Who can adopt and foster?

You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent

Adoption day happy father and son

You don’t need to own your own home, have children already, or be young, wealthy, or a stay-at-home parent to adopt or foster. Although eligibility requirements vary between states and territories, in most instances marital status, age, income, and sexual orientation will not automatically disqualify someone from being a foster parent or adopting a child from foster care.

Characteristics needed to be a good foster or adoptive parent include:

  • Being stable, mature, dependable, and flexible
  • Having the ability to advocate for children
  • Being a team player with your family or child welfare worker

While most adults qualify to foster and adopt, eligibility requirements vary between states. Our state foster care and adoption information can help individuals and families determine whether they are eligible to adopt where they live. Child Welfare Information Gateway also has a summary of state laws about who may adopt, be adopted, or who may place a child for adoption.

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Learn  about the children in foster care and the qualities of successful families by clicking through our short, interactive modules.

Frequently asked questions about who can foster and adopt

AdoptUSKids foster care and adoption resource specialists respond to hundreds of questions about foster care and adoption, and an active community of families is always exchanging information on our Facebook page.

Below are our responses to some of the more frequently asked questions we receive about who can adopt and foster.

Are military families eligible to adopt?

Yes. Find links to resources and information for military families living in the United States and overseas on our website.

Can US citizens living overseas adopt from foster care?

Yes. Both US citizens and non-citizens living outside the United States are eligible to adopt from US foster care. For  information on international adoptions, please refer to the US State Department’s information on intercountry adoptions.

Is it possible to adopt a child with Native American heritage?

In some cases, yes, but families fostering or adopting Native American children must be aware of laws governing their placement and understand the importance of their culture. Find out about fostering or adopting native children.

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