Pregnant and Thinking About Adoption: Selecting Adoptive Parents

This information was taken directly from Child Welfare Information Gateway

Selecting Adoptive Parents

Whether you place your child through an agency or through an independent adoption, you will probably have a great deal of choice in selecting the parents for your child. Spend some time thinking about what type of family and home you would prefer for your child. For example, are you looking for parents who share your values and beliefs? Is it important to you that your child be raised by two parents or with other siblings? Do you want a family that feels the same way you do about staying in touch after the adoption?10

In an agency adoption, families interested in adopting will apply to the agency. You may have the opportunity to look through profiles, letters, pictures, and/or videos to select potential parents for your child. If you want, many agencies will arrange for you to meet prospective adoptive families before you make a decision on which family feels right.

In an independent adoption, there are many ways that expectant mothers find potential adoptive parents. Sometimes they become aware of families interested in adoption through a lawyer, doctor, family members, a friend, or their faith community. Some people who want to adopt develop profiles that appear on websites and social media forums like Facebook or run ads in local newspapers. This type of advertising is restricted or illegal in some States but is very popular in other places.11 Once you make contact with a potential adoptive family, an adoption lawyer can help you follow up.

Keep in mind: While the Internet and social media make finding information about prospective adoptive parents quicker and easier, they also can create opportunities for pressure, fraud, and exploitation. If you use the Internet to find potential adoptive parents, be sure to ask lots of questions to assess whether the service providers are ethical and the services are in your and your child’s best interest.

In both agency adoptions and private/independent adoptions, prospective adoptive families must complete a home study process. The purpose of the home study is to ensure that the adoptive home is safe and appropriate for the child. A home study typically includes interviews with prospective parents, visits to the home, and background and criminal record checks.12 Talk with your counselor or lawyer about getting a copy of a potential adoptive family’s profile and/or home study.

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Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2014). Are you pregnant and thinking about adoption? Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.


7 For more information, see Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families at

8 For more information, see Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses at

9 For more information, see Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements at

10 For a list of sample questions to ask prospective parents, see the American Pregnancy Association website at

11 For more information, read Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements at

12 For more information, read The Adoption Home Study Process at