The Basics of Domestic Adoption

The 10 Steps of Adoption

In a domestic infant adoption, the steps and sequence will vary from state to state and depend upon whether you work with an agency or pursue a “private” (also known as an “independent” or “direct placement”) adoption.

To get across the big ideas in this lesson, we’re going to oversimplify, and there’s an excellent chance how we describe a step or two won’t apply to your experience.

Most adoptions incorporate 8–10 steps that need to be taken and that we’ll try to summarize here. Again, what these steps mean and who is responsible for them will vary by your state and the type of adoption (agency or private) you pursue. We’ll address each step in more detail in a later lesson.

10 Steps of Adoption

  1. Become Eligible to Adopt: This means taking the steps to reassure state authorities you are mentally, physically, and financially prepared to adopt.

  2. Make a Profile to Introduce Yourself: Put together a book or website that characterizes you and your family for expectant parents to review and consider.

  3. Be Introduced To, and Chosen By, An Expectant Family: Be put in contact with an expectant family that matches your preferences and vice versa.

  4. Due Diligence: Receive information that confirms expectant family is pregnant and runs down their medical history, any history of drugs or alcohol, and more.

  5. Get to Know Family: Have in-person sessions to get to know expectant family, and vice versa, to inform both parties if this would be a good match.

  6. Expectant Family Counseling: Arrange for emotional and legal counseling to improve the odds the adoption will be done ethically and proceed as smoothly as possible pre- and post-adoption.

  7. Ensure Compliance: Review all state laws and consents to ensure laws are not being broken with regard to compensation, rights of parents, and other factors.

  8. Develop a Hospital Plan: Establish a plan for who will be at the hospital during delivery, what role people will play, and more.

  9. Execute Relinquishment Documents: Expectant parent(s) sign documents that relinquish their rights (sometime with a period of time to change their minds) to the child.

  10. Obtain Court Order of Adoption: Post-birth process and paperwork to finalize the adoption.

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Adoption

In this course we cover the costs for domestic infant adoption, as well as the timelines, crucial steps and major decisions to be weighed. We also focus on post-adoption aspects namely levels of openness with birth parents, coping with microaggressions and how this process can look for single and LGBTQ adoptive parents. Finally, we take a high-level look at the process of intercountry adoption.