By: James Matthews

Although international adoption has received a great deal of attention lately, largely due to the prevalence of celebrities taking in children from foreign countries, many children each year are taken into new homes on the domestic front and remains a great way to build a family. The phrase domestic simply refers to adoptions in which the adoptive family and the child are both citizens of the United States, so there are no immigration issues or international laws that govern the process. It is a good idea to be aware of the different options that are available if you are considering this process, as there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
Adopted in the USA
Should I go the Agency or Private route?

In general, there are two types of adoptions: those that are done through an agency, and private or independent ones. In an agency setting, a third party is involved in the matching of a child to an adoptive family or parent. This third party can be a public one such as the Social Services department or a private organization such as a social or religious group. You will also often see attorneys who specialize in this area of the law offering legal services in conjunction with an agency.

In a private adoption, the birth parents and new family find one another on their own. Some of the advantages to this method include:

-A formal process to eliminate uncertainty
-Usually entails fixed costs
-Support network for both birth mother and adoptive families

This process also has its own distinct advantages, including:

-More open information exchange between birth parents and adoptive parents
-Can be faster than an agency adoption, although not always
-Adoptive families can get access to the infant right when it is born or closer to that time than in an agency adoption

Should I opt for an Open or Closed process?

Another decision which families face is whether you would prefer an open adoption or a closed one. Each choice has its own pros and cons and your final decision will probably be based on which factors you deem most important.

In an open adoption, the birth parents are able to have some contact with their child, which can range from pictures passed through a third party to face-to-face meetings on a more regular basis. Only new parents who welcome the child staying in touch with the former should consider this method.

In a closed adoption, the birth parents and adoptive family have no contact once parental rights have been transferred to the adoptive family. This is the preferable choice if you do not want to deal with the birth family down the road or have your new child maintain contact with them.

No matter which type of method you are considering, it is important to consult a lawyer when you make this decision to ensure that it is documented in a legally enforceable way.

About the Author

For more information on domestic adoptions, contact the Maryland family law attorneys at the Law Firm of Annapolis. Their bi-lingual attorneys have more than a decade of experience helping families grow via adoption.

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