Am I Eligible to Adopt?

All programs and countries have their own list of qualifications regarding prospective adoptive parents. Be sure to research your specific program of interest to learn if you meet the minimum qualifications. Below are some general guidelines to get you thinking about whether adoption is a possibility for you.

Adopting Domestically

  1. In most instances, marital status, age, sexual orientation, or income will not automatically disqualify you from adopting a child from U.S. (either privately, through an agency, or through the foster care system). You don’t need to own your own home, have children already, be young, wealthy, or a stay-at-home parent to adopt or provide foster care. Eligibility requirements vary from state to state.
  2. Most states require that adoptive parents be at least 18 years of age with a set minimum age difference between the child and adoptive parent(s).
  3. At least one parent must be a citizen of the U.S. in order to adopt a child into a U.S. family.

Adopting Internationally

  1. Most countries have their own regulations governing the age, marital status, sexual orientation, and background of adoptive applicants. In some countries, requirements may be more flexible for children with known medical or developmental needs as well as for healthy, older children.
  2. U.S. Immigration requires that single parents be at least 25 years of age with no age restrictions for married couples. In addition to this, most countries offering international adoption programs have their own age parameters that must be met by adoptive parents. Specific age requirements can be found online or through your agency.
  3. Applications from married couples are widely accepted by all countries (although there may be exceptions for length of marriage or the number of prior marriages). Counties are also much more likely to accept applications from single women than from single men.
  4. At least one parent must be a citizen of the U.S. in order to adopt a child into a U.S. family.
  5. Learn more on qualifications necessary through the International Adoption Services at

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