If you are planning to adopt a child, you have a number of options. In order to choose the option that best suits your family’s individual needs, you should understand the various different adoption methods and the benefits of each. Likely the first decision that you will have to make is whether to adopt a child from the United States (domestically) or from another country (inter-country adoption).
In a domestic adoption, you will work with a private or public adoption agency or a facilitator. Public and private agencies are licensed to meet the standards of the state that they are located in and will have a bit more oversight of the process. While you can use an unlicensed adoption agency or a facilitator, these options do not have the same oversights and there may be a higher cost and more emotional and legal risks involved when you do not choose a licensed agency. Most private and public agencies provide free orientation that will help you to better understand the adoption process and what you should expect.
Whether you choose to adopt an older child or have your heart set on an infant, you are likely going to have a much more extensive medical and family background available if you adopt domestically. Public adoption agencies normally handle adoptions from the State foster care system. Children in this system have been removed from their homes for a number of reasons such as neglect or abuse. They may experience some form of trauma and need special attention. Children from the child welfare system can range in age from teenagers to newborns and there are many children in this system waiting on a permanent home.
If you choose a licensed private adoption agency, you will be working with an agency that helps birth parents who give up or relinquish their parental rights to this agency. Most parents who want to adopt a healthy infant choose a licensed private adoption agency. The waiting time for an infant can be very long, as long as several years in some cases. Some agencies allow the birth parent to choose the adoptive family that will raise their child. This is done based on profiles as well as other information given to the birth parent.
An independent adoption uses an attorney to help you along with the adoption process. This typically involves the adoption of a newborn or infant. Parents using an independent agency normally find a pregnant woman who is giving up her child for adoption without the help of the agency. The agency then helps to ensure that the adoption process is legal and that all parties are satisfied with the adoption.
Using an unlicensed agency or a facilitator will give you the least amount of oversight from a professional agency. A facilitator will link you with an expectant birth mother, for a fee. You should understand that parents who work with facilitators have very little recourse if the birth parents change their minds through the process. Some states have banned using a facilitator so you should check your state laws before you consider this option.
An inter-country adoption is a process that allows you to adopt a child from another country. Children who are eligible for this adoption method have typically lost their parents through abandonment or death or the birth parents have proven that they are completely incapable of properly caring for the child. You will typically have less access to thorough information about the family, birth and medical history of a child through inter-country adoption. You may have questions about the child’s extended family that cannot be answered. Children who are adopted from other countries, particularly those who are older, will need special care to help them to adapt to their new culture.
Again, there are a number of options available for those who want to adopt. Take your time and do a bit of research on each of these options and choose the one that will best fit your family’s specific needs.