close menu

“What does adoption mean to a child?”

Watch Video
Call 1-800-ADOPTION Contact us anytime, an adoption professional is here to help Free Info Free Info

Get Free Info

Our Domestic Adoption Programs

The Differences Between Traditional, Agency-Assisted and Identified

American Adoptions is a national, full-service adoption agency that serves prospective birth mothers and adoptive families in the domestic infant adoption process. When your family decides to work with American Adoptions, one of the first things we will go over together is the type of adoption program that works best for you.

What is an adoption program? Think of it as an outline for the type of adoption you are pursuing. Even within domestic infant adoption, a few things will vary between different adoption programs. Don’t worry about trying to be an adoption program expert — your specialist will help you make this decision.

Here is a brief overview of our domestic adoption programs.

Traditional Program

The Traditional Program involves the adoption of all healthy, non-African American newborns. Infants adopted through this program have ethnic backgrounds including, but not limited to, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, etc. or any non-African American combination of races.

This may seem odd or exclusionary. More will become clear when you read about our Agency-Assisted Program, but let’s say this here: The reason this adoption program focuses on babies without African-American heritage and the Agency-Assisted Program focuses on babies with African American heritage is to encourage transracial families, not to discourage them.

Here are more specifics about the Traditional Program.

Average Wait:

Many families’ first question is about how long they will have to wait for an adoption opportunity. Every adoption is unique, so no one can guarantee your wait time. On average, this child adoption program sees these wait times.

  • Wait until match: 1 to 9 months

  • Wait until placement: 3 to 12 months

  • 75 percent of adoptive families adopt within our average wait times

Gender Specificity:

Optional, but may increase wait time. Please contact us to see if we are currently accepting gender-specific couples.

Parent Eligibility:

Interested adoptive parents must be 25 to 50 years old, must have been married for a minimum of two years and have no more than two previous children.

Agency-Assisted Program

The Agency-Assisted Program involves the adoption of healthy newborns of full African-American heritage or any race combined with African-American heritage. We encourage hopeful adoptive parents to be as open as possible with their Adoption Planning Questionnaire, which lays out what adoption opportunities you would be willing to accept. Adopting a baby through the Agency-Assisted Program can be the start of a beautiful family.

Average Wait:

Once again, the time you spend waiting for an adoption opportunity will come down to your specific situation. However, we do generally see shorter wait times in the Agency-Assisted Program. This is good news on two fronts. First, obviously, there is the hope of finding an adoption opportunity faster. Second, this typically lowers the overall cost of adoption for your family.

Average wait times we see with this adoption program are:

  • Wait until match: 1 to 6 months

  • Wait until placement: 1 to 9 months

  • 75 percent of adoptive families adopt within our average wait times

Gender Specificity:

Optional, but may increase wait time. Please contact us to see if we are currently accepting gender-specific families.

Parent Eligibility:

Interested adoptive parents must be 22 to 50 years old and must have been married for a minimum of two years.

Identified Adoption Program

An identified adoption is when an adoptive family and birth mother locate each other through their own networking avenues, without our agency's assistance.

American Adoptions offers three Identified Adoption Programs, with each program varying by level of service needed to finalize the adoption. All of our programs include adoption education, birth parent support and counseling, and the coordination of all necessary documents required to finalize your adoption.

What is the difference between the Traditional Program and the Agency-Assisted Program?

The Agency-Assisted Program is for the adoption of African-American or biracial children that are part African-American. The Traditional Program is for the adoption of all non-African-American children (i.e. Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or any combination of races that do not include African-American heritage).

Why separate these two adoption programs? It’s a question we get often. There’s a clear answer.

Across the nation, there is a vast shortage of families seeking to adopt children of African-American descent. Due to this shortage, American Adoptions created our Agency-Assisted Program to aid families seeking to adopt African-American children.

One major benefit of this child adoption program is the lower wait times experienced by families taking this route. Because we have fewer families in the Agency-Assisted Program, these families receive a higher exposure to expectant mothers, resulting in typically shorter wait times. Therefore, advertising costs are subsidized for parents who choose this adoption program.

Families may join both the Agency-Assisted Program and the Traditional Program if they desire. If you are interested in a transracial adoption, your specialist will discuss with you the details of this kind of adoption and help you prepare for a successful placement.

What if my family doesn’t meet one of your agency requirements? Can I still adopt?

We make exceptions to our agency requirements on a case-by-case basis. To have your family reviewed, please submit a letter explaining your situation and the requirement you wish to have waived. Our Board of Directors will then review your case. Letters can be submitted to:

American Adoptions
Attn: Adoption Advisory Board
7500 W 110th St Suite 500
Overland Park, KS 66210

For more information about our domestic adoption programs and services, please call an adoption specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION or request more free information to get started with American Adoptions.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

Adoption Home Study

Adoption Home Study Process

Learn what a home study is and why you need one to adopt a child.

Read More

Home Study Questions and Answers

While adoption home studies vary slightly from agency to agency and state to state, there are several key elements that are almost always included in every home study.

Read More

Home Studies: State by State

Find a qualified professional in your state to complete your home study.

Read More
Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions accepts a limited number of families into our gender-specific program. Please contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn whether we are currently accepting families into this program. With this option, families pay an additional Gender-Specific Fee to help our agency locate and work with birth mothers meeting this additional criterion. This fee is in addition to other program fees and covers additional advertising. The fee is not considered part of your adoption budget. Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

Additional Resources

Adoption Newsletter

Did you know that American Adoptions offers a free bi-weekly e-newsletter? Sign up today to keep up-to-date on the latest in adoption news and information.

Sign Up

Famous Adoptions

Learn which famous Hollywood actors, sports stars, politicians and other icons have been touched by adoption.

Read More

Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

Read More