Adoption: Where Do I Start?: Step 2: Understand the Law

This information was taken directly from Child Welfare Information Gateway

Step 2: Understand the Law

What You Should Know

State laws and regulations govern U.S. adoptions. Learning about the adoption laws in your State, or any States involved with your adoption, can smooth the process and help you avoid frustrating situations.

Some Places to Go

The State Statutes Search on the Information Gateway website highlights adoption topics and provides a brief overview and summaries of State laws on each topic:

Information regarding who may adopt, timeframes for consent and revocation of consent to adoption, termination of parental rights laws, and more are provided in the database and can be searched by State, Territory, or region.

In many States, the process to adopt a stepchild is different from other kinds of adoption. To learn more about the legal issues involved, see the Information Gateway factsheet Stepparent Adoption:

Continue to Adoption: Where Do I Start? Step 3: Explore Your Options/Select an Agency


Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at