The adoption process is different in every state, but one consistency across the US is that infants cannot be legally adopted before their birth. While expectant parents considering adoption may make an adoption plan before the birth of their child, it isn’t until after the birth and an appointed amount of time has passed that the adoption paperwork can be started by the caseworker and parent involved in the adoption. For most, a domestic infant adoption placement will take place at the hospital a few days after the birth. 

How Young Can a Baby Be Before Adopted?

There’s no specific age that a child must be in order to be adopted. In fact, infant adoptions make up only 5 percent of total adoptions in the United States with non-infant and special needs adoptions making up 95 percent. Different situations require different approaches when it comes to adoption; some newborns are placed for adoption after their birth, some parents don’t consider adoption until after they’ve tried parenting for some time, and some kids enter foster care. No matter the situation you find yourself in while looking into adopting a child, understanding your options can help you decide on which type of adoption best fits your situation.

What should I know about placing my newborn for adoption?

Adopting a newborn is a life-changing experience for many families, but what about the birth parents who make the selfless decision to place their child for adoption? The process of adoption can be emotional and complex for birth parents. In some cases, birth parents may choose to have an open adoption, which allows for ongoing contact and communication with the adoptive family and child. Others may opt for a closed adoption, where all communication is confidential. It’s important to note that adoption agencies offer resources and counseling services to support birth parents during this difficult and emotional time. Ultimately, the decision to place a child for adoption belongs to the birth parents and the process looks different for each individual case.

What should I know about adopting a newborn?

Welcoming a new member to your family is an exciting time, and for some families, adopting a newborn is an option they choose to pursue. While the process of adopting a newborn can be lengthy and require a lot of preparation and patience, the end result is worth it. Providing a loving home to a child who needs one is a truly rewarding experience that can bring joy and fulfillment to everyone involved.


Newborn adoptions can happen domestically or internationally and there are a variety of different avenues to explore. Whether you choose to work with an agency or pursue an independent adoption, the decision to add a little one to your family is a big one, but one that can bring joy and love into your life.

How Young Can a Baby Be Before Adopted?

What if I’m already parenting and now considering adoption?

Becoming a parent is a big decision that requires careful consideration and planning. Before considering adoption, you probably entertained the possibility of parenting. This means assessing your physical, emotional, and financial ability to provide for a child. It also means examining your values and beliefs to ensure that you can provide a nurturing and supportive environment for a child. Parenting can be challenging, but if you are committed to providing a loving and secure home for a child, then it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Take the time to reflect on your readiness to become a parent before exploring adoption as an option.

If you do decide to parent, but have considered the possibility of adoption, remember that you still have options after you’ve started parenting. For some mothers, they learn early on that parenting may not be best for them and their children. Whatever the reason for considering adoption as an alternative to parenting, parents and children should feel supported in this change of paths. Some mothers will consider kinship adoption or respite care while they weigh their options. Depending on your state, if the child is young enough (typically under 2 years old), an adoption agency will be able to assist in helping you find a family you love to adopt your child and access counseling post-placement. Reach out to your local adoption agency to learn more about their policies–there is no obligation in speaking with an adoption professional.

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How are foster care and adoption linked?

Foster care and adoption both involve giving homes and families to children who are unable to live with their birth parents. While foster care is considered to be temporary in nature and can last from a few days to several months, adoption is a permanent legal process. However, the ultimate goal for both foster care and adoption is to provide children with a loving and stable environment that they can call home. Many adoptions begin with a foster care arrangement in which prospective adoptive parents first foster a child before making a final decision to adopt. In this way, foster care can be seen as a stepping stone towards adoption. 

Additionally, both foster care and adoption require an extensive vetting process to ensure that the prospective parents are capable of providing a safe and nurturing environment. Ultimately, both foster care and adoption have the power to change a child’s life for the better.

Can you voluntarily place your children in foster care?

Parenting is a challenging task, and sometimes, parents face situations where they feel like they cannot provide their children with the loving and supportive environment they deserve. In such cases, considering foster care as an option is natural. But the question is, can parents voluntarily place their children in foster care? It depends on your state’s laws and policies for foster care. In some states, you can make a voluntary placement into foster care. Parents can choose to place their children in foster care on a voluntary basis, provided they meet certain requirements. This decision is not an easy one, and parents should always seek professional guidance before making any short- or long-term plans.

How Young Can a Baby Be Before Adopted?

Ultimately, the decision to parent or adopt should be made based on the best interest of the child and what is best for the parent(s). There are many challenges that come with any kind of adoption. Whether you are pregnant and considering adoption for your newborn or already parenting and considering voluntary relinquishment, remember that you can find support and answers from adoption professionals with no obligation to pursue any plan you do not feel comfortable with.