How old do you have to be to adopt?

How old do I have to be to adopt a child?

The average age across the United States is 21, although there are individual laws within each State to set their own requirements for adoption. Below is a brief outline of the different States and their age requirements for you to refrence as a starting point.

Adoptive parents must be 18 years of age in the following States:

  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • Tennessee
  • Washington

Adoptive parents must be 21 years of age in the following States:

  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Oklahoma

Adoptive parents must be 25 years of age in the following States:

  • Georgia
  • Idaho

Adoptive parents must be at least 10 years older than the adopted child in the following States:

  • California
  • Georgia
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • South Dakota
  • Utah

All other States do not specify a minimum age to be eligible to adopt. 

Is there a thing as too old to adopt?

There are very few States that do not allow adoption for older people of a specific age. It is important to know that when performing a home study, your physical and mental capacity will play a direct role in your successful adoption. This is to ensure you are healthy enough to raise a child. 


To adopt a child is a very empowering and multi-dimentional process. Age is simply one dimension in determining your capacity to successfully care for and raise a child. Not only is age a portion of the process, but so are the following elements:

  • Financial Stability: you credit score will play a small part, but primarily your ability to have a minimum of three month's income saved
  • Emotional Stability: your ability to love and nurture care and support in a safe environment on a daily basis
  • Mental Stability
  • Consistancy: are you actively working, do you pay your bills on time, are you consistant in your relationships both at home and at work, and are you consistant in the communication you give
  • Time: how engaged are you in relationships you currently have, where do you spend the majority of your time, and what matters most to you with your time
  • Reputation: how well do those closest to you speak of you, and what does your lifestyle say about you and what matters the most to you
  • Criminal Background: having a criminal background does not automatically disqualify you, but you will need to secure the requirements by your particular State to fully understand what is your responsibility

Every single person involved in determining the safety and security of a child in the adoption process, is focused primarily on your ability to provide an excellent atmosphere to raise the child you are seeking. That encompasses each and every element in living a life that makes room for a child and their particular needs, beyond documentation and credit checks, and into the heart of the great ability to love and nurture another human being. Age will play a very small role in the success of loving another person. 

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