The Process

Learn about adoption by reading, talking to other adoptive parents, searching the Internet (as you're doing right now), and contacting an adoptive parent group that welcomes prospective adoptive families.
Attend adoption information classes.

Consider your feelings about adoption and consider what type of adoption you want to pursue: infant, waiting child, international, open, semi-open, closed, agency, independent, or agency-assisted.

Interview several agencies or lawyers who do the kind of adoption you've chosen, attend orientation meetings, then select the agency or lawyer with whom you wish to work.

Begin your adoption home study.

Find out what your agency, licensed social worker, or lawyer recommends you do to help locate the right child for your family. While you're waiting, continue your educational process.

Prepare for your child to come home. This may involve visits with the birth parent/s, if you're doing an open infant adoption; pre-placement visits with your child, if you're adopting a waiting child; or travel to the child's country and preparation to finalize the adoption, if you're adopting a child from abroad.

Bring your child home. In the case of an international adoption, petition the Immigration and Naturalization Service to make your child a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Begin the adjustment period as a new family.

Finalize the adoption.

Continue the life-long adoption experience.