If you are considering an adoption, you may be overwhelmed with the choices and options. This blog post provides an overview of the domestic adoption process.
A domestic adoption essentially means that you have chosen to adopt within the states and territories that make up the United States, so you won’t have to worry about immigration matters or foreign adoption laws.
A domestic adoption can take a number of forms:
- Agency vs. private (independent) adoption—Though many people use adoption agencies, it is not a legal requirement. You can work directly with birth parents, or use an attorney to facilitate the adoption. Agencies typically have networks that can make the process of finding a child easier, but there are also significant expenses associated with an agency adoption. Currently, five states (Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and North Dakota) do not allow independent adoptions, but offer agency adoptions that are very similar to private adoptions.
- Open vs. closed adoption—In an open adoption, the birth parent(s) and the adoptive parent(s) meet and can remain in contact, even after the adoption is done. Arrangement may even be made for visitation with a birth parent. In a closed adoption, the agency (or an attorney or other representative) acts as an intermediary between the birth parent and the adoptive parents, so that there is complete anonymity and privacy
- Infant adoption—Many adoptive parents want an infant and it’s fairly typical that adoptive parents will be paired with a pregnant woman, and will take the child home from the hospital.
The Domestic Adoption Process
The adoption process is essentially the same, whether you use an agency or go through a private adoption. You will still need to have a home study done, and the home study will require a background check. As a practical matter, completing the home study should be the first step you take.
Once you’ve completed the home study, you need to find a child. An agency will work through its contacts and network to find a suitable match. You can, however, take your own steps to find a child, advertising in periodicals, online or other places.
Once you have a prospective child, there is legal documentation to complete. If you are adopting an infant, you will need to negotiate what you will pay for and put it in writing. Once your child is with you, you will also have to file papers with the court, and will need to get court approval of the adoption.
Contact Adoption Attorneys Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC
At the law office of Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC, our lawyers bring more than 25 years of experience to every matter we handle. Attorney Donald C. Cofsky has personally handled more than 1,500 adoption proceedings since joining the bar in 1974. Attorney Bruce D. Zeidman has protected the interests of clients in state and federal courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 1984. We understand the challenges you face, and can help you identify all your options so that you can make good decisions that are in your best long-term interests.