How to Adopt

Opening your heart and home to a Heart Gallery NYC child is a wonderful and life-changing experience for parent and child alike. There are nearly 10,000 children in foster care in New York City. Adoption provides them with a new home and family to call their own. Being an adoptive parent means making a lifetime commitment to a child.

The Inquiry

To inquire about a Heart Gallery NYC child, please call the NYC Administration for Children's Services'            Parent Recruitment Hotline at 212-676-WISH (toll-free out of NYC, 877-676-WISH) to speak with a Parent Recruitment Associate. Please let them know you are calling about a child that you saw on the Heart Gallery NYC website. We like to keep in touch with our prospective parents and help when we can, so please call Heart Gallery NYC at 212-965-8699 and leave us your contact information.            

The first step toward adopting a Heart Gallery NYC child is to become a certified resource parent through an adoption agency. A Parent Recruitment Associate can refer you to an agency that will invite you to an orientation meeting and will guide you through the rest of the process, so that you may help a child in need.

If you already have a home study and are certified with a foster care or adoption agency, we can forward your name and contact information to the agency responsible for the child or children you inquired about. Staff members from this agency should be contacting you to request a copy of your home study so that they can consider you as a match for the child.

Adoption Process

Step 1: Contact Contact the Parent Recruitment Hotline at 212-676-WISH (toll free outside of NYC, 877-676-WISH) and they will mail you the packet of information.

Step 2: Attend an Orientation After you receive your packet of information, call one of the recruitment agencies listed in the packet and make an appointment to attend an orientation or register on-line. At the orientation, adoption professionals will give you an overview of the adoption process, guide you through every step of the process and answer your questions.

Step 3: Complete the Adoption Application At the end of the orientation you will be given an application to fill out. Return the completed application to your adoption recruitment agency. Once social workers have reviewed it and are satisfied that the basic elements are in place, they will contact you to begin a home study.

Step 4: Have a Home Study Prepared The home study provides the child welfare agency and the courts with comprehensive information needed to place a child in your care. You and your social worker will meet several times during the process. You will have a comprehensive biographical and physical assessment completed and will submit various documents including copies of your birth certificate(s), marriage license (If applicable), income tax returns, and medical reports completed by your physician. All adults in your home must be fingerprinted and cleared through the State Central Registry for Abuse and Neglect. Depending on the particular circumstances, a home study can take up to several months.

Step 5: Complete a Training Series While the home study is underway, you will attend an 8-10 week Model Approach to Partnership and Parenting (MAPP) training, where you will learn parenting skills, assess your own strengths as a parent, and better understand the particular needs of adoptive children.

Step 6: Have Your Home Licensed After satisfactory completion of your training and home study, your home will be licensed as a pre-adoptive home.

Step 7: Be Matched With a Child Now you are ready to begin the matching process. You will have the opportunity to look at pictures of New York City children waiting for adoption, attend matching conferences and participate in other matching events. Your agency will assist both you and the child to make the right match. At this point, you and the child(ren) can begin visiting each other.

Step 8: Get to Know Each Other After you and the child(ren) become acquainted, the child(ren) will being making home visits and/or overnight stays at your home. At some point, when you are both ready, the child(ren) may move in with you. During this pre-adoptive phase, you and your child will get to know each other. You will learn about your child’s medical and family history. You will also learn about adoption subsidies and reimbursements. You will sign an Adoptive Placement Agreement. The agreement says that you will take care of the child and intend to adopt.

Step 9: The Child is Placed In Your Care After the children move into their new home with you, it will take approximately 6-8 months—and in some cases longer— before the adoption can be finalized. The agency will remain involved with both you and the child during this time.

Step 10: Choose an Attorney to File the Adoption Petition When you are ready to finalize the adoption, you will hire an attorney and work with your agency to file the adoption petition in Family Court. ACS will in most cases, reimburse fees for your adoption attorney.

Step 11: Finalize the Adoption Your adoption petition will be reviewed in family court. When the judge approves the match, you and your child will go to court to sign the final adoption papers. Congratulations! You are now a family.


Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about adoption. You may have more specific questions and situations vary. So read on. And then call the Parent Recruitment Hotline at 212-676-WISH (toll-free outside New York City, 877-676-WISH) to request an information packet, schedule an orientation, and find out all you need to know.

Do I have to be married to adopt a child? -Both single and married people can adopt.

Can I adopt a child of a different race? -New York City’s children are diverse and so are our families. Neither ACS nor the agencies it works with discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sexual preference, gender, or age (however you must be at least 18 years of age).

Will I need to pay for adoption services? -There are no fees when adopting through the City of New York. The home study will be prepared with no cost to you and financial assistance is often available to cover legal fees.

I do fine by myself, but am not sure if I make enough money to support a child. Is there financial support available? -You don’t have to make a lot of money to adopt. Adoption subsidies and income tax credits may be available to help with the costs of raising a child.

What kind of help will I receive through the adoption process and after? -ACS and the agencies it works with will be there to assist you—from your first call to adoption finalization. You will have your questions answered, the agencies will work with you to match you with your child, and a staff member and your adoption attorney will help you complete the paperwork. After you adopt, there are parent groups and services to provide ongoing support and information.

I was arrested when I was 18. Will that affect my eligibility to adopt? -It depends on the nature and severity of the offense and the length of time that has passed since then. When you attend an orientation, the staff will be able to give you more specific information.

I have children at home already and no empty bedrooms. Can I still adopt? -Children of the same gender may share a bedroom. Call the Parent Recruitment Hotline for more information.

I don’t live in New York. Is it possible for me to adopt an NYC child? -Yes. First you need to have a home study completed by the child welfare agency in your state. With a completed home study in hand, your agency will begin to work with you to match you with a child.

I’ve heard that I will have to wait several years to adopt. Is that true? -With reasonable effort in pursuing an adoption, you can have a child in your home within 12-18 months.