Local, state and federal governments try to organize the adoption process so that any adult -- who will potentially make a great parent -- can bring a child into his or her home.
However, there are some general requirements that adoptive parents need to meet before they can adopt. It's important for prospective parents to understand these requirements before they engage on the adoption of a child.
Requirements for adopting a child
Typically, any married couple or single adult has eligibility become an adoptive parent. Stepparents are also eligible to adopt children that belong to their spouse. In the District of Columbia, no further adoption restrictions apply, and the adoption process of potential new parents is reviewed and approved on a case by case basis.
Steps required to adopt a child
Since the above adoption conditions are broad, most adults living in the District of Columbia will be eligible to adopt a child. However, this does not make the process simple or easy. There are several things that soon-to-be parents will need to do in order for their adoption process to be a success:
Decide the type of adoption: Will you have a "closed adoption," where the adoption records are secret? Or, will you have an "open adoption," in which you maintain contact with the birth parents and the adoption is public knowledge?
Carry out a "home study": The "home study" is an important step in the adoption of a child. Here parents work with a social worker to get educated on what they need to know about parenting and adopting, gather information to match the adoptive parents with the right child and to make sure that the family is fit to raise a child.
Find a child: Here, the parents may use an adoption agency or reach out to family and friends in search of a child to adopt.
Wait, wait and wait...
The final stages of the adoption process can involve a lot of patience and waiting. The adoption process as a whole can be complex. So, making sure to be careful and thoughtful as one navigates each of its steps can be important.