How Can I Get Started With the Foster and Adoption Process?

  • Select an agency or county and attend an adoption orientation.
  • Complete the foster care and adoption application.
  • Begin training classes.
  • Complete the background checks.
  • Complete the home study process by becoming an approved adoptive family with the county or agency.
  • Bring the foster child into your home.
  • After a minimum of six months (if  the child is legally free) you can then finalize the adoption in your county court or the county where the agency is located.

Who Can Foster or Adopt?

  • Anyone who is single, married or divorced.
  • Anyone who is currently a parent or has never been a parent.
  • Anyone with or without children.
  • You can own your home or rent.
  • You can be at least 21 years old and older (you are never too old to adopt).

How Much Does it Cost to Adopt?

  • Most adoptions from foster care are free (there may be some minimal fees depending on the agency you use, however these fees are often reimbursable).

 Who are These Waiting Children?

  • In the US there are 104,000 foster children that are legally free and waiting to be adopted.
  • There are approximately 3,000 children in foster care in Colorado, and there are around 303 of them are waiting to be adopted.
  • Through no fault of their own, these children enter foster care as a result of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment.
  • The average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 9.


Adoptive Placement:  The point at which a child begins to live with the prospective adoptive parents; the period before the adoption is finalized.

Certification:  The approval process that takes place to ensure, insofar as possible, that adoptive or foster parents are suitable, dependable, and responsible.

Finalization:  The final legal step in the adoption process; this involves a court hearing during which the judge orders that the adoptive parents become the child’s legal parents.

Home Study:  A process through which prospective adoptive parents are educated about adoption and evaluated to determine their suitability to adopt.

IEP:  Abbreviation for Individualized Education Plan, which is a plan for educational support services and outcomes developed for students enrolled in special education programs.

Legal Risk Placement:  Placement of a child in a prospective adoptive family when a child is not yet legally free for adoption. Before another family may legally adopt a child, the parental rights of his or her birth parents must be terminated.  In a “legal risk” adoptive placement, either this termination of parental rights has not yet occurred, or it is being contested. In some cased, termination of parental rights is delayed until a specific adoptive family has been identified.

Legally Free:  A child whose birth parents’ rights have been legally terminated so that the child is “free” to be adopted by another family.

Respite Care:  Temporary or short-term home care of a child provided for pay or on a voluntary basis by adults other than thte parents (birth, foster, or adoptive parents).

Special Needs Children:  Children whose emotional or physical disorders, age, race, membership in a sibling group, a history of abuse, or other factors contribute to a lengthy stay in foster care. Guidelines for classifying a child as special needs vary by State. Common special needs conditions and diagnoses include:

  • Serious medical conditions
  • Emotional and behavioral disorders
  • History of abuse or neglect
  • Medical or genetic risk due to familial mental illness or parental substance abuse

Waiting Children:  Children in the public child welfare system who cannot return to their birth homes and need permanent, loving families to help them grow up safe and secure.