Most people know that children are sometimes adopted through the public foster care system, and celebrities have taken international adoption into the spotlight. Unfortunately, most women involved in crisis pregnancies haven’t had the time to research their options. Even worse, if they go to an abortion clinic (a majority of them advertise as “women’s health clinics”) they will be steered toward abortion even if that is not what they originally intended.
Here is a breakdown of basic types of adoptions.
Non-profit or for-profit adoption agencies, doctors, attorneys, and members of clergy facilitate these adoptions. A child is placed in a non-relative home and the adoption may be open or closed, based on the level of privacy the birth mother and adoptive parents agree on. Example: A birth mother makes the decision to give her baby up for adoption, is referred to a private agency, and then chooses the birth parents through a semi-anonymous profile. The profile usually includes a personal essay, details of home life, child-rearing and religious beliefs, ethnic background, and the adoptive parent’s careers. The level of privacy afforded to all parties of the adoption is agreed on beforehand and enforced with signed contracts.
Children in the public child welfare system are placed in permanent homes by government agencies or private agencies that are under contract to find home for these children. Example: A child is placed in the state child welfare system because it was in the child’s best interest, decided either by public officials or, less often, the birth parents. Adoptive parents, cleared by background checks and home studies, usually open their home to a child as a temporary haven and act as foster parents. Once the child is cleared for adoption, when the state determines birth parents unfit, the adoption process can move forward toward permanence.
A non-household family member adopts a child. An outside party does not always facilitate these adoptions. Example: A teenage girl gets pregnant by her boyfriend. She doesn’t want to keep the baby, but doesn’t believe in abortion either. She knows adoption is the best option, but can’t bear the thought of never seeing her child again. Her aunt agrees to adopt the baby as her own, giving the birth mother regular access to her child.
The spouse of a birthparent adopts a child. Example: A single mother brings two children into her marriage. Her husband adopts them, agreeing to officially be their father on paper as well as in everyday life.
This is where public and private adoption systems merge. A U.S. adoptive family usually goes through an American private adoption agency that then contacts the government adoption system in the child’s native country and files the appropriate paperwork, home studies, etc. Example: An adoptive family files adoption paperwork through a private U.S. agency that supervises home studies, background checks, etc. The private agency walks them though the process of adopting in a foreign country and acts as a middleman between adoptive parents and foreign orphanages.