Types of Adoption

Once you have decided to adopt a child, you should consider what type of adoption is best for your family. Some of the most common types of adoption are as follows:

  • Newborn or Infant Adoption:

    While infant adoptions can be handled with the assistance of a licensed adoption or state agency, many are handled privately between the birth and adoptive parents with the help of an attorney. In such cases, the birth parents voluntarily relinquish custody to the adoptive parents.
  • Foster Adoption:

    An increasing number of social service agencies recognize that a happy and stable foster home is the permanent placement of choice for a child. Fostering a child in your home is one way to ensure that attachment and bonding takes place before the adoption process is finalized.
  • Open Adoption:

    While there is no set definition of an "open" adoption, it usually means that the birth parents chose who will adopt their child and that the adoptive parents have a lifelong relationship with their biological child. The relationship between the parties is different for every family and can range from the birth parents having the address of the child to periodic phone calls, letters, and visits by the birth parents.
  • Semi-Open Adoption:

    In this type of adoption, the birth parents usually have some say in the placement of their child. Adoptive parents may choose to provide the birth parents with letters, photographs, and information about the child as he or she grows, usually through the adoption agency.
  • Closed Adoption:

    In a closed adoption, the birth parents have little or no say in the placement of their child. The birth parents usually will not know the child's whereabouts and will not have access to on-going information about the child's life.
  • Domestic Adoption:

    Domestic adoptions mean that you will adopt a child located within the United States. Domestic adoptions can be handled by state social service agencies, private adoption agencies, or privately between the birth and adoptive parents with the assistance of an attorney.
  • International Adoption:

    Like domestic adoptions, international adoptions can also take place with the assistance of a public social service organization or a private agency. Many international adoptions require the adoptive parents to travel to the country of origin to finalize the adoption.
  • Special Needs/Waiting Children Adoption:

    Thousands of children across the United States have been designated as "special needs" children because of their age, physical disabilities, or emotional issues. The guardianship of special needs children are usually held by a state agency that can facilitate the adoption process.
  • Relative Adoption:

    Many states treat adoptions by relatives less formally then non-relative adoptions, and may require a scaled back home study or none at all. Each state differs on what is considered a "relative," but such adoptions are generally confined to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and adult siblings of the child.
  • Step-child Adoption:

    Adoptions by a step-parent are generally performed with the consent of one of both of the child's biological parents and are usually handled by a private attorney. If a child is in foster care, a state agency may facilitate the adoption process.

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