Understanding Adoption Agencies

If you live in the United States, it’s important you understand adoption agencies before beginning your search for an unwanted child. Americans have two options for adopting: either domestically or internationally. Each State has different laws and different types of adoptions allowed. For example, some States allow you to use more than one adoption agency at a time, while others do not.

There are several types of adoptions you can choose from. They include:

  • Fost-Adopt
  • Infant/Newborn
  • International
  • Waiting Child Adoption
  • Step Child Adoption
  • Semi-Open Adoption
  • Foster Child Adoption
  • Relative Adoption
  • Special Needs
  • Child Adoptions
  • Embryo Adoption
  • Closed Adoption
  • Older Child Adoption
  • Adoption an Adult
  • Military and Overseas Adoptions

The Adoption Process

The adoption process is not a simple one by any means. However, it is rewarding regardless of your reasons for adopting a child. The process can take several months to several years to complete depending on several factors. Below is a basic step by step process of how the adoption process works in the United States:

  1. Choose the type of adoption you’d like
  2. Select an agency or facilitator
  3. Complete a home study
  4. Wait for a placement
  5. Finalize the adoption

Since you probably have a good idea as to what type of adoption you want, the first thing you need to do during the adoption process is decide whether you’d like to use a private or public adoption agency. Both types will more than likely invite you to attend an orientation type seminar to discuss and understand specifics about them, such as what they offer, costs of services, their philosophy and more. Generally, you will receive an application. If you choose to use them, you would fill out the application and return it usually, with a registration fee.

Home studies are a tool adoption agencies use to determine the environment and lifestyle the adopted child would be raised in. Each agency has their own version of events, but most include having one or more visits with a social worker, by completing one or more educational class, physical exams, fingerprints, and background checks. Home studies usually take approximately 2 months to complete.

Waiting for placement, or waiting for a child is the most difficult part of the adoption process. Depending on what type of child you want to adopt is a major factor in the duration you will wait. For example, adopting a Caucasian child from the United States may take 2-5 years, while adopting a child from another country or of a different race may reduce the duration significantly, such as down to one year. However, it’s tricky adopting internationally, as you have to abide by foreign policies and meet the requirements of the country.

In the United States, once the birthparent’s parental rights have been terminated, the adopted child is in the adopted home for less than 6 months, and the social worker has submitted their recommendation for approval, the judge will finalize the adoption. Finalization awards the adoptive parents all legal rights and responsibilities. The final step may differ in various countries. And there may be more than the five steps required with international adoptions.

Where Can You Find Adoption Agencies?

You can always begin your search on the internet, but it’s important you use the internet to find local agencies, both public and private. You could even go to an adoption lawyer for advice and information about your States requirements. Home study providers are another option to begin the adoption process. This could be your best option if you want to adopt internationally. Finding a home study provider can link you to adoption agencies worldwide. However, when finding your own home study provider instead of using one that is provided by an adoption agency, you assume risk and responsibility if that provider is not familiar with details required by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or the foreign country in which you are adopting from.

What are the Costs of Services?

The cost of adopting your child will heavily depend on the agency you are adopting from, the type of child you want, the type of adoption, and the location you are adopting from. It’s important to understand the adoption process is not a cheap one. It’s a commitment financially, emotionally, and physically at times. It’s also important to know that adoption agencies will charge you for just about every service provided. This includes orientations, visits, paperwork and court fees, and more. Generally, orientations cost under $20 per person and give you a very good idea as to what you would be spending until the adoption is finalized. To learn more about the cost of services, contact several different agencies to see what they offer.

This page was last updated on 06/2017

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