Adoption in Arizona


Adoption can seem incredibly overwhelming to couples just starting the process, and we were in the same boat when we decided to adopt!  There are ways to navigate the system in Arizona, though, and I would love to help any and all adoptive hopeful families with the process!  I have broken it down into common steps and questions, for all of you SMB mommies, and I hope this helps a couple of people looking to start the amazing adventure!

Common Question #1: How much does it cost to adopt, and how do we start?

Cost is usually the largest concern, and biggest deterrent in adoption, but in Arizona we do have options!

  • Adoption, in general, is going to cost anywhere between $10,000 to $50,000, depending on the route you choose, the wait you are willing to endure, and whether you are choosing domestic or international adoption.
  • The least expensive way to adoptive would be via a private adoption.  This is where a birth mother and adoptive couple meet outside of an agency and work with an adoption lawyer.  There are some lawyers in Arizona who specialize in this option, but there is no real way to estimate wait time on private adoption, as every case is different.
  • The second most cost effective approach would be through one’s religious organization.  The Catholic Church is one of the less expensive organizations in the state, with costs around $20,000 and up depending on the situation.
  • There are several other organizations available (both domestic and international) to Arizona residents which can be found through a simple Google search.

Common Question #2:  How does an open adoption work?

Today open adoptions are much more prevalent and accepted.  An open adoption allows birth parents some form of contact with adoptive parents and child.

Openness can be as little as email communication and pictures all the way to frequent visits.  It is more common for the birth parents to choose the adoptive family rather than the agencies.  Because birth parents choose the family they would like to place with wait times can range between a couple days to several years depending on the agency.

For us, we were able to go through our church, and were extremely blessed.  The usual wait time is about 2 years.  For us, we were contacted after 2 days and chosen shortly thereafter!  Boy did we feel lucky!

Common Question #3:  How much paperwork and filing does this take?

The paperwork associated with adoption is quite daunting and differs slightly per organization.  For us there was about a 15 page case study that we filled out along with finger print cards, background checks, legal documents, and a home study (a case worker comes to your home to evaluate your living conditions ). Once the paperwork and our profile was completed and approved by our agency, it became “live” for birthmothers to view.

On a personal note:  Here is how it worked for us!

We decided to work through our church for the adoption process.  Our birth mother contacted us via email which we communicated through for several months.  I kind of felt like we were internet dating!  I would send an email and wonder if I said the right thing and if she still liked me.

After some time she felt ready to meet us.  We set up plans on our own (most case workers like to attend these first meetings) and we took her out to eat.  At the end of dinner she gave us a card letting us know she had chosen us.

From that point on we spoke frequently and we attend doctor’s appointments and just spend time getting to know each other.  After our birth mother gave birth she had to stay in the hospital for 48 hours with the baby.  After the 48 hour mark, we were able to take our son home with us after paperwork was completed that granted us temporary foster parent rights.

At the 72 hour mark our birth mother signed the forms that relinquished her rights. Within this 72 hour time frame a birth mother can change her mind  – so needless to say it’s a very tense 72 hours for all parties.  After she signs those forms she cannot go back and “change” her mind.

Once the papers are signed and submitted to the state by the adoption agency, there is about a 6 month wait to get the adoption finalized through the state.   Luckily for us we were able to get Max’s adoption finalized sooner due to National Adoption Month .   On November 20th (National Adoption Day) the state will push through numbers of adoption cases.  On this day all court cases are for adoptions – It’s such an exciting day for so many families.

Obviously, there is much more that goes into the entire process, and it is an emotional and serious journey, but as one woman who has gone through it all, I’m doing it again!  My husband and I are in the process for baby number two, and if we can do it, you can too! I’m open to answering any questions from any parents about our experience, and help in any way I can.  Thanks SMB!


Mary Jordan is a photographer, adoptive mama, and wife in Arizona. See her family’s adoption website at See her photography at

***If you are a family who has adopted or hoping to adopt you can receive $50 off your portrait session when you book between June 1 – 30. (session dates can be scheduled at later dates).  Mention Scottsdale Mom’s Blog and receive 10% off any session! ***


  1. Congratulations on your adoption–and on your family. We started our family with adoption and used the services of Christian Family Care Agency right here in Phoenix. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story Mary!

    We also grew our family through adoption in November when we brought our son home! Tomorrow is the day we get to officially celebrate everything as we stand before the judge and he makes Nathan ours forever in the eyes of the law – oh what a happy day!

  3. Can someone please tell me where to begin? If the information was on this sight perhaps I overlooked it. We are very interested in an open adoption and would just like to know where to begin.

    Thank you.

    Joelle DeBusschere-Boehnke


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