Adoption Age Requirements


Adoption laws are set by each state in the U.S. and by each country which allow adoptions. Age requirements for those who wish to adopt are sometimes specifically stated, and other times there are no age restrictions. In general, most adults over the age of 18 in the U.S. are eligible to adopt.

The age requirements to adopt are different based on the type of adoption you choose – domestic, international, or foster-adopt.

  • Domestic Adoptions

    • Requirements set by state law

    • Some states require prospective parents to be at least 18, while a few others set the minimum age at 21 or 25

    • Other states say that adopting parents must be at least 10 or even 15 years older than the child to be adopted

    • There are few laws that limit older people from adopting, however some agencies can have age requirements

    • Foster Adoptions (State Adoption)

    • Requirements set by state law

    • In most cases, your age will not automatically disqualify you from adopting a child from U.S. foster care

  • International Adoptions

    • If unmarried, you must be at least 25 years old

    • Must also meet your home state’s adoption requirements

    • Each foreign country has its own age requirements (currently, China requires both parents to be between the ages of 30 and 50)

It is important to always seek the advice of a qualified adoption attorney so they can explain the current adoption laws in your state or refer you to adoption attorneys who practice in other states or internationally.

While there may be age requirements for hopeful adoptive parents in certain circumstances, you do not need to be “perfect parents” in order to adopt. Children simply need someone who will provide a loving, caring, and safe environment – someone who will make them a permanent part of their family.

Additional information about adoption age requirements can be found at: