Adoption Lawyer Serving Leesburg, Loudoun, Fairfax, Ashburn, Manassas, Winchester and Northern Virginia --- The Law Firm of Karen S. Law.

Adoptive Parent FAQ

Are there many children who need adoptive homes?

Yes! There are many children in the United States and overseas who are in need of loving families. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 424,000 children are living in the U.S. foster care system. Of these children in foster care, over 122,000 are eligible for adoption. On average, children in foster care wait four years to be adopted by a family (Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute). In 2020, approximately 57,900 children in the foster care system were adopted (Administration for Children and Families). Internationally, it is estimated that roughly 10 million children are living in institutions and over 60 million children are living on the streets. International adoption can give these children a chance at a better future ( While there are so many children in need of homes, international adoption rates have been declining. According to the US Department of State, in 2020, there were only 1,622 children adopted from overseas to US families.

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LawAdoption.comHow long does it take to adopt?

On average, a domestic adoption can be completed in two years. International adoptions may take up to five years, sometimes longer. Domestic adoptions require that your family be vetted by both the state agency where the baby was born, as well as the agency in the state you live (What to Expect). An Adoptive Families survey found that 63 percent of families in U.S. adopting newborns were matched within a year. For 37 percent of families, the wait was longer than 12 months (Adoptive Families).

  • For domestic adoptions, these were the average wait times to adopt a baby via an adoption agency in 2018 (
    • Matched within 1 year: 62%
    • Matched within 2 years: 82%
    • Via an adoption attorney in 2018:
      • Matched within 1 year: 68%
      • Matched within 2 years: 84

International adoptions take longer because international agencies must go through all of your documentation. Agencies in some countries do this more quickly than others. Your adoption will likely be completed more quickly If you're willing to adopt a special-needs child or an older child (What to Expect).

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Can I adopt if I'm over 40?

Yes, there are no age limits in a private adoption. Check with your adoption attorney to see if private adoption is available in your state.

The age limits for an international adoption vary by country, but typically are 50 or greater. Some domestic agencies do impose age restrictions, usually at age 45.

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Isn't it really expensive to adopt?

LawAdoption.comThere is help available. The federal Adoption Tax Credit provides funds for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child. The credit is indexed for inflation and will increase annually. Eligible expenses include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging) and other expenses directly related to your adoption.

There is an income limit for this credit.

Further, many large employers offer adoption assistance. Those payments may qualify for exclusion from your income for tax purposes in addition to the tax credit.

The credit is adjusted for inflation and it increases annually. Eligible expenses include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses, and other expenses directly related to your adoption.

If you adopt a special needs child or a child from foster care, the cost is usually less and a monthly adoption subsidy is often available to help pay for things like remedial educational services, physical therapy and medical care. You may also take the entire amount of the tax credit even if you donít incur those costs.

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I've heard horror stories of birth parents "reclaiming" their children after several years-does that happen very often?

LawAdoption.comIt's very rare. Adoption is governed by state law and if you and the birth parents work with licensed adoption professionals, your risk is small.

In Virginia, there is a "fall-through" rate of 1 to 2% after the child is born, and that usually happens in the first three days after birth. The "revocation period" or time which the birth parent has to "change their mind" after consenting to the adoption, varies by state as well. For a private adoption in Virginia, the birth parent's consent is irrevocable seven days after signing. If a birth parent places through an agency, consent is revocable once all three of the following have occurred: seven days have passed since the signing of the entrustment agreement, the child is ten days old, and the child is placed in the physical custody of adoptive parents. An adoption cannot be challenged for any reason 6 months after a Final Order of Adoption is granted by a Circuit Court in the Commonwealth.



Serving clients in Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Arlington County, Alexandria, Frederick County, Albermarle County, Culpeper County, Dinwiddie County, Pittsylvania County, Rockingham County, Shenandoah County, Spotsylvania County, Stafford County, Warren County, Westmoreland County, Virginia Beach and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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