Step 1: Getting Started
You have made the decision to adopt. You will need to contact an agency licensed in your state about completing your adoption home study, and ask questions
. Choosing the right agency will make a difference in your adoption journey. We are also happy to help you any way we can, as children are waiting for their "Forever Families". Please use the Registration Form
to make yourself known to us and sign up to receive our weekly mailings. A Family for Every Child serves children and families nationally.
Step 2: Initial Orientation
This is an orientation meeting where you will be given a basic understanding of:
- The Adoption Program, policies and procedures of the Adoption Agency
- Who are the children; the needs and characteristics of children available for adoption through state foster care systems.
- Overview of attachment, separation, grief and loss, abuse, neglect or traumas that children have experienced
- The role and responsibility of adoptive parents
- The importance of cultural and ethnic identity to the child
- The importance of birth parents
- The process of what you will need to go through and the next steps on your journey
- Background checks
- Parent Packet Application Process
- Overview of Home Study/Assessment
- The length of the process with approximate timelines
- Rights and responsibilities of the adoptive family and the Adoption Agency
- Overview of family selection /matching process
Step 3: Adoptive Parent Training
Each state requires training to become an adoptive parent, it varies by state. The training sessions vary by area/location, 4 to 10 weeks, or weekend sessions. You will want to check into what is available in your area. Check out our training page
The training sessions are designed to:
- Prepare prospective parents to better understand a child who comes out of the foster care system.
- Prepare you for adoption
- Challenge you to grow and develop as a parent
- Help you consider; what type of child can I successfully parent? Am I able to parent a child who has been neglected and/or abused to some degree?
Step 4: Parent Application Process
This is where you will want to narrow down the agency that you will choose to go with to complete your Home Study Process. You will want to make sure that you feel comfortable with the agency that you choose. The steps for each agency may differ in training, timelines, and when items need to be completed and returned to proceed to the next step. The application will often include:
- Reference letters
- Fingerprint/criminal history background checks on each applicant
- Financial documents
- Medical Reports
- Marriage and/ or Divorce Decree
- Biography/life sketch
- Child preferences
- What brought you to adoption
Step 5: Home Study Process
A Home Study is a report that is required to determine the eligibility of adoptive parents. A Home Study can only be used for one adoption (sibling groups are considered one if done at the same time).
Home Studies are kept confidential and are only shared with professionals involved with the adoption.
Fees for Home Studies
vary from each agency.
This is the time that you will meet your adoption worker, who will write your home study. Click here
to view the profiles of our Adoption Workers. She/he will meet with you in your home to talk about your personal history, family relationships, what brought you to the decision of adoption, and the supports/resources available to you. They will determine if your home is safe and has sufficient space for adopted child/children. This step will help you and the agency make the best possible decisions about whether placement of child/children will work out and to determine the characteristics of the children whom you will be most successful parenting. Once information is gathered and interviews have taken place with the adoption worker there may be a time of waiting; the home study /assessment will need to be written, during this step of your journey please try to be patient. While you wait for the home study process to be completed we recommend that families do some reading, research and connect with other adoptive parents or support groups to prepare for the next phases of the adoption process.
Step 6: Matching/Selection
During the matching/selection phase you and the agency you have chosen work together to find the child/children that will be the best match for our family. We have a Matching Assistance Program to help families in the matching/selection process, this is for families throughout the U.S. Learn more about our Matching Assistance Program...
We pride ourselves on having a current and reliable web listing of children waiting for their adoptive family. The matching process can be very challenging and frustrating. Many families have a difficult time finding children to submit on as well as being considered and notified by the caseworkers. We encourage families to be patient and to not lose hope. Every state differs in how they make the selection of where to place children. In some states the caseworker of the child makes the decision, in other states it is decided by a committee of people. Understand who will be submitting our home study on children (you, your adoption worker, etc) and how often. In some cases you will be given a copy of your home study to submit on children, and some agencies prefer that they submit your home study. The term "submitting on a child" means to give the child's social worker your paperwork, showing that you feel you are a good match. Some agencies will submit on a child/children out of state and other agencies will only submit on children in your state. Out-of-state adoption can be more work than in-state adoption. For details, see our Heart Gallery FAQ and tutorial on the ICPC
Step 7: Placement
This is when you have been selected as the "Forever Family" for a child/children.
- Make sure you have the necessary information about the child/children
- Make sure your resources are in place ahead of time
- Talk with schools, counselors, therapist, physicians, dentist, child care, and support groups
Post placement reports are required until the adoption is finalized. These reports may be done by both your adoption worker and/or another social worker. The number of post placement visits/reports varies depending on the state requirements.
Are you ready to start? A child is waiting for their "Forever Family" you could be the one to make a difference.