Frequently Asked Questions: Adoption
- Questions and answers for prospective and adoptive parents
- Questions and answers for adopted people
- Questions and answers for expectant and birth parents
- General resources
- Frequently requested information
Questions and answers for prospective and adoptive parents
- I want to adopt. What are the requirements? How do I find a reputable adoption agency?
- What are the adoption laws in my State? How do I find out about my State laws governing adoption (e.g., consent to adopt; who can adopt, etc.)?
- What is an adoption home study? What type of information is included in it?
- I can't afford to adopt a child. Where can I get help with adoption costs?
- What are the requirements to adopt a child from foster care?
- I want to adopt a child. Am I eligible for adoption assistance (also called adoption subsidy)?
- I need help with my adopted child. What resources are available to me in my State?
- My new spouse wants to adopt my child. How do we do this?
- How do I adopt a child living in another State? How do I adopt across State lines?
- How do I adopt a child from a foreign country?
- How do I adopt my relative's children? What if they live in another country?
Questions and answers for adopted people
Questions and answers for expectant and birth parents
- I'm pregnant and thinking about adoption. Where do I start?
The Child Welfare Information Gateway publication Are You Pregnant and Thinking About Adoption? provides information.
- What do I do if my child's adoptive family does not live up to our postadoption contact agreement?
In most States postadoption contact agreements are not legally enforceable, so there may be no legal action for you to take. The Child Welfare Information Gateway publication Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families has more information.
- What is a putative father registry? How do I find out if my State has one?
A putative father is the "presumed" legal father of a child. Some States maintain putative father registries to provide information on presumed fathers. These registries vary but may include:
- Name, address, social security number, and date of birth of putative father and birth mother
- Name and address of any person adjudicated by a court to be the father
- Child's name and date of birth, or expected month and year of birth
- Registration date
- Other information deemed necessary
- I am a biological father and my partner is thinking about making an adoption plan for our child. What are my rights?
The Child Welfare Information Gateway publication The Rights of Unmarried Fathers has information on father's rights.
- I am a pregnant minor and my parents want me to place my child for adoption. What are my rights?
State law varies in regard to minor parents' rights; however, in no State could a child be placed for adoption without the minor parent's consent. In some States, minor parents are able to place their child for adoption without additional consent. In other States, the pregnant minor's parents or guardian would also need to consent to an adoption. The Child Welfare Information Gateway publication Consent to Adoption has more information. To determine how these laws would apply in a specific situation, it may be helpful to contact an attorney familiar with adoption law in your State.
- Adoption Assistance for Children Adopted From Foster Care
- Adoption Options
- Adoption: Where Do I Start?
- Employer-Provided Adoption Benefits
- Impact of Adoption on Adopted Persons
- Impact of Adoption on Adoptive Parents
- Impact of Adoption on Birth Parents
- National Foster Care & Adoption Directory
- State Laws on Adoption
- The Adoption Home Study Process
Frequently requested information
- Adoption Statistics
Links to the latest facts and figures on adoption trends, both intercountry and domestic.
- Federal Laws
Resources on the Federal laws that provide overarching standards and guidelines for State laws related to adoption.
- Stepparent Adoption
Legal issues and steps for stepparents wishing to adopt.
- Costs of Adopting: A Factsheet for Families
Estimates of the costs involved for various types of adoption. (PDF - 234 KB)
Also available in Spanish: Los costos de la adopción: Una hoja informativa para las familias (PDF - 276 KB)