Adoption Requirements and Resources

You have decided to open your heart and  home to a child. The road to adoption has many ups and downs. Today, you are at the beginning of a long and sometimes difficult process. Your main concern is getting started and learning what the necessary requirements to adopt are. Adoption laws vary by each state and the type of adoption. Knowing what is required may help the process move more smoothly. Below you will find the 10 basic requirements for all Adoptive Parents. 

Basic Requirements for Adoptive Parents

    1. AgeAdopting in the United States or Internationally, the legal age of the adoptive parent must be 21 years old. There is not a cut off age for adopting. However, agencies may have their own age guidelines. In a private adoption, the birth mother chooses the adoptive parents.
    1. Physical HealthProspective parents must be in stable medical condition. In the case of a chronic illness or serious condition, communication from a medical doctor is necessary. All household members must in stable physical health.
    1. Emotional HealthThe emotional health of a potential parent must be balanced and healthy. A statement of stability is needed if there is a history of psychiatric illness. A doctor’s statement is necessary when medication has been prescribed to show ability to parent. All individuals living in the home must be emotionally stable.
    1. Criminal HistoryThere are certain criminal offenses that will prevent eligibility to adopt. During a home study, there will be FBI and state records research conducted. Each case will be appropriately evaluated.
    1. Child Abuse HistoryAll members of the household over the age of 18 are required to participate in a child abuse clearance. Of course, a finding of this nature will prevent adoption.
    1. Marital HistoryAdoption agencies as well as each state within the United States have their own requirements regarding previous marriages, length of marriage, and same-sex marriages. Single parents may adopt depending on the state.
    1. Financial Security  – While there is no income requirement, raising a child does take resources. The prospective family’s income and assets will be evaluated. Proof of medical insurance for the child is needed as well.
    1. Home EnvironmentA safe and secure environment must be provided to the child. Each State has specific safety and space requirements. This will be proved during your home study.
    1. Residency RequirementsState residency requirements vary by state, but range from 60 days to 1 year. Exceptions can be made for military families.
    1. EducationMost perspective parents are required to complete Adoptive Parent Education courses.The courses teach basic parenting skills, discipline techniques, and lifelong implications of adoption to the child and the family as a whole.

For more specific state guidelines visit:

Adoption Resources 

Adopt US Kids –

Adoption –

Family Connections, Inc. –

Child Welfare Information Gateway –

Adoptive Families –

Brave Love –

Not sure about adoption, consider becoming a foster parent or give support to local foster families and children.