Adopting a baby is an exciting, life-changing milestone for families. The anticipation and process leading up to this moment, however, can feel like a lifetime for those that have long-dreamed of becoming parents: When will you be able to welcome your child home? How long does it take to adopt a baby, to complete a home study, or to get matched with an expectant/birth mother? If you are just beginning the adoption process, what should you expect in terms of adoption wait times?
Adoption wait times can vary, depending on which route you take in your journey to adopt – domestic and international adoptions, for example, vary greatly in length. Wait times can also vary depending on the type of adoption agency you choose, and how much time a birth mother needs to take in making this decision and choosing the right family for her baby. Below, Adoptions With Love breaks down the typical length of the domestic adoption process, from the home study to the finalization of your adoption papers.
Applying to Adopt
Your first step in the adoption process should be a conversation with yourself and your family members: Do you wish to adopt a child domestically, internationally, through a private agency, or through foster care? Once this decision is made, you can then select an adoption agency to begin the application process. Many states including Massachusetts require families to work with a licensed adoption agency.
Prospective adoptive parents who are interested in a domestic infant adoption should look for an adoption agency in MA. An adoption counselor can then help you into the adoption process. At Adoptions With Love, we are a full-service, private, licensed MA adoption agency. You can come in for a free consultation with one of our social workers to understand how the adoption process works, and how long adoption takes with our agency. If you choose Adoptions With Love, you can expect a counselor to contact you within two to three weeks of submitting your adoption application.
How Long is the Home Study?
The home study process takes several (two to three) months to complete.
An adoption home study is a legal requirement for hopeful adoptive families. It consists of home visits (in which a social worker comes to your home), background checks, and a series of interviews with your family, both individually and together. For Adoptions With Love, this process allows us to get to know you, your story, and what led you to adoption. The home study is also a great way for you to get to know us. Through these consultations and home visits, you can learn more about how our compassionate adoption program works.
The home study involves sharing your family story, and getting it ready to share with expectant/birth mothers, As part of our adoptive parent services, the staff at Adoptions With Love can help you create an adoptive family album and write letters to considering expectant/birth moms. These valuable tools will help expectant/birth parents get to know you and find a special connection with your family.
Average Time to Match with a Birth Mother and Finalize the Adoption
After the home study process is complete, it is time to wait for an expectant/birth mother to select you. This is the home stretch for hopeful parents, and can vary family to family. Some parents may experience a bit of a wait, while others are selected fairly quickly. There are many ways you can make the most of this time, such as taking parenting classes, preparing your home for a baby, finding a pediatrician, and joining support groups to chat with other hopeful parents waiting to adopt.
Once you are matched, you may feel a bit of relief. While the process is not yet complete, you may take comfort in the fact that you will know about how long it will take from here on out. Typically, the mother you are matched with will determine the timeline for the adoption and placement. She may be only a few months pregnant, in her final trimester, or may have already given birth.
In every state, birth parents cannot sign papers allowing the adoption until after the baby is born (in some states, an expectant father can sign papers prior to the birth). Some states will have specific time requirements. For example, in Massachusetts, birth parents must wait four days after the baby is born to sign any adoption papers. In some states, there is a revocation after birth parents sign the consents to the adoption. This means that they can change their minds within a specific time frame.
Most private, domestic adoptions are completed within two years. At Adoptions With Love, infants are typically placed within six to 18 months of completing a home study. We are committed to helping you grow your family.
How Long Does It Take to Adopt a Child Internationally?
Adopting a child from another part of the world is also possible for hopeful parents in Massachusetts. In order to adopt internationally, you must work with a Hague-accredited intercountry adoption agency. Keep in mind that the requirements, laws, costs, and wait times associated with international adoption will vary, depending on the country and the agency you choose. Some countries report an average wait time of six months after completion of the home study, while others (such as China) take several years.
For prospective adoptive parents, the waiting period to adopt is often full of anticipation and eagerness. And while it may feel like forever, it is important to remember that adoption wait times do generally fall within normal pregnancy timing: Couples expecting a biological child must wait at least nine months for their baby, not considering time for successful conception or any fertility treatments. Take advantage of this time with your family and your loved ones, and start preparing to bring your little one home soon.
If you are ready to grow your family and begin the adoption process, let Adoptions With Love help. Hopeful Massachusetts families may contact us anytime, day or night, at (617) 964-4357 to get started.