Domestic Adoption FAQs

Families often have many questions as they are beginning an adoption process. These FAQs will help you decide if adopting through Spence-Chapin’s Domestic Adoption Program is the right path for you to grow your family.

Who are the children in need of adoption?

  • Age: Infants from newborn to approximately 8 weeks old.
  • Race & Ethnicity: The babies reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the Greater New York City Area. Many children are of African-American and Latino backgrounds.
  • Gender: Families adopting through this program need to be open to a child of either gender.

Who Can Apply to Adopt? What Are the Eligibility Guidelines?

  • United States legal residents who are in good physical, mental and emotional health are eligible to adopt.
  • Single prospective parents (including legally separated), married & unmarried couples, heterosexual, and LGBTQ prospective parents are eligible to adopt.
  • Applicants over 50 years old or single applicants should consult with Spence-Chapin.
  • Spence-Chapin supports all adoptive and birth families in establishing an open adoption.
  • Applicants living within 100 miles of New York City including northern New Jersey, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and Westchester.

What Is Open Adoption?

Open adoption is when adoptive and birth families meet and are able to have ongoing contact with each other at their own discretion. Frequency and type of communication can range from the exchange of letters and emails, phone calls, shared pictures, and visits. Open adoption is not co-parenting. It is an opportunity for birth and adoptive families to develop a relationship that will benefit the adopted child.

How Is Open Adoption Negotiated?

Adoptive parents and birth parents each have their own social worker at Spence-Chapin. Your social worker will help you establish an open adoption plan that is comfortable to both you and your child’s birth parent(s). Both adoptive families and birth parents will get support from their social worker throughout this process.

What If I Want a Closed Adoption?

Research shows that open adoption is beneficial to all members of the adoption triad: the birth parents, the adoptive parents and the adopted person. Having access to their birth parent can help an adopted person develop a better sense of self with access to information about his or her background. Families who are the best candidates for Spence-Chapin’s Domestic Adoption Program are open to periodic exchange of emails, photos, and visits with the birth family.

Common Medical Risks

Many infants in need of adoption have some risks or unknowns in their medical backgrounds. Some of the infants come from backgrounds where they may have not had access to prenatal care and screening and/or been exposed to cigarette smoke, recreational drugs, and/or alcohol use during pregnancy. Good candidates for the Domestic Adoption Program are open to some risks and unknowns in the child’s medical history. This is something you will discuss with your social worker throughout your adoption process.

Special Needs Adoption

Through Spence-Chapin’s unique Special Needs Adoption Program, children born with medical special needs or at high risk of developing significant medical special needs have found adoptive families. The infants and children in need of adoption have a variety of special needs, from significant developmental issues to serious medical and congenital conditions.

Who Are Birth Parents?

Any woman of childbearing age could find herself in the position of an unplanned pregnancy. All birth parents have a great deal of love for their baby. They want to make a plan to give the baby a stable life that they are unable to provide at time of birth. Spence-Chapin’s experienced social workers provide intensive unbiased options counseling to biological parents in the NYC metro area to help them make the decision that is right for them and for their baby.

What Is the Matching Process?

Birth parents select an adoptive family by reviewing adoptive family profiles with their social worker. Once they have narrowed their choice down to one family, a match meeting is held between the birth family and the adoptive family. Both the adoptive family’s social worker and the birth parent’s social worker are present for this meeting to provide guidance and support.

How Long Will I Wait Before I’m Matched?

The average wait is approximately 24 to 36 months after completing a home study with Spence-Chapin. However wait times can be unpredictable as the matching process is birth parent-driven.

What Is Interim Care?

We understand that women and their partners need time and space to make a decision about the future of their family, especially after a recent birth of a child. Spence-Chapin’s Interim Care Program allows babies to be cared for in a loving home by a nurturing caregiver so that biological parents have additional time to plan for their child. Biological parents retain parental rights while their baby is in Interim Care and are free to visit their child. Our interim care givers are families who are trained and screened to care for the newborns on a temporary basis. Interim care allows the birth parents to feel confident in their plan before making the decision to place the infant for adoption.

What are Professional Service Fees?

Adoption Application Fee: $300

The fee for the Domestic Adoption Program is $51,000. There may be an additional fee of $1,000 for any home study updates and $500 for any home study addendums.

Professional Service Fees Payment Schedule
  • Home Study and Professional Service Fee: $7,000, due upon acceptance into the program.
  • Pre-Placement and Matching Services Fee: $22,000, due upon completion of your home study, when you are ready to become an active family.
  • Placement and Post-Placement Fee: $22,000, due after your child has been placed in your home.

*All fees are non-refundable and subject to change.

What Services are Included?

» Pre-Adoption, Initial Home Study, Matching, Placement, and Post-Placement Services

  • Home Study
  • Domestic Adoption Program
  • Orientation Group Meeting
  • Assistance creating your own
  • Family Profile listing on Spence-Chapin website
  • Outreach and advertising to birth parents
  • Counseling and support to birth parents and preadoptive families
  • Facilitation of match meeting
  • Legal services to birth parents
  • Birth parent medical and living expenses
  • Relinquishments of birth parents parental rights
  • Interim Care for infants
  • Medical expenses for infants while Spence-Chapin’s Interim Care
  • ICPC (Interstate Adoption Paperwork for infants placed across state lines)
  • State required post placement supervision
  • Preparation for adoption finalization
  • Ongoing counseling and support to birth parents and adoptive parents throughout the process

What Is My Next Step If I Want to Apply?

Attend the next Domestic Adoption Webinar!

Still Have Questions? Call us to ask questions and learn more

CALL: 212-400-8150


This Program Is Not the Right Fit for Me. What Are My Options?

Families pursuing a private, infant, domestic adoption often explore two paths: an agency or independent/attorney adoption. Spence-Chapin has provided home studies and emotional support services for hundreds of families adopting independently and we have the expertise to work with you and your adoption attorney. Spence-Chapin can provide recommendations for reputable adoption attorneys in the NYC area. Spence-Chapin provides home study and support services as you work closely with the attorney to navigate the legal process of adoption. Submit the home study application today to get started on the adoption paperwork.

Contact our team to find out Spence-Chapin can support your adoption process.

CALL: 212-400-8150


To find out more contact us at

212-400-8150 or email us at