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Getting Ready
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 The Process

 How Long It Takes


How Long Will It Take?

All prospective adoptive parents usually feel they are "waiting parents." Adoption can be a long, slow process. At this beginning stage, it all seems a bit overwhelming to Tina Johnson. She's thinking that having another birth child might be quicker and easier. But Richard has reminded her that part of the reason they're considering adoption is to help a child in need. The Riveras also feel somewhat frustrated; they've gone through so much trying to become pregnant that the adoption process seems cumbersome and slow. Yet they remain committed to having a child.

The time it takes to bring a child home varies depending on the type of adoption or any unforeseeable circumstances that may arise. Here are some possible time tables:

 Healthy Infant  1 up to 7 years
 International  6 up to 18 months
 Waiting Child  4 up to 18 months

The finalization of an adoption usually occurs six months to a year after placement. Most international adoptions are finalized before the child leaves his or her country of origin. For an international adoption, it's important to naturalize the child as a U.S. citizen as soon as possible to ensure that he or she has the full protection of citizenship. Delaying naturalization could create problems; for example, if a young person gets in trouble with the law, citizenship could be denied.

More information about steps specific to waiting child, independent, and international adoptions can be found in the section Kinds of Adoptions. Typical adoption expenses are discussed in What It Costs.


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