Frequently Asked Questions

Applicants must be 21 years of age in order to submit an adoption application. There is no maximum age limit for applicants.

Applicants do not have to be married to adopt.

Contact the South Carolina Heart Gallery at or call 803.734.2032 or 803.734.2595 for application assistance or to submit your approved home study.

Although there is not a specific time frame, the process to become an approved adoptive home can take anywhere from a few months to a year. It all depends on how quickly the applicant completes the required paperwork, the applicant’s availability for training classes and home visits, whether the applicant’s home inspections require additional steps to meet the requirements, and whether or not additional medical or background check explanations are necessary.

Once applicants have an approved adoption home study, they are able to be considered as the adoptive family for foster children who are legally free for adoption. However, there is no way to know exactly how long it will be before a family is matched with a child. There are many variables that must be considered, such as the age of a child a family will consider accepting, the special needs for a child that a family is willing to accept, the family composition that is best for a particular child, and the availability of children who are legally free for adoption at a given time.

There is no fee to adopt a foster child through the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS). Families are responsible for any costs associated with obtaining medical information or any repairs needed to address issues from home inspections. The agency has worked with many attorneys throughout the state who are willing to accept the reimbursement fee provided by SCDSS so that families do not have to pay for legal services.

Yes, children over the age of 18 are available for adoption. When a child turns 18, chooses to stay in foster care, and is still in school (high school, technical school, or college), they are still eligible for adoption services.

There are children available for adoption from birth up through the age of eighteen. However, due to the high number of applicants interested in adopting children under the age of five, these children are often not as readily available as older children.

Although there is a need for both foster and adoptive homes, you are not required to foster prior to adopting.

As long as you have obtained an approved adoptive home study, you can be considered for a South Carolina child. Individual states may have additional requirements or a waiting period before your study can be released to another state, so it is best to check with your agency worker.

You may submit an inquiry by clicking the link on a featured child’s page or by calling our office at 803.876.0203 or 803.734.2032. SC Heart Gallery staff will submit your adoptive home study to the SCDSS Adoptions office for screening to determine whether your family is a potential match for a child, or provide assistance if you are new to the process.