It’s a question we at Show Hope are often asked … Am I eligible to adopt? And the truth is, it depends … on a variety of factors. Before we dive into the different adoption eligibility factors or as some may say, “the requirements for child adoption,” we strongly encourage you to ask yourself, Why am I adopting? (if you haven’t done so already).
As you consider adoption as a means to building your family, think through and recognize the unique set of circumstances and influences that led you to this place. In that space of praying, evaluating, and waiting, it is important to consider what motivations, hopes, fears, and expectations are bearing on your decision to adopt—either domestically or internationally. Facing these issues, challenges, and hopes with honesty will help steer you in the right direction on how to move forward. For some, it may lead to the addition of a long-awaited child through adoption. For others, it may be the open door needed to find a different way to care for the needs of waiting children.
Now, back to the original question: Am I eligible to adopt? As stated earlier, the answer depends on various factors. Below, we outline a few helpful considerations in determining eligibility or the requirements for adoption.
- Because eligibility requirements for adoption vary state to state and by the type of adoption being pursued, check with your adoption agency or your local social services agency to learn more.
- To meet eligibility requirements for adoption, most states require parents to be, at least, 18 years of age, with a minimum age difference between the child and adoptive parent(s) determined by the state. Citizenship and residency requirements also vary by state.
- For more information on adoption eligibility requirements, visit the U.S. government’s Child Welfare Information Gateway website.
- Most countries set their own regulations governing eligibility requirements for adoption.
- Some countries may be more flexible in cases where children have known medical, developmental, and/or special needs or where children are older at time of placement.
- To learn more about a specific program’s requirements, visit the U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
Whether you are beginning the adoption process or are simply desiring to learn more about adoption, we strongly encourage you to visit HowToAdopt.org. There, you’ll find insight, resources, and recommendations for a plethora of factors—like adoption eligibility and/or requirements—all at your fingertips.