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Domestic Child Adoption

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Domestic child adoption in the U.S. can be conducted in a few different ways, but even so, some elements of the process will be consistent regardless of where you live or how you decide to adopt.

About Domestic Child Adoption

U.S. children are adopted using a flexible process that may seem unpredictable at first. It can be confusing because each U.S. state is tasked with establishing laws relating to adoptions within its jurisdiction. Because each state approaches the mission of finding placements for orphaned or abandoned children in a slightly different way, adopting in Arizona will be different from adopting in Oregon.

Even though each state may require somewhat different paperwork, all states have some things in common when it comes to adoption. All require a home study for potential adoptive parents, a kind of evaluation process. All require that adoptions be finalized in a court of law too.

The states operate public facilities called public adoption agencies that are staffed by county or state employees and financed with tax dollars. Individual states also license other types of adoption agencies to oversee the adoption process within state boundary lines.

These private adoption agencies may be affiliated with a cultural or religious group. They may be non-profit, or they may charge a great deal for their services. Private agencies may specialize in infant placements, or only handle international adoptions from one or a short list of countries.

Beyond public and private adoption agencies, there are others who act as intermediaries too. These agents are called facilitators. They may be lawyers, but don't necessarily have to be. When facilitators play a major role in an adoption, it's often called an independent or private adoption. These types of transactions are distinct from those conducted by adoption agencies, but may still use agencies for a small part of the work involved, like conducting introductory classes for prospective parents or doing the follow up visits after an adoption has been finalized.

Independent adoptions are often used in infant adoptions because in some states birth mothers may be sought before a baby is born. This is one way an adoptive parent can bring a child home as soon after birth as possible. Because this is a controversial topic in some quarters, there are states that don't allow advertising for birth mothers in independent adoptions, and other restrictions may apply.

To learn more about domestic child adoption in your state, contact your state offices. The administering arm of your state government that handles adoption may go by a number of different names, but a quick search of your government office listings should yield likely candidates.

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