The Waiting Game: “How long does it take to adopt?”

How Long Does it Take to Adopt?” Everyone wants to know. How long, really? Waiting is one of the most excruciatingly unpredictable pieces of the adoption process for prospective families. My answer? It can take a while.

waiting game.jpg

  • Much of it depends on the future adoptive parent or parents and your pace to submit the required documentation at each step.
  • Much is driven by regulatory guidelines, the unique requirements of an individual country, and a family’s identified child profile.
  • Most significantly, though, the time from application to homecoming is driven by our desire to thoroughly prepare a prospective family for this journey, and to make sure that we are doing everything possible to support the best match between a child’s needs and a family’s skills.

Like me, however, perhaps you a sucker for statistics, and you want to know what the numbers say. The fact is, there are too many variables, which end up ‘skewing’ our average wait times for families. And the numbers risk misleading inquiring minds. I’ve occasionally joked that the answer to every question about adoption begins with the phrase, “it depends.”

Frustrating, right?

Let that feeling settle. Allow it to wash over you, because your ability to manage frustration will serve you well as an adoptive parent. As any type of parent, really. Frustration, though, will become a frequent visitor for those who choose this path, so you might as well get to know each other.waiting image

Allow me to flip the narrative. Imagine yourself as a child in an orphanage or foster home. Most likely, it isn’t your first. You are living your life, growing and learning and developing into your unique identity. You are struggling to make sense of your reality and to grieve each loss. And you are waiting for what you’ve been told is a family, a concept you might not even understand.

How long has your wait been? How long should it be? How frustrating?

At WACAP, we care deeply about the process for prospective adoptive parents. We want you to be prepared, and informed, and to be ready as soon as possible to bring your child home. We work to minimize your wait, when possible. However, our main priority is to address the urgent needs of those children who have been waiting for years to meet the family who will ultimately say ‘yes’ to them. Without a family, none of us would reach our full potential. Let’s work together to end their wait. Adopt, donate, or help us find families.

Children are waiting for us to act.

*For specific information about wait times and adoption requirements for specific countries, please inquire online using WACAP’s contact form or contact WACAP’s Adoption Information Specialist at or 1-800-732-1887.

WACAP CEO at orphanage in Africa, children gather smilingAbout WACAP’s CEO, Greg Eubanks: Greg joined WACAP as CEO in December 2014. Serving children and families has been the focus and passion of his 20-year career in nonprofit executive leadership and business administration. With an extensive background in international adoption and foster care, Greg is committed to bringing hope to the children living without a family … and helping them home.


WACAP (World Association for Children and Parents) is one of the largest and most experienced international nonprofit adoption and child assistance agencies in the United States. Since 1976, we’ve placed over 10,000 children with loving adoptive parents and provided food, medical care and education to more than 200,000 children around the world.
This entry was posted in Adoption, Adoption FAQ, Domestic Adoption, Facts and Figures, From the CEO, International Adoption, Staff/Board Spotlight and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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