We frequently receive questions about how to get started with the adoption process. Even though Helpusadopt.org is a national adoption grant program and not an adoption agency or an adoption
attorney, we recognize that this process is daunting and can be complicated. In response, we have
created this page to provide some basic "how to get started information."
Note: If you are looking for information on how to apply for a Helpusadopt.org grant, please click here.
ADOPTION: WHERE DO I START?
Is Helpusadopt.org an adoption agency? Can you help me find an expectant mother?
No. Helpusadopt.org is a national adoption grant program. We are not an adoption agency or an adoption attorney and we don't match adoptive parents with expectant mothers.
The adoption process is overwhelming. How do I get started? What do I need to do first?
The first thing you need to do is to decide how you want to adopt (i.e. Domestic adoption, International adoption, Special needs, Foster-to-adopt).
Once I know how I am going to adopt, what do I do?
Once you know how you are going to adopt, you will need to find an adoption professional. If you are going to adopt domestically, you can use either an adoption attorney or an adoption agency. If you are going to adopt internationally, you can only use an adoption agency that specializes in the specific country that you have chosen. If you are interested in fostering-to-adopt, you will need to find the social services offices in your area. Please be aware that adoption laws are NOT federal and differ state-by-state.
Should I start my home study on my own before I find my adoption professional?
No. Every type of adoption requires a slightly different home study and once you choose your adoption professional they will guide you along in the process and suggest the other adoption service providers that you should consider using.
Should I use an attorney and an agency at the same time to speed up the process?
Generally speaking, it is not advised that you use an attorney and an agency at the same time. Not only would that scenario be expensive, but they would generally be doing the same work at the same time. IF you are looking for more of a "hand holding" experience (and your budget allows), you might want to talk to an adoption consultant to find out more about what they do. Please note that an adoption consultant is not a legally required piece of the adoption process.
Can you tell me more about fostering-to-adopt?
Please reach out to AdoptUSkids.org. They are a national organization that will guide you to the service providers in your state.
How do I find an adoption attorney or agency best suited for me and how I want to adopt?
There are several good resources for you to look at: the Helpusadopt.org Adoption Professionals Council, The Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, The National Council For Adoption and AdoptUSkids.org.
Once you have chosen an adoption professional, you are on your way. They will answer all your questions and lead and support you through the process.