How Long Does It Take to Adopt?

How Long Does It Take to Adopt?
Lengthy. Unpredictable. These are two words often used to describe the adoption process. If you’re considering adoption, you’ll likely want to know: How long will it take? The answer: it depends.

There are many factors that influence how long your wait to adopt will be, including:
• What type of adoption you plan to do (domestic, international or foster care)
• The agency you work with
• Your age
• Your preferences and comfort level with various situations
• How many babies are available for adoption

If you’re opting for a domestic newborn adoption, you’ll have to wait until a birth parent chooses you or until you find someone through your own networking efforts. Couples seeking a Caucasian newborn with no special needs will typically wait the longest. If you’re open to mixed races and/or are willing to consider babies with medical issues or drug and alcohol exposure, your wait will be much shorter.

When we adopted our daughter domestically as a newborn, it took just over 2 years from the time we began our home study until the day we brought her home. According to, it takes about a year to adopt domestically, with most placements occurring within 18 months. Lifetime Adoption says their fastest match was within 24 hours, but that most families are matched within 6-18 months after their paperwork and profile are complete. Wait times vary among agencies, but a 1-2 year wait is pretty common. Depending on your situation, you could adopt in just a few months or a few years.

For international adoptions, estimated timeframes vary depending on the country you choose. Expect to wait a year or more. The process is also unpredictable, and programs can close at any time without notice. If this happens, you will need to switch programs or determine another course of action.

If you have questions about the adoption process and want to get an idea of how long it will take, check with adoption agencies and attorneys in your area. Most will be able to tell you their number of waiting families and how long the prospective adoptive parents have been waiting so far. Some will even give you an estimate based on how long it took other families to adopt. Although there are no guarantees, this will give you some idea of what to expect.

The key to any adoption is to be flexible, have patience and keep the faith. In time, most couples do adopt. Remember that the wait and unpredictability will all be worth it in the end.

You Should Also Read:
Coping With the Adoption Wait
Adoption - Getting Started
Keeping an Adoption Journal

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