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Understanding the Different Types of Adoption

So, you've decided to welcome a new family member into the fold—congratulations! Embarking on the journey to adopt can be daunting, but few things are more satisfying than giving an adoptee the love, care, and family they deserve.

However, adoption can be surprisingly complicated. How you choose to go about the adoption can significantly impact the process as a whole. That's why today, we're giving you all the information you need to approach adoption with confidence.

Closed Versus Open Adoption

One of the biggest choices you'll make is whether to have a closed or open adoption.

In a closed adoption, the adoptive parents don't have any contact with the adoptee's biological parents. Frequently, records about the biological parents are sealed by the court and may only be available to the adoptee once they reach turn 18 and become a legal adult.

In an open adoption, the adoptive and biological parents do have contact with one another. The biological parent might vet prospective adoptive parents until they find a parent or parents they approve of to raise their child. In open adoptions, the adoptee and adoptive parents often maintain contact with the biological parents post-adoption.

There are also variations of open and closed adoptions. For example, in a semi-closed adoption, the biological parents might have input on the adoptive process, but choose to discontinue contact post-adoption.

Closed and open adoptions both have benefits, but typically, open adoptions are a more user-friendly option. In an open adoption, there's a greater chance the adoptive parents will gain access to the adoptee's birth records and the biological parent's medical records, both of which are extremely useful. Facilitating a relationship between the adoptee and their biological parents may also help them become more secure in their identity, which is always positive, especially if the child comes from a different culture than their adoptive parents.

Understanding the Three Major "Kinds" of Adoption: Private Agency, Foster Care, and International

Note: these are not the only kinds of adoption—far from it. There are other types of adoption, like step-child adoption and adult adoption. However, these are the three types of adoption most new prospective adoptive parents will choose between, which is why we're making them the subject of this blog.

If you're a new prospective parent, you'll probably choose between one of the following types of adoption:

  1. Domestic foster care adoption. In a domestic foster care adoption, the adoptive parents work with their local foster care system to adopt a child.
  2. Private domestic adoption. In a private domestic adoption, the adoptive parents work with a local private adoption agency to adopt a child.
  3. International adoption. In an international adoption, the adoptive parents work with an international adoption agency and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to adopt a child.

Domestic foster care and private adoptions share many of the same requirements. Some common requirements for adoptive parents who wish to engage in these types of adoption include:

  • Meeting with agency or foster care professionals to learn more about the adoption process in your state.
  • Completing a home study, in which state or agency officials survey your home and verify that you can raise a child successfully.
  • Completing interviews, in which adoption officials assess your reasons for adopting and readiness as a parent.
  • Passing a criminal background check.
  • Attending orientation and parental training administered by adoption officials.
  • Continuing to pass subsequent home studies, checks, or interviews, some of which may occur post-adoption.

Both foster care systems and private adoption agencies tend to vet parents extensively to ensure that adoptive parents don't renege on the adoption and return their child to a foster care system or agency. Many adoptive children have already experienced trauma before being put up for adoption (especially in the foster care system), so foster care and agency professionals do everything in their power to ensure the adoption sticks.

International adoptions often take much longer (and cost much more) than domestic adoptions. International adoptions involve working the USCIS to verify your capabilities and readiness as a parent. They also typically involve flying to the country the adoptee is from several times to meet the adoptee and ensure the parents are a good match.

If you want to adopt a baby, looking to private domestic adoption is probably your best bet. Children in foster care and international adoption systems tend to be older, so looking into local private adoption agencies is a good idea if you want to match with a younger adoptee.

Adopting an older child from an international agency or foster care system can also be a rewarding experience. Many children in these positions need a loving family, and meeting that need can be uniquely fulfilling.

However you choose to adopt, we wish you nothing but the best in your endeavors as a parent.

For help with your adoption case, contact Beatriz Zyne, P.A. online or via phone at (305) 876-6138.