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All adopted children come from two sources. Those sources are domestic adoptions and international adoptions. Domestic adoptions are children from the United States while International adoptions are children from outside the United States.


Domestic adoptions consist of newborns, infants up to 3 years old, children 3 years old and up and, children with special needs. Newborn children are generally received at the hospital by the adoptive parents from the birthmother and taken directly home. Children with special needs are in several categories. They may be older, have physical, emotional, or mental disabilities. Any children over 3 years old are included in this category. These special needs children often are available through the foster care system. Different circumstances with children and their birthmother offer different adoption situations and varies from state to state.


International adoptions are adoptions commonly made from China, Korea, Russia, Eastern Europe, Central and South America, and India. There are strict immigration requirements for adopting children from other countries. The best aspect of international adoptions are that there are children readily available. The adoption takes several months to process and involves a trip to the country which you are adopting. As a prospective parent, one should always consider the emotional and social implications of adopting a child of a different nationality. It has been said that you are not only adopting a child, but also a culture.  International adoptions can also be expensive when including trips and expenses to the country where the baby is being adopted.  Most adoptive parents say, that the trip is well worth it, especially in understanding the country and culture of your baby.  All in all, many international adoptions are made each year with positive results and is praised by successful adoptive parents.


Public adoption agencies and private adoption agencies are the two types of agency adoptions.


A public adoption agency is organized by various state and county social services agencies within each state.  Generally, public adoption agencies handle mostly special needs adoptions. Adoptions services through public adoption agencies are usually available for a modest fee, but usually do not have newborns and offer older children, sibling groups and children with physical or psychological needs. The children often come from foster care with parents that have drug or alcohol related problems. It has been said that the disadvantages of public agencies could include the burden of paperwork, a bureaucratic approach and being bound by the court system. 


Much has be said about private adoption agencies.  Private adoption agencies are living down a past approach that has proven to be wrong. The closed style of adoption has left many adoptees with unanswered questions such as why they were they put up for adoption and where are their birth parents. Today, private adoption agencies offer many choices of how adoptions are achieved and many operate on a contemporary basis. It would be important to find out, first, what their policies are regarding open adoption and is the birthmother allowed to communicate, at will, with the adoptive parents.

The greatest advantage of the private adoption agency could include the number of experienced certified social workers who are employed by an agency and the ability to offer in-house counseling for both adoptive couples and birthmothers, the home study and legal services.  Other advantages include their licensed status within the state which they operate.  By operating under a state license, there is a greater ability to complain against any bad practices or mistreatment.  The requirements for an adoption agency vary from state to state.  Requirements are rigid is some states and not in others. Private adoption agencies usually have a dedicated mission and operate with that concept. Private adoption agencies are usually non-profit, in structure, but still costs money.

An agency might require seemingly more paperwork than necessary to for an adoption, but agencies do operate in the best interest of their clients.  Many adoptions are successfully completed through private agencies. Often with years of experience, agencies have a proved track record in successfully completing many adoptions without any problems.

Religious private adoption agencies network with associated churches, synagogues and crisis pregnancy centers that often refer birthmothers to them.  Some religious agencies require birthmothers and adoptive parents to be of their religion while many do not.  Much of their program can be of a religious approach to birthmothers and adoptive parents.   Many religious members offer their time  on a volunteer basis for the sake of helping others.   May religious organizations offer great dedication and religious love in their adoptions.


Depending on the adoption laws within individual states, Independent adoptions can be arranged without an agency, but require the legal work to be completed by an attorney. Independent adoptions are usually based on the open adoption concept. Initial contact is made directly between the adoptive couple and birthmother or birthparents.  The adoptive parents and birthparents meet to become aquatinted with each other and share their ideas of adoption.  For birthparents who do not wish to meet, communication can take place by telephone or letter.  An important advantage to an open independent adoption is that the birth mother usually feels more comfortable and in control when giving her baby directly to adoptive parents, who she has chosen, and not to the control of another entity.

Independent adoptions have gained in acceptance because of the traditional roadblocks that people who want to adopt have encountered. When adoption requirements become barriers and the selection process becomes stalemate, people wanting a child to adopt decide to pursue a different path.  According to several studies, the time frame appears to be the most dramatic difference between the agency adoptions and an independent adoption. In an independent adoption, with an intermediary, adoptive parents can start and complete the process faster.

Finally, independent adoption offers a choice to people who have difficulty working with the often rigid system within some agencies. With or without outside help, independent couples favor independent adoptions by knowing that an agency is not in control.

The biggest difficulty in adopting independently is trying to figure out how to complete the adoption; the process from beginning to end can become very complex.


Independent adoptions can be pursued by adoptive parents without outside help. The project can be challenging, but the goal can be accomplished. The do it yourself approach is appealing to people who have the time and want to adopt on their own. We congratulate those people. On the other hand, many adoptive parents have said that, if they had to do it all over again, they would get out side help. Without skill and experience, failure is possible.  Performing an independent adoption without help is considered to be difficult.  It has been related, that the sequence of the process can be complex, seemingly unresolvable misunderstandings arise, and often adoptive parents just do not understand what is going on and need help. In many instances, performing an independent adoption without outside help to save money simply does not occur.


Adoptions that are made with the help of an intermediary often help in easing the burden of completing the adoption process by themselves.  Please take note that some states do not allow an intermediary in the adoption process.   An intermediary can consist of an attorney, a special interest group like a religious organization or an adoption facilitator.  Intermediaries usually specialize in locating a birthmother and help complete the adoption by managing the case.  Some intermediaries ;however, only locate a suitable birthmother and offer no adoption management.  It is always best to know what services are being offered.


In any event, an attorney is needed to complete the legal aspect of any adoption. Specialized attorneys, may in addition, offer the services of locating a birthmother and completing the entire adoption process as a package. Advantages include that one will be assured the legal aspect will be the most correct especially in the event of a high risk adoption which could include problems with the birth father.   Surveys indicate that  attorneys offering the total adoption service are the most professional and legally correct.  Check with your state, some states do not allow attorneys to act as an intermediary.


It is continually quoted in adoption material that the use of adoption facilitators has been one of the most significant changes in adoption in recent years.   An adoption facilitators, is not a licensed private or public adoption agency and is a private service. They do not place children for adoption, but locate birthmothers for adoptive couples to agree on an adoption.  With an adoption facilitator, all counseling and legal work necessary for an adoption is performed by outside professionals. A facilitator should not claim to be a social worker nor an adoption service provider (ASP). 


The ABC's of Adoption offer to the beginner an idea of the general categories of adoption.  There are many aspects to the subject of adoption and adoption has many areas of study and sub-areas to consider.  Many books are available on Adoption.  It is suggested, that if this general concept of adoption is of interest, details about adoption are available in many places. Reading more about adoption is necessary.  Making contact with the various service also is an excellent way of gaining more adoption knowledge.  Because adoption laws vary from state to state, some provided information may be inaccurate in its content, we apologize for any statements which appear to be wrong.

It needs to be said that within each of these categories, every organization operates in a different way.   Some services are going to range from the greatest to the worst.  It is in the best interest of the reader to investigate any organization which one encounters.   Ask questions and learn by their answers.  One should consider which type of adoption group is of interest and then pursue the various organizations within that group.   All approaches are proven and work, but it is important to find a organization which you feel comfortable with.  Good Luck in your search.

One requirement for any adoption is the completion of a Home Study.