The Wait is Over!

Since 1983, 7,901 children have joined their families

121 have families, since January 1, 2015

  • 57% belong to a minority group
  • 78% are 9 years old or older
  • 40% are 14 years old or older

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children & families
steps to adoption

The information described below is general.

The process varies from state to state.

Click here to locate your state's Adoption Specialist.

Books about adoption are available at your local libraries and The Adoption Exchange. 

Review books recommended by our staff

Review the booklet "How to Make Adoption an Affordable Option"


You may download
The Adoption Information Booklet,
which includes this section.

Join an Adoptive Parents Group
Many adoptive parent groups welcome parents who are waiting to adopt. Other adoptive parents can answer many of your questions from first-hand experience.

Decide What Kind of Adoption You Want to Pursue
Your options include infant, waiting child, international, open, closed, private agency and public agency. You will want to gather more information to help you decide what type of child you feel you can best parent, how much information you want to exchange with an infant's birth family, whether you prefer to work with a public or private agency or if you want to adopt a child from another country.

Weekly Waiting Child
Each week you will receive an email featuring children recently listed or relisted in our Children's Gallery.
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Your information will not be distributed to other organizations or businesses.

Link here for more information on Choosing an Adoption Agency.

Attend Orientation and Information Classes
Some public and private agencies require you to attend a series of classes to learn about the adoption process and emotional and behavioral issues that adopted children may experience. In many cases, you must complete these classes before the agency will begin the family assessment process. We encourage you to attend orientation meetings offered by public and private agencies in your area. Although you must ultimately select one agency to work with, you are free to gather information from as many agencies as are available, even if you don't live in that agency's region. If you live in a rural area, you may have to make yourself available to travel to the nearest metropolitan area to get the adoption services you need.

Generally, county and state departments of social services (sometimes called child and family services) do not place healthy infants. To adopt a healthy infant you will need to work with a private agency.

To adopt a child from abroad, you must work with an agency that is specifically licensed to conduct international adoptions.

Departments of social services place children who have been in foster care due to abuse and neglect and cannot return to their birth families.

Click here to find and register for the next Colorado Adoption Exchange information class

Complete the Family Assessment Process
The family assessment (also called an adoption study or homestudy) varies by agency and by type of adoption. It should be an educational and self-evaluation process as well as a way for the social worker to get to know you and your family and help you determine what child would best fit into your home. The family assessment will include some or all of the following:
  • Autobiographies written by each parent
  • A visit to your home
  • Medical reports from your physician
  • Proof of employment/ability to financially support a child
  • Checks for any criminal record, including the state child abuse registry
  • References from friends and associates
  • Participation in adoptive parent training classes
  • Psychological evaluation
  • A family picture book or video to present to the birth mother, waiting child, or overseas agency.
Child Search
Once your family assessment is completed, your social worker should be considering your family for a child/ren in that agency's custody. After being selected, you will be given extensive information about the child so that you can decide if this child is a good fit for your family. Some social workers, both with public and private agencies, may encourage you to be involved in the search for a child. Always let your social worker know what you are doing to help identify a child.

       Children's Gallery
       Adoption Resources
       Heart Galleries
       Wednesday's Child

During this time you may visit with the birth family of the infant you plan to adopt, you may have several visits of increasing length with your child from foster care, or begin making travel plans to bring home the child you plan to adopt internationally.

Your child finally comes home!

Your agency, social worker, parent group and professional counselors can help your family during this often challenging time. The social worker will be required to visit with you, provide support and assistance, and make reports to the court to be sure the placement is progressing well before finalizing the adoption. During this period, you will need to file a petition to adopt with the court.

Your social worker or lawyer will usually go to court with you to make the child you are adopting a legal member of your family. Most infant adoptions are finalized six months after placement. Waiting child adoptions are usually finalized a year after placement in order to give the child and family sufficient time to adjust and be sure that the family can successfully meet the child's needs.

Post-Legal Period
Adoption is a lifelong process for the child and the adoptive family. Do not hesitate to contact your agency and social worker for help, support, referrals and to share successes.

Learn more about Post Adoption Services.