An Overview of Types

There are numerous types of adoption, each reflecting unique qualities. Take the time to research which program(s) would best fit your abilities as well as allow you to meet the needs of the child you would hope to someday adopt. Choosing which path is best for your family and future child will require wisdom and honesty. And as you travel further down the road to adoption, don’t be surprised if you find the direction you ultimately travel to change over time. Here are some elements relating to the different types of adoption that may be a help to you as a first step in that journey.

One of the biggest divides in the adoption process is international vs. domestic. There are benefits and challenges for each, and you can investigate them using the links below. One of the best resources available to anyone hoping to adopt is that of other families who have walked this journey before you. We strongly recommend you take the time to connect to those you know who have adopted and learn about their experience. In addition, there are many online forums that allow adoptive parents to engage with others on their experience.

Domestic Adoption

The classification of a domestic adoption simply refers to the process of a U.S. citizen adopting a child who is also a U.S. citizen. There are four types of domestic adoption: public adoption from foster care, adoption through a licensed agency, adoption through an unlicensed agency or facilitator, or independent adoption without any agency or facilitator. Depending upon the format chosen, domestic adoptions can often be faster, more affordable, and have a greater range in what terms are possible in the adoption agreement. However, it is also possible for domestic adoption to be more unpredictable and carry with them an uncertainty regarding what level of openness (ongoing contact) needs to be agreed upon by the adoptive and birth families as they each pursue what they deem to be in the best interest of the child. This does not need to cause anxiety or fear for prospective or birth parents, and good education and equipping can mitigate most if not all concerns in this area.

Learn more about domestic adoption.

International Adoption

International adoption is when a citizen of one country adopts a child who is a citizen of another country. There are very specific laws and regulations regarding international adoption which are set in place to prevent child trafficking and ensure the protection of each child from exploitation. One benefit to international adoption is that it can be more predictable and affordable than a domestic adoption depending on the specific program. However, many countries are closing their doors to international adoption and those that remain may be limited in terms of the families they will accept or the children who are able to be processed for adoption. In addition, it is more unlikely for a child who was adopted internationally to have access to explore their history and family of origin when adopted from abroad. Still, with the proper information and preparation, international adoption can be an excellent way to meet the needs of a waiting child by providing a loving, secure family through adoption.

Learn more about international adoption.

Other Considerations:

Sibling Group Adoption- Adopting a sibling group has both benefits and challenges to it. This type of adoption allows siblings the opportunity to stay together in a family unit after they have lost their birthparents. Although sibling group adoptions come with multiplied challenges, there is also a great deal of good that can come by keeping the children connected. However, adopting multiple children at the same time can make it hard for families to meet the developmental and attachment needs of each individual child, especially when children come from places of loss or trauma. Adoptive families considering a sibling adoption should seek council regarding how to best meet the needs of multiple children entering their family once through adoption.

Special Needs- Individuals or families considering adoption should also thoughtfully consider which special needs they can best care and provide for in the life of a waiting child. Coming into the adoption process with an idea of what support and resource you can access (either directly or through an outside provider) will help guide you in determining what path is most fitting in this aspect of the process. You will be able to focus on best meeting the needs of your future child. As a note, some international programs  offer exceptions for various requirements to be relaxed as they pertain to the adoptive parent (age, etc.) in order to allow a waiting child with special needs to be matched to a loving adoptive family.

Age of child/children- The age of the child you bring into your home can range from newborn to teenager depending upon the program you enter and what age parameter is listed in your home study. If uncertain as to what age parameter is best for your parenting ability, seek advice from your home study case worker.

Next Steps

Once you have decided what type of adoption you want to pursue, it is time to Find an Agency!