Beginning Requirements to Adopt a Child

There are a lot of decisions to make when preparing to adopt a child. The requirements for adoption will vary depending on the type of adoption that’s being considered. There are some basic requirements, though, whether adopting from foster care, a private agency, or internationally. These requirements usually involve a home study, a criminal background check, and the use of an adoption attorney or agency.

Adoption Home Study

The home study can be arranged by the adoptive parents or it can be arranged by the chosen adoption agency or adoption attorney. Some lawyers or agencies require the use of specific agencies or social workers, so check with the agency before choosing which one to use. The home study will consist of two to three meetings with a social worker. Some meetings take place in the home study agencies offices, but at least one meeting will take place at the family home.


The social worker will want a detailed biography from each adoptive parent. The potential parents will fill out paperwork detailing work history, income, and thoughts on parenting styles. They’ll be required to attend classes that teach information about topics such as parenting, attachment, and discipline.

The home visit will allow the social worker to make sure the family has room for the adoptive child, will check for basic cleanliness, and will make sure appropriate safety standards are in place.

Criminal Background Check

The background check will usually require fingerprints at the local and national level. Foreign adoptions sometimes require more detailed background checks. The agency will want to know of any past transgressions, arrest records, or any other type of run-ins with the law. They’ll want to be sure the child is being placed in a safe home.

Some foreign countries have really cracked down on requirements for adoptive parents. They might require background checks on mental health and the physical health of the parents-to-be.

Adoption Agency

The adoption agency is responsible for matching appropriate parents with the right child. They’ll have another stack of paperwork the adoptive parents will be required to fill out. The agency will know the specific requirements for each country.

For instance, most foreign countries request that adoptive parents fall into a specific age groups. Older parents might need to accept the referral of an older child. Countries also specify how many children an adoptive family can already have in the home. Some countries require that adoptive parents only adopt one child at a time so the child will have time to settle in and bond, while other countries allow sibling groups or unrelated children to be adopted together.

Adoptive parents might be required to spend time with the potential adoptive child or children so they can make sure the child is a fit with the family before they’re offered placement. Private adoptions might require the parents to fill out a file about their family and their life so potential birth moms can look through the file and choose the best family for her child. The adoption agency or adoption attorney will help with these steps and requirements.

Potential adoptive parents need to narrow down their choices on how they’ll adopt a child. They need to find an adoption agency, do the required home study, and follow through on all criminal background checks. After they do these things, they’ll be well on their way to expanding their family through adoption.

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