How Long Does it Take to Adopt a Child in S.C.? Limiting Wait Time

When you’re considering adopting a child, you may have already been through months and years of waiting to become parents. So, we understand that one of your biggest questions may be, “How long does it take to adopt a child in South Carolina?”

Unfortunately, because every adoption situation is different, how long it takes to adopt a baby will depend on your own situation. If you’re pursuing a private infant adoption in South Carolina, your wait time will ultimately depend on the birth mother who chooses you.

Another factor that determines adoption wait times is the kind of adoption you decide to pursue. If you’re curious about how your situation may impact your adoption wait time, you can always speak to a professional at the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson at any time by calling 864-573-5533.

To help you understand your expected wait time for different kinds of adoption, we break down each process here.

Domestic Infant Adoption

How Long it Takes:

While the time you wait for a placement may vary based on whether you work with an agency or independently with a lawyer, your wait time will be based primarily on how long it takes for a potential birth mother to choose you. However, before you even get to this step, you will need to complete the screening and home study process, which can take around 2-3 months to complete.

Once you are matched with a birth mother, you could wait months or hours to have your child placed with you; it all depends on how far along the expectant mother is in her pregnancy. After placement, your adoption is not legally complete until it has been finalized in court, which usually takes place six months after placement.

Although every family’s adoption is different, on average, the domestic infant adoption process takes about a year to complete. For estimated adoption wait times in South Carolina for each of our adoption programs, please contact the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson at 864-573-5533.

How You Can Reduce Your Wait Time:

Because a lot of the time spent waiting for an adoption involves matching with a potential birth mother, it’s important that you have an optimized, attractive adoptive family profile for prospective birth mothers to view. Our social workers can provide you examples of well-designed adoptive family profiles and, if needed, can give you suggestions on how to make your profile the best it can be. The exposure your profile has will also play a role; you will have the choice of whether you’d like your adoptive family profile displayed on our website for a potentially wider reach to birth mothers in South Carolina.

But one of the most critical aspects of limiting how long the adoption process is includes being flexible and open to different adoption situations. For example, if you only want to adopt a Caucasian girl from a family with no medical issues, you will wait much longer than someone who is open to adopting a child of any race, gender and medical history.

Some of the areas to consider when thinking about adopting are:

  • Race:Considering a transracial adoption may be the right fit for your family.
  • Mother’s use of alcohol and drugs: Many adoptive parents worry about a child born to a birth mother who has a history of substance use, so it’s important you’re fully informed before making this decision. Talk to your family doctor for more information.
  • Type of adoption relationship (open, closed, mediated): Most potential birth moms want some level of openness with an adoptive family, so hopeful parents who are open to post-placement contact are more likely to find an adoption opportunity quickly. Finding a birth mother who wants a completely closed adoption is incredibly rare today.
  • Gender: If prospective adoptive parents choose to be gender-specific, they are essentially eliminating half of all potential adoption opportunities. In addition, not all expectant mothers know the gender of their baby when they are matched, so gender-specific adoptive parents will also be unavailable for those matches as well.

Also important in determining how long it takes to adopt a child will be the outreach ability of your adoption professional.

At the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, we will work to reduce your wait time for adoptions in South Carolina through our experienced matching process and in-house counseling for potential birth mothers. In our adoption consultation with you, our social workers can also provide suggestions to help you find an adoption opportunity more quickly. In addition, we offer you the option to work with professionals outside of our office if you want to increase your chances of being matched quickly with a potential birth mother.

Foster Care Adoption

How Long it Takes:

The South Carolina foster care system may be able to place a child with you faster than a private adoption professional. This is mainly because there are many children already awaiting adoption in the state. In 2015, almost 50 percent of families adopting through the foster care system were placed with a child within six months (although finalizing the adoption takes longer).

However, the ultimate goal of the state foster care system is to reunite children with their legal parents. If you decide to foster a child who is not currently available for adoption in the hopes of eventually adopting them, you should be prepared for an unpredictable wait period that could result in the child’s reunification with his or her legal parents. You can avoid this wait period by adopting a child whose parents have already had their legal rights terminated. Also under South Carolina law, foster parents have the ability to file a termination of parental rights (TPR) case, even if DSS has not yet chosen to file a TPR action.

You do not have to become a foster parent before adopting a child, although many families do. To see the children available for adoption through the South Carolina foster system today, check out the photolisting here.

How You Can Reduce Your Wait Time:

Like any other kind of adoption, you will need to complete background screenings and a home study to make sure that you are prepared to be adoptive parents. To expedite this process, it’s important to have all of your documents in order before you begin the adoption process. In addition, because you will need to complete family training before being placed with a foster child, scheduling this training as a priority and completing the classes in a timely fashion will also speed up the process.

Whether you are a foster parent advocating for a foster child’s best interest through adoption, or you’re adopting a waiting child straight from the foster care system, we can help you collect the necessary documentation to make your adoption process run smoothly and more quickly. Our experience will also ensure that the legal process of your adoption will be completed efficiently.

International Adoption

How Long it Takes:

When it comes to how long it takes to adopt a child internationally, the answer will vary widely based on which country you choose to adopt from.

After your home study and international adoption dossier are complete (which can take anywhere between 2-5 months), the time it takes an international adoption process to result in a placement will depend on the age and gender of the child you’re adopting, whether the child you’re adopting has any special needs, the adoption laws in the country you’re adopting from and more. Average waiting times for placement can be anywhere from six months for countries like Ukraine to five years for adoptions from China.

On the other hand, if you’re an international family hoping to adopt a child from South Carolina through our firm, your adoption wait time will be more comparable to our private domestic adoption wait time, which will depend upon your adoption preferences and how quickly a potential birth mother chooses you.

How You Can Reduce Your Wait Time:

Before deciding on a country to adopt from, we recommend you do extensive research on how long it takes to adopt a baby or child from that country. You should be completely aware of the pros and cons of international adoption to make sure you’re 100 percent prepared to begin your adoption journey.

Like with domestic adoption, you can reduce the amount of time you spend waiting for a placement by being more flexible with your adoption preferences. Many adoptable children in other countries have been subjected to abuse, mistreatment and malnourishment or have physical or developmental disabilities. If you are open-minded about adopting a child with one of these issues, you will likely wait a shorter time for a successful placement.

You will also need to make sure you have all of your international adoption paperwork completed in a timely manner to prevent any delays in finalizing your adoption or bringing your adopted child back to the U.S. We do not arrange incoming adoptions into the U.S., but we can complete the domestication of a foreign decree once you have arrived back in the U.S. with your child.

Remember, we can provide you counseling and resources to help you decide if adoption through our firm is best for you — and, once you’ve decided, we can help you complete (at the very least) the legal aspects of that adoption.

To adopt now in South Carolina with the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, please give us a call at 864-573-5533 or contact us online.