The Five Steps of the Adoption Process in S.C.

Whether you’ve decided to pursue adoption or are still considering it as one of your options, it’s important to understand what the adoption process in South Carolina looks like before moving forward. Fortunately, when you work with the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, you’ll receive guidance on how to adopt a baby or child every step of the way.

Unlike other adoption law firms, we can provide assistance for all steps to adoption — including matching you with a prospective birth mother, extensively screening both parties, providing education and counseling and much more. When you contact us at 864-573-5533, we will make sure you understand how to start the adoption process in South Carolina and just how we can help you successfully grow your family through adoption.

Because each adoption is unique, each adoption process will be different. But, if you’re wondering how to adopt a baby in South Carolina, there are some common steps you’ll need to take.

  1. Decide if adoption is right for you.

Before we get into how adoption works in South Carolina, you’ll need to make sure you’re committed to the adoption process. Many prospective adoptive families come to us after struggling with infertility for years, and letting go of the dream of being biological parents can be difficult. However, it’s critical that you’re able to put all of your attention and resources into adoption if you take this path.

We recommend you speak at length about your adoption decision with your partner and other family members and, if necessary, consult with a counselor to understand any remaining doubts you may have about beginning the process. If you contact the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson at 864-573-5533, our adoption professionals can tell you more about what the South Carolina adoption process is like and what you could expect from choosing to work with us.

  1. Decide what kind of adoption to pursue.

There are, generally, three ways to adopt a child in the United States: through a private domestic infant adoption, a foster care adoption or an international adoption. Here’s how adoption works in each of these cases:

  • Private domestic infant adoption: In our adoption matching program, we match adoptive families with a pregnant women considering adoption. Families may have the chance to get to know the expectant family and establish a relationship with her during the pregnancy. Once the baby is born, the involved birth parents will sign a consent to the adoption, and the baby will be placed with you.
  • Foster care adoption: Whether it’s through a foster-to-adopt process or an adoption of a child already waiting in the foster system, prospective adoptive families can often adopt a child in state custody more quickly and with minimal financial involvement compared to the private infant adoption process. Attorney Jim Thompson can also help you complete this legal process.
  • International adoption: If you’re a prospective adoptive family who lives in the U.S., you can adopt a child from another country. Our firm can refer you to an international adoption agency. If you live in another country and hope to adopt a child from the United States, the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson is one of only three U.S. firms that can complete this adoption process for you.

Your steps to adoption will vary based on the type of adoption you choose, each of which has its own pros and cons to consider. It’s best to do extensive research before deciding which process of adoption is right for you. Remember, our adoption professionals are here to answer any questions you have about the child adoption process in South Carolina.

  1. Complete background screening.

Whether you work with us to complete your private domestic infant adoption, foster care adoption or international adoption, you will need to undergo background screening and checks to make sure you’re prepared for adoption.  This will include everything from federal and state background clearances to the South Carolina home study process.

When you first contact us, we will talk at length with you about the requirements for adoption and how to start the adoption process in your situation. We’ll help ensure you’re financially, emotionally and physically ready for the adoption process and refer you to a trusted professional to complete your licensed home study.

Once you are cleared through your background checks, you’ll be ready to become active with our law firm and continue with your adoption process in South Carolina.

  1. Find an adoption opportunity.

After you are cleared to begin the adoption process, the next step (and perhaps the most important) is finding an adoption opportunity, whether that’s with a prospective birth mother, a child waiting for adoption in foster care, or an international child who’s available for adoption.

If you’re pursuing a private domestic adoption with us, we’ll ask you to complete an adoptive family profile — a hard copy book or flyer that represents you as a family. We show these profiles to all of our prospective birth mothers, and your photos and descriptions help pregnant women decide if you would be a good fit for their baby.

If you’re pursuing a foster care adoption, you can view the children available for adoption through the state photolisting. If you’re pursuing an international adoption outside of the U.S., your international adoption agency will work with you to find an adoption situation.

  1. Finalize your South Carolina adoption process.

After you have found an adoption situation, you will have to wait for the placement of the adopted child — which could take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on the adoption process you’ve chosen. After the child has been placed with you, there will be some legal steps to take to make sure your adoption is properly finalized.

Attorney Jim Thompson will let you know what those processes are depending on your adoption situation, but here are some of the steps you may need to take:

  • Post-placement assessments: A social worker will visit your home to make sure you and your adopted child are adjusting to your new lives together.
  • ICPC and Hague requirements: If you are adopting from out of the state or out of the country, you will have to meet additional requirements before you can leave South Carolina. We’ll help you meet those requirements to reduce the likelihood of complications in your adoption process.
  • Adoption finalization: After your child has been placed with you and you have satisfied any post-placement requirements, you’ll be required to return to the court under whose jurisdiction your adoption falls. As the last step in the adoption process in the U.S.A., a judge will review your adoption to make sure all legalities were properly followed, and if approved, you will receive a final adoption decree.

Depending on the kind of adoption process you complete, you may continue your adoption journey with post-placement contact, depending on the preferences between you and the birth family. Our adoption professionals will help you prepare for post-placement contact and be available to mediate interactions throughout the adoption process, if desired.

If you’re asking, “How can I adopt a baby in South Carolina?” the first thing you should do is contact our law offices today. Not only can we help you understand how to start the adoption process in South Carolina, but we can help you recognize whether you’re truly ready for adoption and, if so, which adoption process might be best for you. Please call us today at 864-573-5533.