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How to adopt a child in the US

The adoption process is beautiful because it can change your life and give a baby or a young child the loving family they deserve.

Whether you’re a hopeful adoptive parent or a prospective birth parent, the adoption process can be one of the most amazing things you’ll ever do. The way this experience can change not only your life, but the life of a child you love, is truly incredible.

There are many important decisions to be made, and for this reason, the adoption procedure can be lengthy.

In this article we'll explain everything you need to know regarding your beautiful family project through adoption.

WHO CAN ADOPT?

To be able to adopt in the United States, you must be a U.S. Citizen.

If you are unmarried, you must be at least 25 years old. If you are married, you must jointly adopt the child (even if you are separated but not divorced), and your spouse must also be either a U.S. citizen or have a legal residency status in the United States.

Additionally, you must meet certain requirements that will determine your suitability as a prospective adoptive parent, including criminal background checks, fingerprinting, and a home study.


HOW TO START YOUR LIFE PROJECT?

The first step is to contact an agency or an attorney who specializes in adoption.

Second, you need to be ready to undergo the scrutiny of the adoption home study. It will be necessary for the adopting couple to meet with a social worker many times so that he/she can validate your household suitability for receiving a new child.

Third, you must wait for the right prospective birth mother to come forward, or to find the right child via the social services system. Be aware that this step takes time and patience.

Laws vary between states, so you’ll have to refer to the state you’re living in to know the specifics for this procedure.


LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ADOPTION

There are several different kinds of adoption, including domestic, international, public adoption, relative adoption and stepparent adoption. These adoption categories consist of the following:


• Domestic adoption

It is when a birth mother creates an adoption plan and often chooses which family adopts her child. The birth father may also be involved in this process.


• International adoption

Also known as intercountry adoption, this refers to the scenario where a child from another country is adopted and becomes a citizen of the United States.

You may find more information on the subject by following this link.


• Public adoption

Also called "Foster Care System", it is a temporary living situation for children whose parents cannot take care of them and whose need for care has come to the attention of the Child Welfare Agency staff. While in foster care, children may live with relatives, with foster families or in group facilities.


• Relative Adoption

In this adoption category, relatives adopt children for various reasons, but typically they do so to allow children to maintain family bonds and connections.

If you are looking to adopt a child who is related to you because that child’s birth parents are making a plan of adoption, you will need to follow this procedure.


• Stepparent adoption

Typically this takes place when a spouse wants to become the legal parent of her/his spouse’s child. As with all other adoption categories, there are requirements to fulfill and a legal process to complete.


FIND RESOURCES TO HELP MAKE ADOPTION A MORE AFFORDABLE OPTION

After deciding to pursue adoption, families can become discouraged when they discover its costs. Though adoption can be expensive, there are many financial resources available to aid families to concrete this project.

National non-profit programs of this sort will provide qualified couples and individuals (regardless of race, religion, marital status, or sexual preference) with grants of up to US$ 15,000 toward their adoption expenses. A very good examples of this social programs is HelpUsAdopt.org.