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How U.S. Adoption Works

An Overview of Domestic Adoption

If you’re like most people, you’ve been vaguely familiar with the idea of U.S. adoption for quite some time. Our cultural understanding of adoption has increased recently, along with our support of it. Still, an in-depth understanding of adoption in the U.S. is lacking. This guide will, hopefully, help fix that.

Whether you are interested in the idea of U.S. adoption out of curiosity or seriously considering domestic adoption for your family, we’re here to help. There’s a lot to learn, and we’re going to cover the most important questions you might have about adoption in the United States.

Birth mothers, do you want to learn more about the private domestic adoption process in the U.S.? Take this link to find our guide for placing your child for adoption. You can also connect with an adoption professional today by completing our free online form.

An Overview of U.S. Adoption

Approximately 5 million Americans alive today are adoptees. That’s only 2 percent of the general public, which seems small. But the impact of adoption is much larger than that. It’s estimated that 6 in 10 Americans have personal experience with adoption, whether through family, friends or others in their community.

All of that is to say that the impact of adoption in the U.S. is larger than most people realize. Even though only a small percentage of women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy choose adoption for their babies, the difference adoption makes in society is important. Additionally, millions are touched by the foster care adoption process, which is another way for families to adopt in the U.S. From politicians to celebrities and teachers to construction workers, adoption is a thread in the fabric of American society.

Why Hopeful Parents Choose Adoption in the U.S.

People choose U.S. adoption for a diverse array of reasons. Some of the most common are:

  • Infertility: Did you know that one out of every eight Americans will be given a diagnosis of infertility? This widespread struggle hides behind a curtain of shame, and we as a society have a long way to go in improving the way we handle infertility. For many hopeful parents who receive this diagnosis, adoption is a viable family-building option.

  • A Sense of Calling: Many families considering U.S. adoption will talk about feeling “called” to adopt. Whether or not you are a person of faith, this sentiment certainly makes sense. The love of a family can feel like a transcendent reality. It’s much bigger than any one individual. When a family comes together, something special happens.

  • A Desire to Help: Maybe “calling” seems like a stretch to you. For many, it’s simply a strong desire to help. They see children here in the U.S. who need to know the love and security of a family, and something in their heart says, “I should be that family.”

  • Personal History: Adoption has a multi-generational effect. Many adoptees become adoptive parents, or siblings of adoptees decide to grow their own families through adoption later on.

These are only a few of the reasons someone might choose adoption in the U.S. Whatever has brought you to adoption, you should be proud of your story and eager to grow your family in this beautiful way.

Ways to Complete a U.S. Adoption

Many may assume that “U.S. adoption” is one, simple process. In fact, there are several ways to complete an adoption in the U.S.

Domestic Infant Adoption

How do you define domestic adoption? Well, in its simplest terms, it is the adoption of a child from the U.S. by parents who are from the U.S. However, when the term “domestic adoption” is used, it often refers to something more specific: domestic infant adoption.

In the domestic adoption process, a woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy chooses adoption for her baby. Separately, hopeful parents work with an adoption agency to create adoption profiles and complete other requirements for adoption. Then, profiles are shown to prospective birth mothers, who choose a family to adopt their baby.

This type of U.S. adoption works outside of the foster care system, which is why the domestic adoption of infants is also called domestic private adoption — more on that in just a bit. American Adoptions is a full-service, national domestic adoption agency, so this is the type of adoption families complete with our agency.

Foster Care Adoption

Domestic child adoption, when referring to the adoption of older children, is typically foster care adoption. There are more than 400,000 children in foster care. For most of those children, the goal is reunification with their biological parents. However, more than 100,000 of those children are unable to reunited with their parents and are waiting for adoption.

U.S. adoption through foster care is a way to grow your family while also meeting the serious needs of a waiting child. This process can happen in many different ways, and the best way to get started is by contacting your local Department of Child Services.

Relative, Stepparent and Independent Adoption

In private domestic adoption, an agency finds an infant adoption opportunity for the family. In foster care adoption, the state places a child in a home. But what happens during adoption in the U.S. when you already know the child?

There are several names for this type of United States adoption, but the most common are relative adoption, stepparent adoption and independent adoption. These are cases when the parent already knows the child, or the prospective birth mother personally knows the parents she wants for her baby. In this type of U.S. adoption, an agency may still be able to assist with some of the required steps, and an adoption attorney will be needed for the legal aspects of adoption.

What is Private Adoption?

While you’re looking for information about adoption in the U.S., you are likely to come across the term domestic private adoption. Is this different from regular domestic adoption? What, exactly, does it mean?

In short, private adoption is a domestic adoption in which the prospective birth mother and hopeful adoptive parents work with a private adoption agency, like American Adoptions. Most of the time, “private adoption” is just another way of referring to U.S. domestic infant adoption. 

How to Start a U.S. Adoption

Once you are sure that adoption is right for you, you can begin the domestic adoption process by contacting an adoption agency. There are several different types of agencies, and it’s important to choose one that can meet your needs and support you through the whole process. American Adoptions is a full-service domestic private adoption agency. We work with families across the country to complete domestic infant adoptions from start to finish.

Learn More about U.S. Domestic Adoption

If you have more questions about U.S. adoption, or if you are ready to begin your adoption process today, request additional free information online.

Prospective birth mothers reading this and considering adoption can get more information by completing this form to connect with a professional today.

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.

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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 does not allow gender specificity in adoption. Any family who wishes to be gender-specific in their adoption should contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION and ask about the possibility of an exception waiver before taking any other steps toward adoption with our agency. Any families who do receive an exception to be gender-specific may also incur an additional fee, which helps cover the additional advertising costs of such a request.

Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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