How to Prepare for the Adoption Process
Adopting a child will be one of the most significant changes you will ever experience. Not only are you welcoming someone new into your home, you are also providing a child with a loving, stable home they may otherwise have not had. And although your heart and soul will be full of happiness, you may also be a little nervous or overwhelmed on how to prepare for this process. That’s why we are here to help guide you. Continue reading to learn more about preparing for the adoption process.


First, it’s best to be aware of the different types of adoption. At Burlington, we assist our clients with four kinds of adoption: Domestic, International, Special Needs and Foster to Adopt. Depending on your existing family, we can help you determine what your needs are and help find your family the best fit. Domestic adoption can range from newborns to teenagers. If you are considering international adoption, more than 30 countries outside of the US allow US citizens to adopt. 

Special needs adoptions can be both domestic or international. The definition used to describe special needs is someone over the age of eight who presents a barrier to adoption, whether a physical or mental disability, serious emotional maladjustment, or a recognized high risk of psychological or physical disability. 

There are over 440,000 children in the foster care system. And although the ultimate goal of foster care is reunification with families, sometimes, that is not always possible. Fostering to adopt may be an excellent option for those who cannot afford the costs that come with adoption. If you’d like to learn more about foster care, check out our blog, 3 Reasons Why You Should Foster A Child


Burlington can help with many adoption steps. We are licensed by the WV Department of Health and Human Resources and serve all 55 counties in the state of West Virginia*. Some of the ways we help are:

  • Home Study Preparation
  • Adoptive Parent Training
  • Domestic Newborn Placements
  • Post-Placement and Post-Adoption Services
  • Counseling and support services to both birth parents and adult adoptees


Adoption can be extremely costly, especially if you are adopting internationally or somewhere that will require travel costs such as airfare. Adoption alone can typically cost anywhere from $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 depending on the type of adoption, unless it is adoption through the foster system; then, costs are much lower and are sometimes free. 

Though the numbers listed above can seem staggering, many grants and loan opportunities are available, such as Sometimes, employers also offer adoption benefits or assistance programs, and you can also benefit and possibly qualify for the adoption tax credit.


No matter the path you choose, all adoption applicants will be required to complete a home study. A home study is a process that allows you to adopt a child legally. Your home study will have two parts – evaluation and education. A home study is done to ensure that no child will be placed in an unsafe or non-ready home. You will be assessed on your fitness to serve as a parent. If you currently have children, they may be evaluated as well. 

The timeline for the home study to be completed and evaluated varies on an individual case basis. However, on average, they can take anywhere from three to six months. 

The comprehensive home study will include:

  • Several visits to the home
  • Health exams
  • Criminal background checks
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of insurance
  • Multiple references to vouch for you

It can seem like a daunting process, but Burlington will be there for you every step of the way! 


With the ever-evolving digital world around us and at-home DNA tests, it’s easier than ever to connect with ancestors, history, and sometimes, unknown relatives. Additionally, there is a current trend where maintaining some contact between birth and adoptive families is not unusual. You must decide what is best for your family and prepare for how open you want to be. It’s important to note, even in a “closed” adoption, after the age of 18, children will have the ability to find their birth parents and maintain a relationship with them.


Preparing for adoption can go both ways, as the woman giving up her child for adoption also needs preparation. As an additional service at Burlington, we help guide struggling families and mothers residing in West Virginia with free, confidential birth counseling services. Counseling and support services, which are determined individually, are available to birth parents and their families. In addition, any birth parent who is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or feels they are not emotionally or financially prepared to parent may contact our social workers throughout the pregnancy or after the birth of their child to arrange for counseling and informational services.


At Burlington United Methodist Family Services, Inc., we help all families – no matter the marital status, sex, religion or race in the adoption process in finding their forever child. Although there is a lot to consider and prepare for, Burlington will be there to help you every step of the way. We are rooting for you and your family and can’t wait to help you create your forever family.

For more information about adoption or birth parent counseling, please fill out this form, email or contact our Charleston social worker, Jennifer Brown, at 304-720-1904 or, or our Keyser social worker, Patty Leasure, at 304-788-5384 or

*** The Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), effective July 14, 2014, requires that any person or agency providing International Adoption Services must be accredited or approved or be supervised or an exempted provider. Burlington United Methodist Family Services, Inc. is NOT Hague Accredited. However, BUMFS, Inc. may enter into a contract or inter-agency agreement with a Hague Accredited agency to act as an exempted or supervised provider to provide international adoption home studies and post-placement services. This is determined on a case-by-case basis.