Frequently Asked Questions

South Carolina has laws in place governing the requirements for adoptions in this state. If you currently reside in another state, the answers to the questions may be different according to your state’s laws.

Do I have to be wealthy to adopt a child?

No. There are many options for adoption that are available to families of different incomes. The cost of adoption depends on the particular situation and what is appropriate for your family.

Will you work with out-of-state families?

Yes, we are happy to work with out-of-state families. Please note that South Carolina has specific laws regarding placement with non-residents, and ICPC clearance must be obtained before you can return home after the baby is born.

Will you work with military families?

Yes. U.S. military adoptive parents residing in South Carolina may adopt as any other South Carolina family.

How do I begin the process of getting a home study done?

We will refer you to a licensed social worker who can arrange a home study for adoption. In South Carolina, a home study is valid for 1 year, and can be updated upon expiration.

How am I matched with a birth mother?

Most birth mothers prefer to select the family. We will speak with her and help her to formulate her adoption plan, which will include her desires and the qualities important to her in an adoptive family. She is then shown parent profiles of families that fit her adoption plan, and she will choose a family from those profiles.

How long does it take to be matched?

Your length of time on the waiting list will depend on a number of controllable and uncontrollable factors. Factors such as age, race/ethnicity, health and needs of the child play a role in determining the length of time before a child is identified as appropriate for an adoptive family. Generally, the average waiting period to be matched with a Caucasian child is 12-18 months and 6-12 months for a bi-racial or minority child. The wait can be dramatically shorter or longer depending on individual situations and the restrictions you have on the type of child you select.

Remember though that prospective parents must take the first step of completing an application with us to get on our waiting list. Your diligence and patience are important. A birth mother cannot select you to adopt her child if you do not put yourself out there.

What if I connect with a birth mother on my own?

Many adoptive parents connect with birth mothers on their own through mutual friends, over the internet, or ads placed in the newspaper. We will still work with the match the same as if it had been made through our office as the birth mother will still have the same needs. We will help her with counseling, payment of expenses, obtaining medical care and more. It is important to involve an adoption attorney from the beginning to make sure all laws are properly followed.

Do people adopt “special needs” children?

Yes! Many potential adoptive parents want to welcome a “special needs” child into their home. They may have other special needs children, or they may believe that they are financially and emotionally capable of providing the attention and care that these special children require. Emily McDaniel Barrett, is the aunt of a special needs child and is sensitive to the issues involved with such a placement.

What will the birth mother know about me?

This will depend on how open or closed the adoption is. The birth mother will receive your information packet, which will include your letter to her and your family profile. If she wants an open or semi-open adoption, she will want to speak with you by telephone and/or meet with you in person before the baby is born. This is an excellent time to get to know each other and get questions answered on both sides.

Will the birth mother receive counseling?

Yes. We strongly recommend counseling for the birth mother, although we cannot make it mandatory.

When will the adoption papers be signed?

The consent for adoption cannot be signed before the baby is born. Generally, the birth mother will sign before she is discharged from the hospital. If the birth mother has a C-section, we will wait until she is free of narcotic medicine before having her sign.

Can a birth parent change his/her mind after the consent is signed?

In South Carolina, once the adoption consent is signed it is binding and irrevocable, unless overturned by a court for fraud or duress.

How long does it take for the adoption to be finalized?

Finalization normally occurs within 3 to 6 months of placement, but can be delayed for various reasons.

Will an adopted child know about his or her birth family and background?

This also will depend on how open or closed the adoption is. However, no matter what type of adoption plan is chosen, an adopted child will be provided with a complete medical and social history of the birth parent(s). Background information includes how the birth parents grew up, if they have siblings or other children, their education, interest, hobbies and talents. The medical history will include information about the birth parents and their families, although we cannot guarantee the health or medical history of the child.

Should I tell my child that he or she was adopted?

Yes. Professionals agree that adopted children should be told at an early age that they were adopted so that they have a clearer understanding of who they are, especially is the child is of a different ethnic/cultural heritage than you. Adopted children need to know about themselves and their families just as much as non-adopted children do. Keeping this information from an adopted child could create trust issues in the future.

Will an adopted child feel "different" from other children?

The statistics show that one in ten children is adopted, and in fact, many of these children feel "special" rather than "different" because their birth parents and adoptive parents made a plan in his or her best interest.

Do I need to update my will once the adoption is complete?

Yes. Once the adoption is complete you will need to update your will. Having an up-to-date will is important for all of your children, whether biological or adopted. The two most important reasons for having a current will involve naming your children as beneficiaries of your estate and appointing guardians in the event that something happens to you.

What if I adopted a child and I want to place the child with a new family?

This is called a dissolution of your previous adoption. It is rare, but sometimes when children are adopted they just do not bond with their adoptive parents or those parents do not feel they are equipped to meet the child’s needs. Generally if a dissolution occurs, it is with an older child adopted out of foster care or an international adoption. We can work to match this child with a new family that feels that this child would be a good fit in their home.

How do I start the adoption process?

Call us at (843) 723-1688 to speak with an adoption professional, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm EST. We will be happy to send you written information or to arrange a consultation at a time convenient to you, either in person or by telephone. You may also fill out our Adoptive parents contact form which will reach us via email. All of the information you provide to us is completely confidential and in no way obligates you to choose adoption or us to represent you.

We are available to work with you individually, answer your questions and assist you in making an adoption plan that is right for you and your family. We look forward to celebrating one of life's most rewarding experiences with you.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided above is an overview of the adoption laws of South Carolina. It is a brief introduction to a complex topic. This is not a complete dissertation of the law, is not tailored to a specific case, and you should not rely on this document. Moreover, the adoption law is new and untested; therefore, this information may change as the courts interpret the law. When you have specific questions regarding your particular adoptive placement, please address them with us, or another qualified adviser.