Adoption Frequently Asked Question #7
I want to adopt. Where do I start? How do I find a reputable adoption agency?
The first thing you should do after making the decision to adopt is to educate yourself about adoption. Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children’s Bureau, has comprehensive information regarding adoption on its website at http://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption. Child Welfare Information Gateway provides information, resources, and referrals for all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. The How to Adopt section on Child Welfare Information Gateway’s website at http://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/adoptive/ provides general information on adoption options and the adoption process.
Child Welfare Information Gateway’s website also has a State-by-State list of public and licensed private agencies, as well as support groups for prospective adoptive parents at http://www.childwelfare.gov/nfcad/index.cfm. The publication, How to Assess the Reputation of Licensed, Private Adoption Agencies, provides criteria for checking on an agency’s reputation (http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/twenty.cfm).
Requirements for prospective adoptive parents vary depending on the type of adoption and agency involved (if applicable). In the United States, agency criteria for prospective adoptive parents are often more restrictive for infant adoptions than for adoptions of older children, because fewer infants are available. Many agencies set age limits for prospective adoptive parents in infant adoptions, and birth parents may choose to place their babies with younger parents in independent adoptions arranged without agency involvement. In intercountry adoption, each country sets requirements that prospective adoptive parents must meet in order to be eligible to adopt. Adoptions of older children and intercountry adoptions may offer more flexibility for older prospective adoptive parents.
The Information Gateway web section, Adoption Choices, at http://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/adoptive/choices.cfm, provides in-depth information and resources to help prospective adoptive parents make the decisions that will help them build their family through adoption.
Information on country criteria for prospective adoptive parents in intercountry adoption is available on the Country Information page on the U.S. Department of State website at http://adoption.state.gov/country_information/learn_about_a_country.php. Child Welfare Information Gateway provides additional information in the Adopting Children From Another Country section of the website at http://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/adoptive/other_country.cfm.