Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Different types of adoption may be available to families

Adoption is an important way that many families begin and grow. It is helpful, therefore, to understand adoption options and the legal technicalities sometimes associated with the adoption process. There are several different processes through which a child may be adopted including agency adoptions, independent adoptions, adoptions through identification and international adoption, among some others.

Agency adoption can refer to both public and private agencies that are licensed and regulated by the states to provide adoption services. Many children adopted through the agency adoption process are wards of the state or are in other similar circumstances, as they may have been abused, abandoned or orphaned. Independent adoptions may be arranged, alternately, directly through the birth parents and may be facilitated through clergy or a doctor. The laws concerning the regulation and availability of independent adoptions vary by state so it is helpful to be familiar with the local laws. It is important that any adoption is carefully documented, however, it may be even more important in circumstances of a private adoption.

Additionally, an adoption through identification is somewhat of a combination of an independent adoption and an agency adoption. The adoption through identification process entails the adoptive parent identifying a child for adoption and allowing an agency to then handle the adoption process. International adoptions may also be available which may include additional complexities. Step parent adoptions and other types of adoptions involving family members may also serve as a resource to families based on their needs. The process for same-sex couple adoptions can vary so it is important to know the state laws where the adopting couple resides.

Adoption options available through the family law process help families legally and emotionally structure their families in a manner that is best for them. Because the process can be complex, it is worth it for couples and families to be familiar with their options and the process when they set out on the oftentimes exciting journey towards adoption.

Source:, "The Different Types of Adoption," Accessed Aug. 2, 2017

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