According to the National Adoption Center, adoption includes a pre-placement and post-placement period. After placement in the home, the post-placement period typically takes at least six months before the adoption can be finalized. Adoption of a foster child who lives in the home has no specific time requirements; however, the National Adoption Center says that state agencies are required to speed up the process from foster care to adoption.
While every state or country establishes its own requirements to adopt a child, most agencies require a thorough home study. A home study consists of a home visit, an interview of the prospective parents and family, and a written statement about applicants' lives, experiences and why they want to adopt. Foster care and adoption home studies are often independent of each other, according to the National Adoption Center. An additional home study is often required for adoption of a foster child, who already lives in the home. Adoption of a foster child typically requires parents to relinquish their parental custody, court approval or both.
The National Adoption Center says that adoption can take many years. The factors vary depending on the age of the child, if the child has special needs and if it is a domestic or international adoption. Individuals can start the process of adoption through a local adoption agency, create an online profile and connect with others in the same situation.