What Are the Requirements to Adopt from a Private Agency?

Adoption is an amazing and thoroughly fulfilling way to grow your family. However, the process can be something of an enigma. From private through foster adoptions, international, and other adoption types, requirements can change. This may leave you wondering exactly what the requirements are for a certain type of adoption. Here are some common requirements to keep in mind as you consider a private agency adoption.

Applying with an Agency

Many adoption agencies have a specific routine for prospective adoptive parents and may offer an orientation to help you better understand what will come next. This is likely when you’ll receive the agency’s formal application forms and an introductory review of some of the children available to adopt. Once you’ve completed these forms, the agency will perform a review to determine whether they’re a good fit for your family.

Getting a Home Study

A home study is an inspection required for every adoption, regardless of its type. Its purpose is to evaluate your family and home to ensure that every adopted child goes to a loving and stable family. The home study will usually be carried out by a social worker who will:

· interact with your family,

· help you consider some of the parenting challenges you may encounter as an adoptive parent, and

· assist you in choosing the characteristics most important to you in regards to the child you’d like to adopt.

Be prepared for some awkward feelings during the home study. Some of the questions may seem exceptionally personal, and possibly even intrusive. Rest assured that they are necessary queries to help the worker build an accurate report after the home study is completed. You may be required to:

· Undergo a physical exam to determine your health and that of your spouse or partner.

· Provide documentation of your household income and assets.

· Participate in in-depth interviews with your family to determine the stability of familial relationships.

· Submit to background checks for criminal or civil issues, up to and including a fingerprint check.

Waiting is Part of the Process

There is always some period of waiting prior to completing an adoption. Depending on the type of child you want to adopt, you may be waiting several months, or several years. Additionally, you may have to wait several weeks or months while the details are finalized.

Dealing with the Legal Details

Typically, a child and their prospective family have to live together for a period of time before the adoption can be finalized. This period is generally around six months, although it can vary by state. It’s usually a good idea to hire an experienced adoption attorney to assist you with the legal details, and if you haven’t retained one before now, you should do so during the initial phases of the placement.

Before the adoption is finalized, the agency will likely provide your family with some support services. You may be visited several times by a social worker so that they can verify the child is doing well and living in a healthy environment with a stable family dynamic. Once the waiting period is over, the social worker and the agency will write their recommendations for the family court, where the adoption will be finalized.

Getting Legal Help for a Private Agency Adoption

Working with an agency to find a child to welcome into your family is only part of what makes a successful adoption. Equally important is working with an experienced adoption attorney who can help you navigate the process. At Jennifer Fairfax, Family Formation Law Offices, we're ready to help your family grow. Contact us today!

 For more information about private agency adoption, click here.


“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax