Frequently Asked Questions

We have listed below several of the most frequently asked questions related to domestic and international adoption. There are many other questions not addressed on this list that will be answered as you read the information on this website and the other websites we have suggested you visit.

Questions and Answers

Where can I find a list of licensed adoption agencies?

In each state there is an adoption office or adoption contact person that can provide you with a list of licensed agencies. Visit adoption agencies for a list of all of the agencies licensed in your state.

Will desiring a closed adoption limit our ability to adopt?

It may  limit you a little, but it is not an overwhelming issue. An open adoption is when the family and birth parents know last names, addresses, and phone numbers. A closed adoption is when that identifying information is not exchanged. It is that simple and has nothing to do with sharing pictures, update, or even meeting each other if it goes through the agency.  Some agencies only conduct open adoptions while others, like our adoption agency, assist in both open and closed adoptions.

Must we work with an adoption agency located in our state?

You can work with any adoption agency but several states have laws that are very restrictive. Finding the one adoption agency that meets your needs and desires is an important early step. Agencies come in a variety of forms. This source of information can provide you with licensed agencies in your state.

Can you help us understand the different types of adoption?

Yes, while the most common type of adoption is a step-parent adoption, that is not what most what people usually ask us about. The primary types are agency adoption and private adoption, open adoption and closed adoption, domestic adoption and international adoption, and intrastate and interstate adoption. See each link for more details.

Can we placing ads ourselves for a birth mother?

Some adoption persons have had success in placing an ad in newspapers or magazines.  It can be costly and may end up causing much frustration and grief.  By placing an ad you will most likely be engaging in a private adoption, which can be very risky. Some states' laws prevent you from placing these ads and some states control the costs of advertising.  Make sure to check these links and consult your state adoption expert before you decide to advertise.

Can I use an adoption facilitator instead of an agency?

Yes, you can use a facilitator although in many states they are not legal. Using an adoption facilitator can result in terrible problems, so much so that the U.S. government has warned adopting persons as well as birth mothers and birth fathers to avoid adoption facilitators.

Do I need to hire an attorney to assist in a domestic adoption?

It depends on the specifics of your adoption and on your level of comfort. You can certainly hire your own attorney, but one is frequently not needed. A private attorney is needed if you have decided to adopt without the help of an agency. This site can help you find an experienced attorney approved by the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.

What are the popular foreign countries for adoption?

Currently, the most popular countries for adopting a child are first China and then Russia. Children from many other countries are also available for adoption.  After doing research, you will have to decide what type of child and from what country you wish to adopt.

Our funds are limited, will we still be able to adopt a child?

Having limited financial resources does not mean you cannot adopt, it just limits some of your options. In a domestic adoption, fees that you are required to pay can be almost nothing if you adopt through your state foster care program, but adoption through other sources average from a few thousand dollars to in excess of $60,000.  International adoption expenses, depending on the agency and country involved, average from about $15,000-$40,000. Nearly all States and U.S. territories have enacted statutes that provide some regulation of the fees and expenses that adoptive parents are expected to pay when arranging an adoptive placement.

Where can we get financial help for a child adoption?

Resources to help defray adoption costs for many types of adoptions are available through state grants, loans, employer benefits, adoption tax credits, and federal adoption subsidies.  You will have to check out each source to see if you qualify. Visit the links financial help and adoption help for families for additional information.

How do we get our adopted child a Social Security number?

You can always contact your adoption agency, accountant or adoption attorney who can help you get an temporary Tax ID number. Or you can do it yourself by visiting this website link.

How common is it for a birth mother to ask for the child back?

When this happens, adoption professionals use the word disruption or dissolution. Disruptions can and do happen, but typically not years later as related in the press. The amount of time a birth parent has to change their mind is controlled by the laws of each state. Studies throughout the U.S. are consistent in reporting disruption rates that range from about 10 to 25 percent. The rate is affected by each State's adoption law and often by the culture in which the birth mother and birth father live. You should ask your adoption agency how they handle disruptions.

Is my employer obligated to give me leave after we adopt?

The answer depends in part on who your employer is and the conditions of your employment. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires that an employer grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for several reasons, one being the placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care. The key here is the word eligible. Please see this site for details.

Where can we find an adoption therapist for our child?

Major adjustment problems for either the adopting persons or the child are not the rule, but they are also not uncommon. If the problems persist, you need a counselor or psychologist who is experienced in both therapy and adoption. Visit the links therapy, more therapy, and Psychologist Anytime for help in finding an experienced adoption therapist to help you and your child.

As a single, can I adopt either domestically or internationally?

Yes, you can adopt a child either domestically or internationally, but the ease will depend on other variables including your sex.  A single  female will usually have a much easier time than a single male, but that just means a single male may have to do a little more searching for the right agency and right situation.

What is an adoption registry?

An adoption registry is a resource of information, usually maintained by a county or state, that can help unite an adoptee with his/her birth mother and/or birth father. Many states have an adoption registry and, if your state has one, it may be found at this site.

We are a gay couple.  Can we still adopt a child?

Usually a gay couple or gay individual has a more difficult time adopting a child than a straight person or couple, but a domestic adoption is possible. While gay persons have been able to adopt internationally, foreign countries have become much more restrictive and now, almost without exception, international adoption is not a viable option for a gay person or gay couple.

How do I get copies of our adopted child's medical records?

Medical information and some biographical information should be provided by your adoption agency or adoption attorney.  Access to birth records and adoption records may be limited by the laws of the state of the birth mother and birth father and by the state where the adoption is finalized. Information on the above link and on this link may help an adopting family and/or adoptee in achieving access to vital records.

Should we consider adopting a child of a different race?

You should certainly consider it, but whether it is a good decision for you is a decision only you and your partner can make.  Just like the adoption of a special needs child, the adoption of a child from another culture or race (transracial adoption) has implications that you should address before you make a final decision.

Where can we find resources within our state of residence?

Many sources of information and help are available at both the State level and Federal level to provide you with information. Each state has a state adoption contact and a state controlled adoption program, usually within the State Welfare or State Human Services department.

What laws related to adoption do we need to know?

There is an entire website, Adoption Laws, devoted to this question.  The shortest answer is that for a domestic adoption you need to know the laws terminating the birth mother's and birth father's rights, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and the Indian Child Welfare Act.  In an international adoption it will soon be necessary for all families to comply with the Hague Convention.  Your adoption agency or attorney can help you to understand the impact of these laws.

Do we have to comply with the Interstate Compact Act?

If your adoption involves more than one state, the answer is a strong yes. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is statutory law in all states and a binding contract between member jurisdictions. It controls the movement of any adoptive child placed across a state line for the purpose of adoption. Under no circumstances should you not comply.  Your adoption agency or adoption attorney should help you understand the implications of this law.


Our adoption agency is licensed in multiple states and is able to help a birth mother and birth father in all 50 states as well as those living in foreign countries. Since its founding in 1985, our programs have worked with literally thousands of birth parents from all over the world and our overall satisfaction rating by birth parents has been excellent.


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