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Information to Assist Adopting Families

Scroll down the page to quickly find information on all aspects of child adoption.  In just minutes you can get a basic understanding of the different types of child adoption and the resources available to assist you.  If you need additional information simply follow the links to a more detailed explanation.

The Creators of this Site

Adopting Family Resources was created in the hope of assisting people just like you who are interested in adopting a child. If you have questions please feel free to contact us.

Adoption Choices

Types of adoption explains the major types of adoption and why it's important to decide on the type of adoption you want before beginning your search for a chi ld..

Open vs closed adoption is a very important choice you need to make before you start your search for a child to adopt. In a closed adoption, birth parents and adopting families are anonymous. In an open adoption, biological and adopting parents exchange identifying information.

Agency vs private adoption is a decision on who will assist you in going through the legal process of adoption.  Adoption agencies are licensed through the state and can often do many things to protect your interests while those same interests may not be protected going through an individual or service for a private adoption. Conversely, when you read horror stories in the news, these are most likely private adoptions. It is strongly recommend you proceed only with a licensed agency.

Agency vs facilitator is an issue each adopting person should carefully consider.  Facilitator adoptions have become such a problem that the U.S. government has warned birth mothers, birth fathers, and adopting families to work with an adoption agency and avoid adoption.

Intrastate vs interstate can make a difference in the complexity of the adoption process. In an interstate adoption, the birth mother and adopting family live in different states and so the adoption must meet the requirements of at least two states, plus the Interstate Compact Act making it a somewhat more complex process.

Domestic vs International is one of the ways of classifying all adoptions. A domestic adoption involves adopting a child who is a citizen of the same country as the adopting persons. In an international adoption, the birth mother and adopting family are citizens of, and live in, different countries.

Selecting an adoption agency is an important early step in the adoption process. Agencies come in a variety of forms but the most important factor is that they be licensed.

Attorney selection can play an important role in adoption.  If you are going to work with a licensed adoption agency you do not need to worry about obtaining an attorney since the agency will help you make sure all the legal issues are taken care of.  If you are proceeding with a private adoption, then you should always obtain your own attorney. 

Adoption Help

Domestic adoption involves adopting a child who is a citizen of the same country as the adopting persons. You can find important information on the process here.

International adoption involves an adopt child and adopting family who are citizens of, and live in, different countries.

Adoption from China covers many topics including who can adopt from China, how long the process takes, who are the available Chinese children, what specifics are involved in adopting a Chinese child, what travel is involved, and much more.

Adoption from Russia covers many topics including who can adopt from Russia, how long the process takes, who are the available Russian children, what specifics are involved in adopting a Russian child, and much more.

Adoption from Guatemala covers many topics including how long the Guatemala adoption process takes, who are the available Guatemalan children, what specifics are involved in adopting a child from Guatemala, and much more.

Adoption from other countries will help you with child adoption information from countries other than those listed above.

Financial Help

Federal resources can help cover adoption costs for all types of adoptions.

Federal Adoption Tax Credit is approximately $11,000 per eligible child and is provided in the year an adoption is finalized. It is advised you check with your attorney and/or your accountant on this tax credit.

State financial assistance provides financial help and services for children with special needs and their adoptive parents.

Employer provided adoption benefits are being provided by an ever growing number of employers. This site examines the types of benefits employers offer to help with adoption.

Health insurance is discussed in relationship to the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 which has a provision that guarantees adopted children the same access to health insurance as birth children. This can be an extremely important piece of information to know.

Special needs infants may qualify for adoption assistance which is paid to adoptive families to help them defray expenses related to their child's need for ongoing therapies or treatment.

Taxpayer ID Number is a temporary adoption identification number needed and used in place of your child's Social Security Number when applying for a child deduction on your U.S. income tax return.

Additional Resources

Emotional issues are common in any family, and there are a few that are unique to adopted children.  This section is devoted to helping you understand the medical, developmental, emotional and educational needs of adopted children.

Support groups are available for families or individuals who are thinking about adoption or have already completed an adoption. Each support site offers something a little different but all try to offer support, encouragement, information and alternatives. 

Organizations to help adopting persons can be excellent sources of information and support.   Included are such organizations and support groups as the Child Welfare Information Gateway, Adoptive Families & Friends, Adoptive Parents' Committee, the American Adoption Congress, the Child Welfare League of America, the Committee for Single Adoptive Parents, International Concerns Committee for Children, the National Council For Adoption, Adoptive Parent's Committee, the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, the National Adoption Center and more.

