The best place to begin any adoption process is with Information! Learn all you can. Adding a child to your family is a huge decision. Join adoption support groups. Talk to others who have adopted. Read books. Call agencies and request their literature. Ask questions! Carry around a note pad so if questions come to mind you can jot them down at any time.
Decide whether or not to adopt domestically or internationally. Adopting domestically also includes the option of a foster care adoption.
Select the adoption agency or attorney you will be working with and begin the adoption home study and start any classes that are required. If adopting through the state see Adopting by State for information and contact numbers to adopt from foster care.
From here the steps vary depending on the state and/or agency you have chosen.
The next phase is the actual match of a child to you and your family.
You will then be able to read the child's file. Be sure to ask any questions you may have regarding the child's background and do a bit of preparing so you know exactly what information you're looking for within the child's file.
Prepare for the arrival of your child by buying furniture, clothes, or other needed items. Consider waiting on having a party to keep from frightening your child with so many new faces. It can be a scary time.
File the petition to adopt.
Finalize adoption in court.
Decide on any post-adoption services you may need. The agency should go over these with you.
I wish you all the best of luck in your adoption journey. Remember to take good care of yourselves as this can be not only a rewarding, but a stressful time in your lives.