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Building Your Family: Getting Started in Domestic Adoption

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Domestic Newborn Adoption

The annual number of infants adopted domestically (excluding foster and relative adoption) is estimated to be around 18,000 -- far greater than the annual number of international adoptions. Moreover, the process of adopting a newborn in the United States can go more swiftly than you may imagine. In a 2011 Adoptive Families survey, the majority of respondents were matched with a birthmother in less than three months, and 40% were matched less than one month before their child was born.

In the majority of U.S. newborn adoptions, adoptive parents are selected by the birthparents of the child, and in at least half of the cases, the birthparents and adoptive parents meet. Domestic adopters usually appreciate the opportunity to build a relationship with their child’s birth family. Ongoing contact is increasingly common, but varies significantly in frequency. Domestic adopters must work with an agency to complete a homestudy, but may choose to work with an attorney for the majority of the process, depending on state laws.

Depending on the situation, and the laws of the state where the family lives and where the baby is born, prospective adoptive parents may cover some of the living and medical expenses of the birthmother. For up-to-date state adoption laws in the U.S., see adoptivefamilies.com/adoption-resources.php. View family photos and get parent-to-parent advice in our online community, adoptivefamiliescircle.com.

Domestic Adoption
Fast Facts

  • Estimated Cost: Average: $20,000 to $40,000. Costs can total considerably more in certain circumstances. See sample adoption budgets for further comparison.
  • Profile of Children: Privately adopted babies in the U.S. are usually newborns.
  • Parent Ages: There are no legal restrictions in most states, but many or most birth families select the family for their child, so parents who are younger than 25 or older than 45 may wait longer to be selected.
  • Family Status: There are no regulations, but birthparents may be looking for a couple rather than a single parent, and a family with few or no other children.
  • Travel: The adoptive family must satisfy the laws of both the state where the baby is born and the state where they reside before they can bring the child to a different state. Depending on the states, this varies from one day to several weeks.
  • Timeline: The average adoption is completed within two years.

Domestic Adoption Professional Directory

Find an adoption agency with a domestic adoption program in your state:


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Find an adoption attorney working in your state:


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Find a domestic adoption agency performing homestudies in your state:

Domestic Adoption Support Group Directory

Find a parent support group in your state:


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Domestic Adoption: the Basics

Adoption Law

Personal Stories from Newborn Adopters

The Birthmother Relationship