Child health/disease provides good infant and child care advice from experts.  Included is health related information from a variety of sources including the Mayo Clinic, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institutes of Health, and the world's largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine.

Foster care provides for over approximately 125,000 children across the U.S. most of whom are currently available for adoption.  In order to encourage the adoption of children from the foster care system financial assistance is available to help adopt these children.

Adoption exchanges and related photo-listings provide pictures and brief descriptions of the children in the state's foster care system who are available for adoption and waiting for families. Please understand that these children are waiting in the states foster care programs, and while many may be older and have some special needs, they are all in need of a loving family.

Special Adoptions

Single women and men often have a harder time adopting than does a married couple.  This section assists a single person in the U.S. who want to adopt. 

Gay and lesbian adoptive singles have always adopted, though in the past they usually hid their sexual orientation. Today, just as they are becoming visible in all other aspects of U. S. society, they are being considered more seriously as potential adoptive parents.

Relatives of the birth mother or birth father may want to adopt the birth mother's child.  Each state defines "relative" differently, including relatives through blood, marriage, or adoption.  This section can help you with the adoption of a blood relative.

Step-parent adoption is the most common form of adoption.  Although state laws differ in the procedures used to approve step-parent adoptions, most jurisdictions require the consent of the non-custodial parent as well as the step-parent's spouse.

Records

Birth records and many other types of vital records are kept by each state some of which are public records and while access to others is restricted by law.  The site will give an adopting family and an adoptee a place you can contact to obtain birth records and other vital records.

Search & reunion involves a birth mother and/or a birth fathers searching for a child they placed for adoption and for the adopted child searching for their birth mother or birth father.  This site will help an adoptive family and/or adoptee with this whole area.

Adoption registries are sources of information that can help unite an adoptee with his/her birth mother and/or birth father.  Many states have an adoption registry and, if your state has one, it may be found at this site. 

Adoption Rights

Birth mothers legal rights are protected in every U.S. state and territory.  One of the rights everyone needs to be concerned about is the ending of parental rights.  This site will allow you to find the requirements of any or all states as well as other rights of a birth mother and birth father.

Birth fathers legal rights are protected as well as those of the birth mother.  This site will allow you to find the requirements of any or all states as well as other right of a birth father and birth mother.

Adopting family rights are, in part, determined by whether the adopting family is engaging in an international adoption or a domestic adoption and, if it is a domestic adoption, whether it is an intrastate adoption or an interstate adoption.  Each U.S. state and each adopting country have laws and/or regulations providing for the ending the parental rights of a birth mother and birth father, and the establishment of the rights of the adopting family and the adoptee. 

Grandparents in many states have legal rights related to their grandchild even if the child is being placed for adoption. It is important for a birth mother, birth father, and adopting family to be aware of the grandparent's rights and other issues related to being a biological grandparent. 

Adoption Laws

State adoption laws are listed here for each state as well as U.S. federal adoption related laws and international adoption laws. By being aware of the existence of these state, federal, and international laws, and adopting family can avoid many potential problems.

Interstate laws involves the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children which creates procedures for the interstate placement of children. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children must be involved any time a child is moved from one state to another state for purposes of adoption. The contact number for each state can be found at this site.

Indian Child Welfare Act applies to the custody and adoption of children of Native American ancestry. Many children, a lot more than most adopting families realize, born in the U.S. have some degree of Native American Indian heritage.  Since the adoption of children with Native American Indian heritage is treated uniquely in the legal system, and because there is a significant number of children born who have at least some degree of Native American Indian heritage, it is critical for adopting persons and their agency and/or attorney to be aware of this Act and meet its requirements.

Adoption expenses emphasizes that nearly all states have enacted statutes that provide some regulation of the fees and expenses that adoptive parents are expected to pay when arranging an adoptive placement. This site provides general information on birth parent expenses, agency fees and costs, use of an intermediary, and issues involving reporting adoption-related expenses to the court.

Family Medical Leave Act requires that an employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period for several reasons, one being the placement of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care.

International law that applies to an international adoption is the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption established a set of internationally agreed minimum requirements and procedures to govern adoptions in which a child moves from one country to another.

Child Citizenship Act confers United States citizenship automatically and retroactively to certain foreign-born children adopted by citizens of the United States.

Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act requires states to make adoption assistance payments to parents who adopt a child who is AFDC-eligible and is a child with special needs.

Multiethnic Act was designed to decrease the time children in foster care were waiting to be adopted, to prevent any discrimination when making foster care and adoptive placements, and to facilitate the recruitment of foster and adoptive families.

