Adoption: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 5: Engage in the Placement Process

What You Should Know
Once your home study is completed, you are ready to begin the placement process—the time when a specific child is identified for your family. Depending on the type of adoption you are pursuing, this process and the potential time involved in waiting for your child vary greatly.

If you are pursuing an independent adoption, an attorney or facilitator may help you identify expectant parents or you may locate them on your own if allowed by State law.

If you are using a licensed private agency to pursue a domestic infant adoption, the expectant parents may select your family from among several prospective adoptive families.

In the case of foster care adoption or intercountry adoption of older children, you may review information about a number of children who are waiting for families. You will often have the opportunity for pre-placement visits, to get to know a child before he or she moves into your home in foster care adoption. Also, many foster parents in the United States adopt the foster children in their homes if the children become available for adoption.

If you are adopting an infant internationally you may receive a referral during this time.

Some Places to Go
The Information Gateway factsheet, Obtaining Background Information on Your Prospective Adoptive Child provides suggestions for obtaining a child’s medical, social, and educational history.

Information Gateway has a number of resources for expectant parents who are considering adoption including a factsheet Are You Pregnant and Thinking About Adoption?

Intercountry Adoption, another Information Gateway factsheet, provides more information on the placement process when adopting a child from another country.

Foster Parent Adoptions: What Parents Should Know, an Information Gateway factsheet, outlines considerations in this type of adoption.

Most adoptions of children from foster care are handled by public child welfare agencies. The national online photolisting AdoptUSKids provides pictures and general descriptions of children in foster care around the country who are waiting for families. The Information Gateway resource listing, State Child Welfare Agency Websites provides links to photolisting services in each State.