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Understanding the different types of adoption

The process of adopting a child is not as cloaked in mystery as it once was, and birth mothers and adoptive families alike have more options now than ever before when it comes to the adoption process. Understanding the different types of adoptions can help you better understand which one is right for your family.

As far as location, there are generally local or international adoptions. While international adoptions can be a way for parents to help a child in need, it's important to understand that these types of adoptions can be especially difficult and drawn out. Because other countries also have different cultural standards, international adoptions may be more difficult for single parents or same-sex couples.

If you are interested in a domestic adoption, there are three general methods: adopting through a public agency, adopting through a private agency or an independent adoption. Public agency adoptions may be better for same-sex parents because many states have laws protecting them from discrimination, but the final decision is still always left to a judge and what he or she interprets as the best interests of the child.

Private agencies are able to set their own qualifications for what they will accept in adoptive parents. This means that older parents, single parents or those from nontraditional families may have an easier time with the adoption process if they do their research to find a compatible agency.

As the name indicates, independent adoptions are conducted through a third-party who is not part of an adoption agency. One example of this would be a family friend who could not keep the baby and wanted the child to go to a family she was familiar with or who would allow an open adoption.

Source: FindLaw, "Adoption and Same-Sex Couples: Types of Adoption," accessed July 23, 2015

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