Are you thinking about adoption? Confused about the different kinds of adoption?

We know: 1-Minute Lesson on Adoption Terms

There are many different kinds of adoptions which are possible through many different types of agencies, groups and individuals. Here are some basic definitions for terms used in adoption.

1. What does the term 'Public Adoption Agency' mean?

A public agency usually refers to an agency run by the state or county that is responsible for placing children from foster care or institutional settings with adoptive families. These are usually part of government departments, such as the Department of Social Services, or the Department of Family Services.

2. What does the term 'Private Adoption Agency' mean?

These are usually non-profit or profit-making groups that are licensed to handle adoptions. The are funded by fees and donations, not by tax revenue. They may place new-borns, older children, foster children or children from other countries.

3. What does 'Independent Adoption' mean?

An adoption carried out through a lawyer or physician or someone other than a licensed agency who helps pair the birth mother with an adoptive family is called an independent adoption. These are legal in some states but not others.

4. What's an 'International Adoption?'

These adoptions involve children who were not born in the United States.

5. What does 'Open Adoption' mean?

In open adoptions, the birth and adoptive parents meet or know the names and addresses of each other. The child may communicate with or even visit the birth parents.

6. What does 'Semi-Open Adoption' mean?

In a semi-open adoption, names and addresses of parents are not exchanged and communication between the adoptive and birth parents takes place through another party, usually an adoption agency.

7. What is a 'Closed Adoption'?

In this case, the birth and adoptive parents have no identifying information about one another and do not communicate. After adoption, the records are usually sealed.

8. What is 'Foster-Adopt Placement?'

Before a birth parent's rights have been legally terminated, a child may be placed with a potential adoptive family, so that it is a foster placement situation. But once the legal rights of the birth parent have ended officially, then the child is considered adopted.

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