There are many ways to categorize the different types of child adoption. The distinctions are discussed below.
An agency adoption is arranged through an child adoption agency and the agency can be a private or public agency, with or without a religious affiliation, can be for-profit or non-profit, and can be licensed or unlicensed. The most important factor is if they are licensed and have met the requirements of the state to provide you with a full range of professional child adoption services.
A private adoption is arranged through an individual (typically a doctor, clergy, or attorney) or referral service. Private adoptions can be very risky and some states have gone so far as to make private adoption illegal and require all child adoptions go through a licensed child adoption agency.
In order to assure the best services are provided to everyone, it is strongly recommend you proceed only with a licensed agency. To check if an agency or organization is licensed, first call them and ask if they are a licensed "adoption agency" or some other entity. Then ask for their license number and the phone number of the licensing authority. Follow this up with a call to the licensing authority and ask if the agency is indeed licensed and ask if there are any irregularities in the agency's history. Every state has a licensing authority and we have never found one that objected to such a call. They too want you to work with licensed agencies that are in good standing so that you are protected.
Identifying a child adoption as closed or open is another way to group adoptions. In a closed adoption the identities of the birth mother, birth father, and adopting family are not shared with each other. The birth parents and adopting family can meet, share pictures and updates, and have ongoing contact through the agency, but they do not share last names, addresses, and other identifying information. In an open adoption, the birth parents and the adopting parents exchange identifying information.
An open or closed adoption has nothing to do with whether the adoption is an agency child adoption or a private child adoption. Whether an adoption is open or closed depends on what the birth mother and birth father want, what you want, what your state allows, and what agency you work with.
These are other ways of classifying child adoptions.
In an intrastate adoption you, as the adopting family, and the birth mother live in the same state while in an interstate adoption you and the birth parents live in different states. An intrastate adoption must meet the requirements of only one state while an interstate adoption must meet the requirements of each state involved and meet the requirement of the Interstate Compact Act.
In an international adoption, the birth parent and adopting family live in different countries while in a domestic adoption you and the birth mother and baby are living in the same country or are citizens of the same country. An international adoption must meet the requirements of the your state, the U.S. and foreign governments, and the Hague Convention.
You should be aware of each type of adoption, but the details should be handled by the child adoption agency with which you are working.
We Can Help
Our adoption agency has completed many adoptions in all the above categories. We are here to help you determine the best choice for you and then to help implement your choices in a way that will eliminate problems and concerns. Please feel free to contact us by phone or by email.