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Birth, marriage & life events

Adopt a child

When children in foster care have a goal of adoption, often their resource (foster) parents will adopt them. When this does not happen, DHS and a broad-based network of partners work hard to find the most appropriate permanent family for that child. Many of the children are older, part of a sibling group, or have special needs.


To adopt from foster care you can be single, married, divorced, any gender, and any sexual orientation.


To begin the process, you need to:

  • Pass child abuse, criminal history, and FBI clearances.
  • Be physically able to care for a child.
  • Have space in your home for an additional child.
  • Be at least 21 years of age.

Where and when

The adoption certification process varies for each family. The length of time depends on the family’s availability and each specific agency’s requirements.


Generally, the first step to adoption is finding an agency that can certify you and be a support to you. It is important to choose an agency thoughtfully. They will be a great resource as you go through the adoption process. Each agency has slightly different training expectations and processes, but generally you will need to:

  • Fill out an application.
  • Attend an orientation.
  • Complete a series of tranings.
  • Get a medical examination that proves you are physically able to care for children and are free from contagious diseases.
  • Pass child abuse, criminal history, and FBI clearances.
  • Have a social worker come to your home to help determine if it is safe for a child.
  • Complete an extensive home study.

Once licensed, you work with the agency to identify children who might be a good match. You will be supported through this matching process to make sure that both you and the child feel comfortable with moving forward towards being a permanent family.