First Steps to Domestic Adoption
Two common questions include:
1. Will you pursue your adoption through an agency or through a private adoption?
2. Are you looking for an open, semi-open, or closed adoption arrangement?
A private adoption is a non-agency assisted adoption, usually completed by an attorney. The levels of service provided by adoption attorneys may vary. If you are considering a private adoption, it is important to interview different adoption attorneys to find one that will provide you the level of services that you desire and need.
Before pursuing a private adoption, it is crucial that you check the laws in your state to see if you are required to have an adoption agency involved in your adoption process.
With an agency adoption, the agency usually takes care of everything from the beginning to the finalization of your child’s adoption. As with private adoption, it’s important to carefully interview adoption agencies to find the best fit.
After you decide on whether to use an agency or pursue a private adoption, there’s another big decision to consider. You will need to decide if you want to have an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or a closed adoption.
An open adoption is where both parties know identifying information about each other, including names, locations, phone numbers, etc. There may be multiple visits between the two families, or a few visits, with cards, letters, e-mails, etc. exchanged throughout the years.
A semi-open adoption is where both families know some non-identifying
information. They may know each other’s first names, but not any personal information. Any cards, gifts, letters, updates, etc., are exchanged through the agency or another third party. There are varying degrees of semi-open adoption, and it’s important for everyone to be on the same page.
A closed adoption means that there is no shared information involved between the adoptive family and the birth family. This type of adoption was popular in the past, but has become increasingly less popular. This is due to the fact the adoptee’s questions about his or her birth family and medical history may be very hard to answer.
As you make these life changing decisions in your adoption journey, know that it’s normal to be excited and scared at the same time. Don’t be afraid to reach out to adoptive parent support groups, agency workshops, and adoption websites for support. It’s amazing that you can have one thing in common with perfect strangers that provides an instant connection—the first steps of your adoption journey.
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