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Different Types of Adoption

June 15, 2015

When prospective adoptive parents begin their adoption journey, they typically research the various types of adoption. Adoption agencies, attorneys, foster care, open, closed, domestic, international. The list can be long and confusing! We’ve discussed these many options with adoptive families, as well as those curious about adoption in general. To help you understand the different types of adoption, we’ve briefly summed them up below. This list may be helpful as you begin your adoption journey.

International Adoption

Hundreds of thousands of children around the world are orphaned each year. Adoption outside of the United States is termed “international adoption”. We have wonderful programs in Poland and Taiwan, as well as a partner program in China. We are Hague-accredited and offer homestudies for families in Mississippi and Tennessee who are adopting internationally, even if they have chosen to work with another agency (not located in Mississippi or Tennessee).

Domestic Adoption

Foster Care

When children are placed in foster care, it is because their birth parents are unable to care for them. After parental rights are terminated, those children can be adopted domestically. A child can also be placed in your home as a foster child with the expectation that he or she will become legally free for adoption.

Infant Adoption

Birthmothers can place their unborn or newly born child for adoption. They can choose to do this through attorneys or adoption agencies. We always recommend that birthmothers work with a non-profit adoption agency because of the level of care they will receive during the process and after the baby is born, in regard to counseling and financial support.

Adopting a Stepchild

This type of adoption is directed by state law, which varies with each state. Some states require a homestudy and some require the consent of the child if he or she is older than 10. The parent without custody normally has to terminate parental rights.

Open Adoption

This form of adoption allows for some form of association between the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the child on an ongoing basis. Potential adoptive parents decide the level of openness they are most comfortable with and birthparents choose the level of openness they desire. It can range from pictures and letters to phone calls to face-to-face meetings.

Semi-Open Adoption

This form of adoption describes a situation where the birthmom chooses an adoptive family from a profile they have submitted. The two parties may meet face-to-face prior to the adoption and exchange only first names. After placement, typically, all contact, including updates and photos are exchanged through the agency.

Closed Adoption

No identifying information about the birth family or adoptive family is shared between the two. The two families have no contact before or after the adoption. Once the adoption is finalized, the records are sealed. Depending on the details, the records may or may not be available to the child after turning 21 (these laws vary by state as well).

We hope these descriptions help you sort through the incredible amount of information out there. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us.