There’s More than One Way to Build a Family

We connect families who want to grow with young people in foster care who dream of forever families.

Why Adopt from Foster Care

More than 20,000 kids in care across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware are seeking supportive connections to help them thrive.

All socioeconomic backgrounds

LGBTQ+ folks

People with disabilities and neurodiversities

First-time parents

First-time parents

Families Come in All Forms

We believe that families can take all shapes, sizes, and identities. We started breaking the mold of what families should look like 50 years ago.

It doesn’t matter what background you come from, what abilities you do or don’t have, your relationship status, or how you identify. What matters is that you have room in your heart for a great kid who wants a family.


All ethnicities and cultural backgrounds

Single people

Parents with adult children


10-Steps to Adoption

The adoption process can vary from state-to-state and depend on the types of adoption you’re exploring. There are 10 basic steps you can expect.


Learn about Adoption


Days, Weeks, Months - It’s up to you

You’re already in this stage, since you are at Some objectives for this step:

  • Understand the adoption process in general. Take time to read about adoption and adoptees.

  • Learn about the differences between fostering a youth and adopting a youth.

  • Talk to those you know who have adopted.

  • Decide if adopting is right for you.

Our resource center is packed with helpful information.


Select an Agency


1 week to 1 month

In order to adopt, you have to work with an adoption agency that’s licensed in your state. Some states make this easy and have one number to call. In other states, you should spend some time investigating each agency in your area.

Fill out the form on our contact page and we'll help you get matched with an agency that can best meet your needs.


Complete a Home Study


6 to 9 months

Once you select an agency, you’ll participate in a few interviews with one of its social workers.

  • At least one meeting will be at your home. Anyone who lives in your home will need to attend.

  • Your agency may have courses for you to attend to learn the nuances of raising children who have experienced foster care.

  • You’ll need all your official documents, like birth certificates and marriage licenses.


Search for a Child


Days, Weeks, Months - It’s up to you

Now you can start searching for a child, teenager, or group of siblings to adopt. How long this step takes depends on how open you are to ages, genders, special needs, and how much energy you put into the process.

Reading stories from teens on Meet Our Youth is a great place to start. Attending one of our Match Events is another.  


Connect with the Child’s Agency


A Few Weeks

When you find a child or teen who seems like a good match, your social worker will connect with their social worker. Remember that social workers can be overburdened with their workloads and it can take some time to hear back. 

Be patient and don’t be afraid to follow up.


Get Selected


Weeks to Months

The child’s social worker will decide if they’re interested in meeting you. Several families may be interested in a child at the same time. The adoption team will decide which family can best meet the child's needs.

This is where you need both patience and persistence. Remember to advocate for yourself. Let them know why you’ll be a strong support system for the child you want to adopt.


Meet the Child


Weeks to Months

If you’re selected, you and the child will get to know each other over the next few weeks or months. This is your chance to start building a relationship with one another.


Receive a Placement


Weeks to Months

The child will come to live in your home. Your agency will arrange several post-placement supervision visits. You’ll file a legal intent-to-adopt petition.


Finalize Your Adoption


Approximately 6 Months after Placement

You’ll attend a court session for a judge to finalize your adoption and make your child or teenager a permanent part of your family. You’ll receive an amended birth certificate that names you as parent/s.


Support Your Kiddo



Adoptive parenting is different for each family. Finalizing the adoption is just the beginning. You’ll continue to support your kid, connect with other adoptive parents, and hopefully consider adopting again.

Resources to Guide You on Your Adoption Journey

Find the answers to your foster care and adoption questions in our resource center.

two parents teach their adopted child how to ride a bike
Adoption 101

Financing Adoption

Learn how to finance an adoption and discover available resources that may help cover adoption costs.

Two parents take a selfie with their adopted son
Adoption 101

Types of Adoption

Learn about the types of adoption, the difference between open and closed adoptions, and how to adopt members of your family.

A smiling multi racial family sits in the park with their adopted daughter
Adoption 101

Adoption Laws

Learn about the different adoption laws and how they may affect your adoption journey.

Frequently Asked Questions about Adopting from Foster Care

How can I meet other adoptive families?

Your social worker may be able to connect you with other adoptive parents or an adoptive parent support group in your area. Some agencies will pair a waiting family with a "buddy" family who has already adopted a child with similar circumstances. Others sponsor their own parent groups. The North American Council on Adoptable Children provides a searchable database of parent support groups throughout the United States and Canada. Select Post-Adoption Services on their website at You can also meet other families online.

How can I adopt an infant?

You have a number of options available for adopting infants or toddlers, especially if you're open to adopting children of a different race or with disabilities. They include agency adoption (both public and private), private adoption, identified adoption, inter-country adoption, and foster adoption. You can learn more about the types of adoption here.

Whatever option you choose, you will need to complete the home study process to be eligible to adopt. We suggest that you contact a number of agencies to learn about their procedures for approving families for adoption. Here's more information about the adoption process.

Can my spouse adopt my child?

For this type of adoption, begin by contacting an attorney. You can find one through your local bar association, by searching the internet, or by contacting the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys at 202-832-2222 or

Can I adopt a child in a different state?

Yes. The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) removes geographic barriers to adoption by requiring that states not delay or deny a placement if an approved family is available outside the state.

Can I ask for more information about the child I want to adopt?

Most children's agencies can provide more information about a child than they're able to include on a flyer, newspaper article, or website description. However, some of the child's information is considered confidential, and workers may want to share it only with those families they are seriously considering as adoptive parents.

Once you have been selected for a particular child, adoption agencies are required to share with you any information they have about the child, with the exception of identifying information about the birth family. Unfortunately, they may not always have a great deal of information, especially if a child has lived in several foster homes. It's important to ask for whatever is available, including medical reports, results of psychological or educational testing, and information about early development.

Can the biological parents come back to take the child?

In order for a child to be adopted, the birth parents have to relinquish legal parental rights. With most agency adoptions, a child is already legally free for adoption before a placement occurs. While cases where a parent changes their mind are highly publicized, they don't happen very often. Once the adoption has been finalized, the biological parents have no legal tie to the child.

Who are the children in foster care that are ready for adoption?

About 120,000 children in the US need permanent homes. Most children ready for adoption live in foster or group homes because their parents were unable to care for them. Some of these children have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. Most are school-aged or older. Some are also siblings who need to stay together.

How does foster care differ from adoption?

Foster care is meant to be an alternative shelter for a child when the parents are unable to provide care. If the child can't return home, their case manager works to put together a plan to help them find a new home. Adoption is often a great option.

Foster parents may be able to adopt eligible children in their care through a foster-adopt program with their agency. Most adoptions in the United States are by children's foster parents. Starting as a foster parent is also one way that you may be able to adopt a child, but you are not required to be a foster parent in order to adopt.

While some agencies approve a family simultaneously for both foster care and adoption, a foster care home study and an adoption home study are not always interchangeable. If you're thinking about foster-adoption, it's important to inquire how your agency handles this.  

If you wish to become a foster parent, the National Foster Parent Association may be able to help.