Domestic Adoption is the legal adoption of a child in need of a family that is a citizen of the same country as the adoptive parents.
For A List Of Licensed Domestic Adoption Service Providers In Your State, Visit:
Domestic Adoption Process:
Most Domestic Adoptions are newborn/infant placements directly from birthmother to adoptive parents and the birthmother voluntarily relinquishes her rights to parenting the child to the adopting parents who ultimately legally assume the parenting responsibility. In cases where the birthmothers rights are terminated for her, the child usually is placed in the Foster Care System until a family is identified to adopt the child.
1. You will need to select a Licensed Child Placing Agency (Adoption Agency) that facilitates domestic adoptions OR hire an attorney who can facilitate the legal placement of a child with you.
2. You will need to have a Home Study conducted on you and/or your current family members. This involves a Social Worker from a Licensed Child Placing Agency or Private Licensed Social Worker who will make sure that you meet your states requirements for adopting as well as provide you with the adoption education that you need.
3. Once your Home Study is completed and you are approved to adopt you will need to identify or be “matched” with a child. If you are contracted with a Licensed Child Placing agency who has a matching program they will help you with this. Other methods to identify a child are independently through adoption marketing, photo listings, or through family and friends.
4. Once a child is identified for adoption, the birthparents rights will need to be relinquished and the child can be placed in your care until final adoption approval from a judge. Your Home Study Agency, Attorney or Licensed Child Placing Agency will help you through this process. There are specific laws on counseling for the birthmother that must take place. These laws vary from state to state and your Social Worker can provide you with the appropriate information.
5. Once the child is placed with you, you will receive Temporary Custody of the child. The adoption attorney will submit the required documents to the court to Petition to Adopt the child. A court date will be set for Final Adoption Decree.
6. During the waiting time until Final Adoption Decree, a Licensed Social Worker will need to conduct Post Placement visits to determine how the child and your family is doing. They are there to help you with any concerns you might have, provide resources for you and also determine the care of the child. The Social Worker will provide a Post Placement Assessment to the court which will recommend final adoption of the child with you or in some cases, an extention if issues arise.
7. Once you receive your Final Adoption Decree from the judge, the child is your child as if you gave birth to them. There are no further reports or assessments required. You will receive an adoption birth certificate for the child listing you as the parent/s.
Length of Process:
Domestic Adoptions can take anywhere from 6 months to several years. Some families complete the Home Study in a couple of months and are matched with a child right away. Some families take months to complete the Home Study and then wait 1-3+ years before they are matched with a child. The average time frame is 2 years.
The more open adopting families are to communication with birthfamily,gender, race, health etc. the faster a match will be. However, some programs that involve a Matching Program require that a birthmother “select” you as the parents for her child and this is entirely dependent on the birthmothers preferences.
Domestic Adoptions cost on average between $15,000 and $25,000 dollars for infant placement with some costing as high as $40,000. This amount is for the fees for services involved in the adoption process, and in some cases includes costs for the birthmothers care during pregnancy. Your Licensed Child Placing Agency, Social Worker, Attorney and other services involved will provide you with a break down of what to expect for their fee for services.
There are 3 types of communication to consider with the birthmother; Closed, Semi Open or Fully Disclosed. This preference will need to be stated upfront as it greatly effects the matching process of you with a child.
Closed-The adoptive family receives a non-identifying medical and social history on the birthparent/s and their family. No identifying information is shared between the adopting parents and the birth families. No communication or contact between the parties is expected. The birth parent/s may participate in selecting the adoptive family through non identifying adoptive family profiles. There is no communication between parties. In some states the adopted child can access the adoption file at adulthood.
Semi Open-The adoptive family receives non-identifying information. Both birthparents and adoptive aprents maintain contact with each other after the adoption finalizes, through a third party, such as adoption agency or attorney. This typically includes pictures and/or letters to each other. The birth parent/s agree to maintain a current addressw ith the agency and update the agency and adoptive family with any pertinent inforamtion, such as medical information. Direct contact may occasionally occur, usually at the agency or pre-arranged meeting place. Anonymity is typically maintained.
Fully Disclosed-Full disclosure of identifying information between parties occurs. Contact between birth and adoptive family is direct, without the agency as the intermediary. No two fully disclosed adoptions are the same. Contact between members of the adoption circle may be spontaneous and initiated by either party at any time. Some contact agreements may be determined by a previously developed agreement of scheduled contact/visits, phone calls and letters or pictures. Parties may re-negotiate contact over time.