If you’re considering adoption, you should know that there are actually several different avenues available to you.
Agency adoptions utilize the assistance of a professional adoption agency, be it public or private. A public adoption agency typically handles children who have been abandoned or have been permanently removed from theirparents and become wards of the state.
Many of these children have special needs or come from an abusive household, something prospective parents should seriously consider before proceeding. These children are also likely to be older, so parents seeking a newborn or infant may have difficulty finding one through a public agency. On the other hand, public agencies always have children available for adoption, so there’s no long waiting period and their services are considerably cheaper than that of a private agency.
A private agency is more likely to handle pre-arranged adoptions, meaning that the parents have contacted the agency about placing the child before he or she is even born. Its typically easier to adopt a newborn through a private agency but you may have to wait months or even years for one to become available. You’ll also pay quite a bit more – private agencies are much more expensive than their public counterpart, often charging several thousands of dollars for their services.
A variation of the agency adoption is anidentified adoption. In this type of process, the parties locate each other independently but then use an agency to handle of the details. Like traditional private agency adoptions, the cost can run high but the parties benefit from the extensive counseling provided by private agencies without having to wait for a child to become available.
Couples who prefer not to use an agency can consider an independent adoption instead. In this process, arrangements are typically made directly between the parties, althoughattorneys are also normally involved to handle the necessary paperwork. An independent adoption referral can also come through local third parties such as a priest, an attorney or community organizations.
Independent adoptions are regulated closely by most states to ensure the process is handled correctly and to protect the best interest of the child. This type of adoption is not permitted in Delaware, Massachusetts or Connecticut, however these states do allow identified adoptions as an alternative.
International adoptions are another option, allowing hopeful parents to adopt children from a foreign country. This process can sometimes be extensively grueling as the parents must meet the requirements set forth by their home state as well as the foreign country where the child resides. International adoption can also be difficult for same-sex couples as many countries do not permit adoption by parents who are gay or lesbian.
In addition to these types of adoptions, there are also kinship adoptions (grandparents, aunt or other relative) and stepparent adoptions. A few states also allow same-sex couples to adopt their partner’s child under the stepparent adoption rules if they are registered as domestic partners.
Regardless of the type of adoption you choose, all adoptions can only take place if parental rights (rights of the biological parents) have been waived or terminated by order of the court.
You may enjoy this book on the overall adoption process as well as this book which focuses on international adoptions .