Types of Agencies

An "agency adoption" is allowed in many states, and includes adoption through a local public agency or a licensed private agency. Many states also allow a couple to use an attorney or other intermediary; some states allow the use of adoption facilitators. Adoption laws vary from one state to the next. An adoption across state lines must comply with the laws in both states before the child can be adopted. The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children governs how children can be placed across state lines in every state.

Agency adoptions offer the most assurance of monitoring and oversight since agencies are required to be licensed and follow certain procedures. A couple who chooses an independent adoption by an attorney at least is assured that the attorney must follow the standards of the Bar Association; some attorneys who specialize in adoption are members of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, a professional membership organization with standards of ethical practice. Adoptions by facilitators are the riskiest since they involve the least amount of supervision.

Open Adoption Not so long ago, almost all U.S. adoptions were anonymous, but today many couples prefer open adoption. In an open adoption, there is an exchange of information and contact between the birth and adoptive parents. This is becoming more popular because keeping adoption a secret from an adopted child is generally not a good idea.

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