One of the most common questions adoption lawyers hear is “how long will it take to adopt a child?” On average, most families complete their adoption in 18 months or less. However, the type of adoption you pick will have a huge impact on the overall timeline.
How Long Does a Domestic Private Adoption Take?
Also called an agency adoption, this is a type of adoption that involves working with a private organization. There is no minimum time limit for this type of adoption, so yours could be finalized in as little as a month. In agency adoptions, 63% of families are matched in six to 12 months. The other 37% usually get matched within two years. Wait times tend to vary based on the particular agency, so it might be a good idea to ask an agency about their average time before you start working with them. Keep in mind that you may have to wait longer if you are very specific about what you want. Those who are open to a broad variety of ages, races, amounts of contact with birth parents, and types of medical history may have a shorter wait time.
How Long Does a Domestic Public Adoption Take?
If you adopt through the public foster system, your wait time will be longer. This type of adoption involves a child who was removed from their parent’s custody. Because the applicable state agency is reluctant to terminate parental rights, this process takes quite a bit of time. Parents in these situations may not be able to finalize the adoption for one to five years. However, much of this time is often spent with the child. In these situations, the prospective parents are usually the child’s foster parents while they work with a New Jersey adoption attorney and wait for the birth parents’ rights to be terminated.
How Long Does It Take to Adopt Internationally?
International adoptions can take quite a bit longer than the standard New Jersey adoption because they involve more bureaucracy and paperwork. The average international adoption will take somewhere between two to three years to complete. Some families may get lucky and complete their adoption in around six months while others may wait as long as five years. Keep in mind that the country you go with has a huge impact on adoption times. Some countries, like China, tend to have a higher wait time because there are a lot of people interested in adopting from them. Countries that are politically unstable also tend to have longer wait times since any turmoil can put a pause on an adoption or require the parents to start the process over again.
What You Can Do to Reduce Adoption Wait Times
As you can see, there is a lot of variation in wait times. If you are interested in a shorter wait time, you may want to opt for a private domestic adoption since these are generally the fastest adoption type. It is also a good idea to be flexible about the type of child you want to be matched with. Prospective parents who are willing to adopt older children or children with health problems may get a match quicker. You can also speed up the process by being willing to travel out of state to meet the birth mother. In any type of adoption, you can speed things up by being prepared. Having your paperwork, home study, background checks, and other essential information ready to go will ensure that you don’t end up with any surprise delays.
If you want to adopt a child as quickly as possible, it is important to have all your paperwork in order. A New Jersey adoption attorney can help you with the preparation and ensure that you file all essential documents on time. At Cofsky & Zeidman, our team helps families throughout the region. Fill out our online contact form or call 856-429-5005 to schedule a meeting today.