Types of Adoption
When considering adoption, one of the first decisions you need to make is the type of adoption you feel led to pursue. Adoption in general is the social, emotional and legal process through which children who will not be raised by their birth parents become full and permanent legal members of another family.* Here is a brief description of the three different types of adoption.
- Domestic adoption from foster care – A domestic adoption from foster care is the adoption of a child from the U.S. foster care system. Currently the U.S. has approximately 100,000 children and youth waiting for permanent adoptive families, and each state has many children waiting. The state has determined that the child cannot safely reunite with his/her birth family and the parental rights have been terminated, and the only “parent” they have is the state in which they live. Often these children are a little older and/or are part of sibling groups. Adoptions from foster care range between $0 and $2,500. Another term to be aware of is legal risk placement. According to the Child Welfare Gateway, legal risk placement is the placement of a child with an approved preadoptive foster family who intends to adopt the child if reunification is not possible and adoption becomes necessary for the child. Keep in mind that in this situation, the rights of the child’s birth parents have not yet been terminated.* For more information on adoption from foster care in your state, click here.
- Domestic infant adoption – This type of adoption usually means an infant adoption within the United States. There can be a bit of a waiting period and is usually accomplished by working with an agency who works directly with birthmothers. Often, the birthmother will choose the adoptive family for the baby. The adoptive family will also have input into the level of openness they feel comfortable with. A completely open adoption means the birth family is involved in the child’s life. Semi-open means they do have some access but it is more restricted (just notes, emails, and pictures delivered through the agency, for example). In a closed adoption, the child has no contact with the birth family. This type of adoption is usually $10,000-$20,000.
- International or Intercountry adoption – This type of adoption involves adoption of a child that is a citizen of one country by parents who are citizens of a different country.* Depending on the country, the wait can be anywhere between 8 months and 4 years. This type of adoption is nearly always closed as many of the children overseas have been orphaned by death or abandonment. This kind of adoption can range between $15,000 and $40,000 depending on the country and agency you work with.
No matter which type of adoption you choose to pursue, you will need to work with an agency to complete paperwork, a background check, training, and a home study. A licensed placement agency could also help answer your specific questions relative to your family and the type of adoption you feel called to.
*Definitions taken from the Child Welfare Information Gateway, https://www.childwelfare.gov/glossary/.