Adoption is one of several permanency options. There are many avenues for adoption, and the legal procedures for these will vary by location and type (e.g., foster care, independent, intercountry, adult).
Although adoption is a legal process, it is also a social and emotional process. It can be joyful, but those involved may experience challenges such as loss, grief, and identity issues. Child welfare professionals can help children and families navigate these processes, including connecting them with supportive services before and after adoption.
Adoption provides an opportunity to connect children with permanent families and maintain connections to their birth family, culture, and community. Preserving connections can be achieved through open or kin adoption and by providing adoptive families with resources to help maintain those relationships. Adults who were adopted and do not have these connections may also want to connect with their birth families and need guidance.
Adoption is a complex, lifelong process, and families need equitable, easy access to services before and after adoption. Financial support and adoption preservation services may be available through State offices and private organizations.
Resources on this page cover both domestic and intercountry adoption.
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Supervisor Toolkit: Engaging Youth and Families to Achieve Timely Permanency for Children and Youth Waiting to Be Adopted
Explore key components of engaging youth and families during the permanency planning process and find suggested activities for supervisors to use with teams.
Shauna Kay Anderson: Characteristics of Adoptive Parents and Guardians to Parent Older Youth
Explains characteristics and promising factors associated with adoptive parents and guardians who are more likely to serve as successful adoptive placements for older youth.
Preparing Adoptive Parents
Learn ways that professionals can help foster parents before, during, and after they adopt in order to ensure that the child and family experience a successful adoption outcome. This bulletin also covers the importance of preparing adoptive parents.
AdoptUSKids – Professionals
Browse resources for adoption professionals, including adoption-related best practices and strategies from jurisdictions across the country. These resources can help professionals and organizations build their capacity to serve children and families.
Preparing Children and Youth for Adoption or Other Family Permanency
Explore ways for child welfare professionals to better understand the feelings and emotions children may experience regarding permanency and how to prepare them for placements with families, including adoptive, guardianship and kinship placements.
Exploring the Pathways to Adoption
Provides an introduction to the many pathways to building a family through adoption. It provides a basic understanding of the different types of adoption and guides readers to relevant resources.
Working With LGBTQ+ Families in Foster Care and Adoption
Learn how to can expand cultural competence and skills engaging parents who identify as LGBTQ+/Two-Spirit and same-gender or gender-diverse couples. It also examines laws and policies and provides tips to effectively engage this vital community.
Searching for Birth Relatives
Provides guidance to adopted persons and birth families on the search process by addressing concerns of both adopted persons who are searching for birth parents or other birth relatives and birth parents who want to locate a child who was adopted.
National Adoption Month 2023: Empowering Youth Finding Points of Connection
Find a webinar from National Adoption Month 2023 that brings together child welfare professionals and young individuals who have navigated the challenges of out-of-home care to explore the importance of connection in the lives of youth.