Office of Children and Family Services

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Adopt a Child

Adopt a New York Waiting Child

Is adoption the option for you?

Adoption is a decision for the entire family. Talk to your family about what it might be like. Since most New York State children available for adoption are in foster care, talk to others who have adopted children formerly in foster care. Consider the personal resources you and your family would bring to the new relationship. Consider the community resources available to support your decision - school and medical personnel, support groups, friends, and neighbors.

There are many ways for you to experience caring for children who need a loving adult. Many people become foster parents; some serve as volunteers with a child welfare agency before adopting. Any of the agencies listed on this website can advise you about ways to get involved.

New York State's local social services adoption units offer orientation and training to groups of interested people. Staff can answer questions about adoption, and you can begin to decide whether adoption is the best option for you and your family.

Who are New York's children awaiting adoption?

In New York State, no child may be adopted until the parental rights of the birth parents have been relinquished or terminated. This means that the child is free to be adopted. Typically, nearly 1,000 children are free for adoption and waiting for you, or someone like you, to offer them the permanent family life they have been denied. They need love and security. They need a permanent home. They need you.

  • All are valuable, growing children who deserve a loving, permanent family.
  • Most, if not all, are children waiting in foster care.
  • They are a diverse group of children, primarily African-American, Caucasian, and Hispanic.
  • Few are three years old and younger.
  • Many are between the ages of 7 and 13.
  • Some have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.
  • Many belong to sibling groups who need to be adopted together.

Who are the families who adopt?

Adoptive families vary in age, income, lifestyle, and financial and marital status. Some adoptive families are headed by a single, working parent. Some are two-parent families with birth children. There is no "typical" adoptive family.

Whether you are single or married, old or young, childless or a parent, renter or homeowner, you may apply to adopt a child. To adopt, you need to be:

  • willing to learn about the unique needs of an adoptive child;
  • patient and loving;
  • energetic and giving;
  • able to provide a secure environment;
  • equipped to meet the needs of a growing child.

To adopt, you do not need to:

  • have parenting experience;
  • be married;
  • own your own home;
  • earn a high income.

For more information, contact the New York State Adoption Service at 1-800-345-KIDS (5437) Or email us at: