How can I adopt? And other FAQs

Below are answers to some of the most common questions we receive. Of course, if you need additional info or have a different inquiry, you can always drop us a note using the form at the right.

Questions about adoption

What are the costs to adopt?

In most cases there is little to no expense to adopt a child from the state foster care system. Because of the great need, the state covers the costs associated with adopting for qualified parents.

How do I get more information about a particular child?

The information we have posted on our site has been approved by the state as acceptable to share with the pubic. Additional information about a child will only be given to candidates who have been selected to potentially adopt a child.

What does it mean to be "Eligible for adoption?"

When a child is removed from their home for whatever reason, the parents are given the opportunity to improve the situation and regain custody of their child. However, in some cases, when it becomes apparent that the parent is unable to provide a safe, secure home moving forward, the parent’s rights are terminated, and the state assumes custody of the child until adoptive parents can be located. Thus the child is eligible for adoption.

What is the process to adopt?

Before you are eligible to adopt, the state requires you to have an approved home study on file, complete the state approved foster training program and serve as a foster parent for a minimum of six months.

Read a detailed explanation of the process.

How old are the kids available for adoption?

As a part of protecting the identify of the children shown on our site, we ages and other personal details are rarely listed. All kids shown are under 18. If you inquire on a child and are selected as a potential candidate for adoption, the social worker in charge of the case will inform you of the child’s age, along with other details.

Can I adopt a child of a different rate or ethnicity?

Yes. It is against federal law to prohibit parents from adopting a child from foster care of a different race or ethnicity. The only exception to this is the adoption of American Indian children where special considerations apply. As you work through the process with the State, the race, gender and type of child you will adopt will be a primary consideration.

What is the role of a foster parent?

A Foster Parent provides a temporary, safe, stable and loving home for a child(ren) and helps to facilitate their reunification with their birth parent(s) or family member when possible.

What is an adoptive parent?

Adoptive Parents are someone providing a permanent safe, stable, and loving home for a child(ren) when it has been determined that they cannot be reunited with their birth parents or relatives.

How long does it take to adopt?

From the time you begin the process it can take 8-12 months on average, depending on the circumstances. Although circumstances differ, the State works diligently to place all children as quickly as possible and to aid in a successful transition.

What type of children are available for adoption?

Children seeking adoption are no different than children with families; they only lack the love and support offered by caring, loving parents. Their ages range from birth to 18 although most are over 6 years old. About one-fifth of the children waiting to be adopted are teenagers, many of whom are part of sibling groups that include younger children.

How do I know what's best for me?

The process of becoming a Resource Parent (which includes being a Foster and Adoptive Parent) is specifically designed to help you discover what is right for you and your family. The classes and family assessments are conducted by social workers that will work with you in determining the types of child(ren) you can best parent.

What type of support is available?

Your social worker will prepare, train, and support you through this process and provide you with any community resources that you might need. If you choose to adopt a child, post adoptive services are available to all adoptive families.

I live in a different state, can I still adopt a child shown on your site?

Applicants from different states will be considered for the adoption of a child, however, like any other qualification, it will be evaluated as whether to be in the best interest of a child. In some cases, children do not want to leave the state because of connections and personal ties they may have. It never hurts to ask though.

Are there children waiting for adoption in other states too?

Yes. Every state has a foster care program with waiting and available children. Nationwide more than 500 kids age out of the foster care system without being adopted each year. Once you are a Tennessee approved foster home, you are eligible to express interest in adopting a child from either TN or another state’s foster care program.

Learn more about waiting children nationwide

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  • The Heart Gallery of Tennessee wall exhibit at community church
  • Founder Jami Thornsberry on left and Marketing Director Stefanie Edwards on right in front of our first exhibit
  • Up close shot of our canvas images in a wall exhibit
  • Engaging with a child during a video shoot
  • The Heart Gallery of Tennessee on exhibit at sporting event. Shown with Marketing Director Stefanie Edwards and one TN's waiting children.
  • A volunteer photographer capturing an image of one of TN's waiting children
  • A volunteer photographer capturing an image of one of TN's waiting children

We believe there are are no unwanted children, only unfound families.

Help us spread the word of their existence by passing on our site to a friend or associate.

In Tennessee, there are more than 250 children and teens available for adoption. Adopting from the state is simple and often without cost. To get started, you must first become approved as a foster parent through the state-paid training and home study process (no cost to you). 

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