Happy adoptive family embrace their babyAs you begin your adoption journey, it’s normal to wonder just how long it will take to adopt a baby. The wait can be frustrating when you are eager to grow your family. How long does the adoption process take?
Through Lifetime Adoption, the adoption process usually takes 6 to 18 months. The length of your adoption process will depend mainly on your adoption preferences and the individual circumstances of the birth mother.
Some factors that impact how long the adoption process takes will be out of your control, but there are plenty of ways you can help speed things along. This guide will prepare you for the parts of the adoption process you can control. Your perseverance can help you avoid unnecessary delays.

Your Adoption Home Study

The home study is a mandated part of the adoption process in every state. This report ensures that adoptions are being conducted responsibly. Wondering how long the adoption home study takes to finalize?
During the adoption home study, you will complete an application, gather documents, participate in interviews with a social worker, and schedule a home inspection. On average, this process is completed within three to six months, but this is one area where you have the power to quicken the pace. Here’s what you can do to expedite your home study:

  • Submit your adoption home study application right away.
  • Gather all of the required documents, which may include ID, birth certificates, marriage certificate, proof of insurance, proof of income, financial records, medical records.
  • Schedule any required medical appointments.

Your Adoption Profile

While you wait for the social worker to complete your adoption home study, you can work on your adoption profile. This is another area where you have control over how long the adoption process takes. The sooner you finish your profile, the faster your adoption agency can make you available to potential birth mothers.
Your adoption profile is your introduction to potential birth mothers, so you want to make a good first impression. Your profile will give birth mothers a snapshot of your family’s values and lifestyle so they can picture what their child’s future would look like with you.
Use pictures, video, and a thoughtful “Dear Birth Mother” letter to create a high-quality adoption profile. Be authentic and honest about who you are, what kind of parents you hope to be, and your vision for life as an adoptive family. The more birth mothers who browse your profile, the better your chances of finding that perfect match!
The adoption professionals at Lifetime will help you develop a profile that best showcases what you have to offer a child.

Your Adoption Preferences

The amount of time your adoption process takes mostly depends on your adoption preferences. The more open your preferences are, the quicker you will adopt. Search your heart and talk to other adoptive parents about their experiences. You may find that you are open to more possibilities than you originally thought. Your adoption professional and potential birth mothers will need to know your preferences for an adoption plan and the child who will best fit your family.
Type of Adoption – You can choose between closed, semi-open, or open adoption. Most birth mothers are interested in an open adoption plan that includes updates and some form of future contact with her child. Be honest with your adoption professional about the commitment you are willing to make.
The Child – How important is the age, gender, or race of your child? If you are open to more demographics, your profile will be shown to more potential birth mothers. This will increase your chances of a speedy match. Talk to your adoption professional about your preferences for the following:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Twins and sibling groups
  • Substance exposure


Depending on your individual circumstances, domestic infant adoption can cost up to $40,000. The state of your finances can impact how long your adoption process takes.
Speak with your adoption professional and research the costs ahead of time. Don’t be caught off guard by any of the following expenses that can delay the adoption process:

  • Home study fees
  • Birth mother expenses
  • Legal expenses
  • Travel costs

You might opt to work with a financial advisor and have an adoption budget in place. You can also research and apply for adoption loans and grants to avoid any financial speed bumps.

Focus on What You Can Control

Adoption is a matter of the heart, so there will always be some unpredictability in the process. Birth mothers have their own reasons for choosing a family, and their priorities may change along the way.
The best thing you can do is focus on what you can control. Be honest about your preferences and have realistic expectations for how long your adoption process will take. Try not to worry if the wait is longer than you anticipated. When the joyous day arrives to welcome a new child into your family, the wait will have been worth it!

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.
Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).

Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.

“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!

Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.

I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.

It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”

Read More About Mardie Caldwell

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