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Adoption Process

Step-by-step guide

There are several steps in the process when you adopt a child from foster care. Learn about the timeline and what to expect.

Step 1 - Choose to adopt

​If you have questions about adoption or want to learn more, there are several avenues to get information:

Contact your local ODHS office​ or an agency from the Special ​Needs Adoption Coalition​.

​Many things in your everyday life will change after you adopt a child. For that reason, everyone in your home needs to be comfortable and on board with the decision. Here are some questions that can help you and your family make a decision.​

  • Do we all believe that adoption is right for us? 
  • Do we have friends or family that will support us in this decision?
  • Do we have space in our home for one child or siblings?
  • Is there an age or gender that would work best with our family?
  • Are there special needs we would not be comfortable taking on? ​

Step 2 - Start the process

​One you’ve made the decision to adopt, your local ODHS office​ or an agency from the Special Needs Adoption Coalition can help you start the process.​

Your family will receive training needed to welcome a child who may have been abused or neglected and experienced loss and trauma. Training topics include:

  • Children and their special needs
  • The process to adoption
  • Where to get support and resources

Once you decide to adopt, you will need to:

  • Complete an application and provide four to five references
  • Get a background check for criminal history and child abuse reports
  • Provide a physical and medical history check that you are in good health and have the ability to care for a child​

​After your application is accepted, you will start working with an adoption worker to complete your home study. This process will include a series of interviews, home visits, safety/fire inspections and sometimes medical information from your doctor.​

​Once your homestudy is approved and your criminal background check is complete, your family is ready t​o adopt a child! You will work with your adoption worker to find a child that is a good match for your family.​​​

Step 3 - Adoption

​​There is a process to prepare children for moving from foster care into your home. It can take a few weeks or maybe months for the transition to happen. This will involve a visitation plan so that your family and the child can get to know one another and slowly adapt to living together. During this time, you will also get the child's medical history and assessments.​

Once the child is living with you, the adoption worker will visits you and the child regularly. These visits will be at your home at least every 60 days. The adoption worker will spend some time alone with the child during the visits.

These visits will last for at least six months. If your family or the child needs more support, the adoption worker will help you find services.​

Step 4 - Finalize the adoption

​When your family and the professionals agree that it’s time, the adoption can be legally finalized. At this time, a judge will issue a final decree of adoption and your family will have permanent legal parental rights and responsibilities. You can now apply for a birth certificate with your name(s) listed as the child’s parent(s).​

Although you will financially support your child, most adopted children qualify for Adoption Assistance. This can be financial help and/or extra medical insurance depending on the needs of the child. There is a federal tax credit to help families and many employers also offer benefits. All children qualify for state funded medical and dental coverage up to the age of 18 and some children will qualify until the age of 21.

Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center (ORPARC) helps families who adopt children from foster care. OPARC services include:

  • ​Training
  • A lending library of videos, audio tapes, books, and other materials
  • Referral lists of mental health providers, advocacy groups, and support groups
  • A welcome packet to all adoptive families
  • Recursos en Español


If you would like to know more about the adoption process, contact a local ODHS Child Welfare office or an agency with the Special Needs Adoption Coalition (SNAC).

Local Child Welfare OfficesAdoption Coalition Agencies