a phone call out of the blue, when they weren’t even approved for adoption, who bring home a child that same day. These stories do give hope to adoptive parents, but they also set an unattainable bar when it comes to the timeline of adopting a child. While you may even know someone who adopted quickly, for the most part, these are very rare circumstances.

Many factors come into play with every individual adoption. Most adoptive parents will tell you that the process was longer than they expected. Again, every adoption journey is different and delayed for various reasons. However, most domestic adoptions take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Any work that you do may seem long during the adoption journey but is quickly forgotten once you bring your child home.

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