How to Adopt

On this page, you’ll learn more about the requirements and the process of adopting a child who is in the full custody of the state of South Carolina.

We hope this page will help answer preliminary questions you may have. Then, be sure to read the Adoption Frequently Asked Questions homepage.

Are you interested in adopting? What is in your heart?

To become an adoptive parent you:

• Can be married, single or divorced.
• May or may not have other children.
• Can own your own home or rent.
• Can work full time.
• Must be at least 21.
• Must be a resident of the State of South Carolina.
• Must be able to meet the financial and emotional needs of your own family.

Essentially, if you are stable and can provide a child with the love, as well as the support he or she needs, you may be a candidate to become an adoptive parent.

Things to think about when considering adoption:

• Am I secure and satisfied with my life and family as they are now?
• Do I have a good support system—friends and family that can help me out when I need it?
• Can I be flexible in coping with surprises and unexpected situations?
• Can I wait for a child to return my love?
• Can I feel comfortable with the fact that my child may want to talk with me about their biological parents, as well as others who have cared for them in the past?


Moving toward Adoption

Step 1
If you are not already a licensed foster parent in the state of South Carolina, you must apply to become an adoptive parent through Heartfelt Calling.

Step 2
Attend a potential adoptive parent orientation in your region where you will receive a lengthy packet of paperwork that will need to be completed prior to the adoption process being completed. Please note: Prior to this orientation, you will have to complete a Consent to Release Information (Central Registry Check) and SLED check for anyone in the home over the age of 18. Everyone in your family will also need to complete a medical exam by a licensed physician and a tuberculosis test, and submit the supplemental paperwork.

Step 3
You and anyone in the home over the age of 18 will be sent for fingerprint checks. Once the fingerprints come back clear, you will be assigned an Adoption Specialist from the Department of Social Services who will help you navigate this process, all paperwork, and referrals.

Step 4
This worker will refer you to enroll in two Saturday, eight hour Foster/Adopt Parent training sessions through Heartfelt Calling.

Step 5
The Adoption Specialist will then schedule an additional four hour adoption training.

Step 6
The Adoption Specialist will come to your home, conduct a walk through to ensure your home is appropriate and no safety hazards are present, discuss the process, and the upcoming steps.

Step 7
Your Adoption Specialist will schedule a Fire and DHEC inspection of your home.

Step 8
Upon completion and passing of the Fire and DHEC inspection, your case will be passed to a Certified Adoption Investigator. This person will be responsible to evaluate the prospective adoptive parent(s) fitness for adoption as well as assess their family and home environment for safety. To learn more about the CI program, please click here.

Step 9
The CI submits your home study to the Region for approval or denial.

Step 10
If approved, your family will be assigned an Adoptive Family Worker who will begin matching your family a child who needs a forever family!

Step 11
Begin the post-placement period, which can take up to a year.

Step 12
Finalize the adoption in Family Court!

Do you have a complaint regarding services being provided to a child by a state agency? Please submit your complaint by phone (1-800-206-1957) or an electronic submission form here with the South Carolina Department of Children's Advocacy.