Adoption: A U.S. Perspective

When a person or couple considers adoption, it is important to understand the options. Adoption is a complex process, taking both time, money, and emotional investment. Because the process of adoption varies considerably throughout the world, much of the information presented here may only be applicable for those seeking adoption in the U.S. If you live outside of the U.S. some of this information may be helpful, but we also encourage you to seek out local guidelines for seeking adoption in your own country to ensure a fully informed process.

Understanding the Different Types of Adoption in the U.S.

There are 3 main types of adoption (plus an option that is not really adoption, but is another form of non-genetic parenting). Domestic infant adoption, international adoption, and adopting from foster care are the three traditional adoption options. Another option families may want to consider when thinking about non-genetic parenting is embryo donation.

The Adoption Process

The process of going through adoption is complex. Adoptive parents have to make decisions about how to go about the process, from utilizing an adoption agencies, seeking an independent adoption, or working with local public child welfare agencies to adopt older children. Regardless the route, there are other considerations, such as the legal support that is needed. The legal considerations are highly variable depending upon where the adoptive parent(s) live. It is always 

recommended that adoptive parents consider seeking legal support from an attorney who specifically specializes in adoption. Further, adoptive parents need to be mindful of potential adoption scams, as they exist to prey on those who may be vulnerable. Finally, single parent or those who identify as LGBTQ+ may have special issues to consider.

Adoption and the costs

Adoption, depending on the type you choose, can be expensive. Adding to the financial concerns, many families decide to adopt after several failed attempts at pregnancy through artificial reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), which can deplete a patient’s savings. That said, gathering enough information about the cost associated with the selected type of adoption that is desired can be helpful. Additionally, some countries such as the U.S. have tax credits available to those who adopt. There also may be grants and loans available, as well as the possibility of fundraising opportunities. A good resources on understanding the costs of the different types of adoption can be found here.

Adoptive parenting is much like all parenting—fun, challenging, and ultimately rewarding. However, adoptive parenting also requires parents to understand the impact of adoption on a child and to prepare to help explain adoption to their child.

A wonderful place to start learning more about adoption and the topics discussed above is from the organization, Creating a Family, a US based adoption and foster care education and support nonprofit. Their site offers extensive information around adoption and explores these topics in detail.

Adoption is a wonderful option for many people. While the process can be overwhelming, having as much information as possible can help decrease some of the associated anxiety.