There are many steps in an adoption. The first is meeting with an attorney. It is strongly suggested that you seek the the assistance of an attorney due to the complexity of this specific type of law. After the initial meeting with the attorney, you will need to gather information for the attorney. It can be helpful to take notes during this meeting. After you have turned over the important information to the attorney, the attorney can then begin to draft the initial filing documents that you need to sign.
A time-consuming part of this process is getting the other biological parent's rights extinguished. Sometimes the client knows where the other biological parent is and sometimes the client does not. This will affect the timeline and the legal channels through which this is accomplished.
When all the correct documents have been filed, a court hearing can be scheduled to finalize the adoption. This is where the timeline varies to a great degree. Some counties require extra steps like a home visit from the guardian ad litem whereas other counties routinely waive such requirements. Some counties also have a much higher volume than others.
Additionally, there is a requirement that the step parent have been married to the biological parent of the child for at least six months. If this is not met, this can delay the process until the statutory time period requirement has been met.
BOTTOM LINE: It can take anywhere between two months for a very fast adoption and ten months typically for an adoption that is in a higher volume county.