Governmental Help

Federal A-Z gives you a comprehensive list, with links to each, of the hundreds of federal agencies and departments many of which can be a valuable resource for persons adopting both internationally and domestically.  Every federal agency and every federal department of the agencies is listed here.

State agencies includes state-by-state contact information for a variety of adoption-related organizations and services including public and licensed private adoption agencies, support groups, state reunion registries, and more.

Child Welfare provides resources to help adopting families understand the adoption laws, regulations, and procedures of your state or of any state.  This adoption resource will help you to contact your local child welfare agency, such as the Department of Human Resources, Department of Public Welfare, or the Department of Child Protective Services.

Services & benefits lists the multitude of U.S. federal government benefit programs and services available to adopting families and their adopted child.  This site helps access government benefit eligibility information.

Senators is a listing of all the current U.S. Senators.  Sometimes an adopting family can run into problems and delays that their Senator can solve. 

Representatives is a listing of all the current U.S. Congressmen and U.S. Congresswomen.  Sometimes adopting persons can run into problems and delays that their Representative can solve. 

Governors is a listing of all the current U.S. state governors.  Sometimes adopting persons can run into problems and delays that their Governor can help solve. 

Special Issues

Fingerprinting for criminal record clearance is required for all international adoptions and in many domestic adoptions. 

Transracial issues and trans-cultural adoptions involves the placement of a child who is of one race or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another race or ethnic group. 

Disruptions occur when adoption process ends after the child is placed in an adoptive home and before the adoption is legally finalized, resulting in the child's return to (or entry into) foster care or return to the birth mother or birth father.

Post-Adoption Issues

Child development issues and concerns are sometimes different than those faced by a child that has been biologically born into the family. This resource area deals with: 1) What to expect at different ages; 2) The facts of life: where do I come from and how did I get here; 3) Children who are adopted when they are older or who are of a different race; 4) Emotional impact of adoption; and 5) Searching for birth parents issues.

Explaining adoption can be difficult since many adopting parents are conflicted over when and how to explain adoption to the adopted child, to other children in the family, and to friends and relatives.  This area addresses the issue of adoption, defining it, explaining it to others, and dealing with the feelings that arise.

Adoption and schools is an important area since, like all children, an adopted child spends a good portion of his/her waking hours in school. This resource area looks at three areas: 1) How adoption impacts a youngster in school; 2) Specific educational problems that are common to adopted children; and 3) Ways to help students, teachers, principals, and other school personnel to become more sensitive to adoption issues. 

Parenting explores the effects of adoption on adolescent development and behavior. Topics discussed include parenting the adopted adolescent, how children develop, typical adolescent behavior, adoption and adolescence, when parents should become concerned, and what they can do to help

Therapy and Therapist selection discuss how assistance from a professional skilled in adoption issues can often prevent issues common to adoption from becoming more serious problems.

Additional Issues 

Prevent child abuse includes the National Child Abuse Hotline and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.  Also provided are sources of government information about the subject of child abuse, child abuse prevention, and much more. 

Breastfeeding has been shown to help protect the baby against many illnesses, including painful ear infections, upper and lower respiratory ailments, allergies, intestinal disorders, colds, and many others. While it is very difficult, some adoptive mothers have successfully breast feed their adopted child.

Costs and fees provides general information on birth parent expenses, agency fees and costs, use of an intermediary, and reporting adoption-related expenses to the court.

Birth mother help and Birth father help provide information on the issues that birth mothers, pregnant women and birth fathers face to give you the adopting family a better appreciation and understanding of the issues and concerns a birth mother and birth father face.

Birth statistics are provided by The National Center for Health Statistics. This site is a source of information not only about birth statistics but also about America's health as well as statistics on other very interesting issues.

Help for Adopting Families by State

 Alabama  Montana
 Alaska  Nebraska
 Arizona  Nevada
 Arkansas  New Hampshire
 California  New Jersey
 Colorado  New Mexico
 Connecticut  New York
 Delaware  North Carolina
 Florida  North Dakota
 Georgia  Ohio
 Hawaii  Oklahoma
 Idaho  Oregon
 Illinois  Pennsylvania
 Indiana  Rhode Island
 Iowa  South Carolina
 Kansas  South Dakota
 Kentucky  Tennessee
 Louisiana  Texas
 Maine  Utah
 Maryland  Vermont
 Massachusetts  Virginia
 Michigan  Washington
 Minnesota  West Virginia
 Mississippi  Wisconsin
 Missouri  Wyoming
 More Adoption Help
 Pregnancy  Placing a child for adoption
 Parenting  Adopting a child

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