­­The Types of Adoptions:

Domestic and International Adoptions

What are the types of adoptions and what are the primary differences between each option? There are several ways to adopt a child and all fall under either International and Domestic Adoption.

International Adoption ­

International adoptions involve children who are citizens of a foreign nation. Many American individuals and families adopt children from around the world each year. Often a family is drawn to international adoption due to concern about humanitarian conditions and opportunities for children in a specific area of the world. Othertines, the adopting family is seeking a closed adoption. Thousands of international adoption occur in the US each year. How does an international adoption process work?

One simply can’t go to a foreign country, adopt a child and then seek a visa at the local US embassy. The adopting parent(s) must be in compliance with United States immigration laws and procedures, as well as the other countries laws. The Hague convention is adopted by many countries and must be complied with in those adoptions. At this time, Moore Law for Children do not engage in International Adoptions. For families interested in international adoption, we recommend you consult with a reputable international adoption agency. We are happy to make a referral.

At Moore Law for Children, we can assist with filing two types of adoption closely related to International Adoptions: relative adoptions of an internationally-born child and US-re-adoptions.

Relative Adoption of An Internationally-Born Child

An adoption of an Internationally born child by a relative is possible when both the child and adopting relative live in the United States. A consultation with an immigration attorney is required before our attorneys will proceed as this type of adoption does not guarantee citizenship, and if not done properly, can bar citizenship in the future. We can refer you to a reputable immigration attorney for the consultation. Once we ensure the timing is appropriate in relation to you and your families goals for adoption and citizenship, we would be happy to assist you with an adoption of your internationally born relative.

US Re-Adoption – A United States re-adoption is a process occurring under US law which formalizes an international adoption that occurred outside of the United State and it’s territories and allows the child to receive a United States birth certificate. At Moore Law for Children, we often assist families with this process.

Domestic Adoptions – All other adoptions in the United States are called Domestic Adoption.   There are many different types of domestic adoption. Moore Law for Children provides legal services and counseling for all types of domestic adoptions.

Adult Adoption – Adult adoptions are between two people who are at least ten years of age apart and who wish to formalize a “parent-child” relationship, and to create inheritance rights. Adult adoptions are often contemplated by stepparents who wish to formally adopt an adult stepchild, but there does not need to be a step-parent relationship. In some cases for example, an adult adoption can actually be the result of an adopted child who reconnects with their own family of origin or even an unrelated adult who wants to legalize the parent child relationship they feel towards an individual who has fulfilled the position of parent in their lives.

Agency Adoption – Agencies licensed by the state can match and facilitate adoptions. Historically, agency adoptions were closed (private and confidential) and the agency selected the adopting family. However, it has become the preferred trend for agency adoptions to be more open and the birth parent selects the adopting parents from a profile with photos and written text about themselves.

Independent Open Adoption – In an independent adoption, attorneys rather than an agency facilitates the match and adoption. In an open adoption, the birth parent(s) know the identity of and in some cases may have contact with the adopting family. In California, the law requires that the adopting parent and birth parent know each other’s identities. Most adoptions today are therefore considered to be “open” adoptions where the birth mother participates in the selection of the family who will adopt her child and there is an agreement for some contact between the birth mother and the adopted child going forward. Some birth parents may wish to remain in contact with their child including visits, while others may simply opt for cards or emails from the adopting family containing updates and pictures periodically. Ongoing contact is optional and on a case by case basis.

Independent Closed Adoption – In California, an independent closed adoption is through attorneys rather than an agency, and closed simply means there will be no further contact between the birth parents and the adoptive parents after the adoption is completed. California law does not provide for “closed” adoptions in the sense there is complete anonymity, because under California law the birth parents will be provided the adopting parents’ identities and vice versa.

Interstate Adoption

Interstate adoptions involve California parents or individuals who are adopting an out-of-state child or an out-of-state family or individual adopting a California child. Interstate adoptions are generally governed by the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children or ICPC. The ICPC is an agreement between all US states which governs the interstate placement of adopted children.

Generally speaking, interstate adoptions require extensive paperwork. The state of the child’s present residence and the state in which the adopting individual or family reside must approve the adoption. Moore Law for Children works with the ICPC Administrator for California and the other State coordinates all paperwork between required for ICPC for a speedy and seamless approval for the child to go home with the adopting family.

In most newborn cases, the adoptive family must remain in the US state where the child was born for 10 to 14 days (occasionally as few as 5). Each state and adoption is different.

We ensure all steps required by the ICPC and California law are fulfilled so the adopting family or individual may bring the child home to their own native state as soon as possible.

Foster Adoption – A foster adoption occurs when foster parents or other relatives or adults wish to adopt a child who is in the foster care system after the biological parents’ rights have been terminated by the Court.

Stepparent Adoption – A stepparent adoption occurs when the child’s custodial parent remarries and his or her spouse (the stepparent) wishes to formalize the relationship between the stepparent and the stepchild. The child’s non-custodial, biological parent must relinquish parental rights or they may be terminated by the Court for a variety of reasons.

Contact an Experienced Orange County Adoption Attorney

Knowledge is peace of mind. Talking with our team provides insight, options and peace of mind. If you are considering adoption, we invite you to review the recommendations of our former clients and contact Moore Law for Children and call (949) 336-7711 for a complimentary consultation.

If are pregnant and considering an adoption plan for your unborn child, we are here to help answer your questions, provide access to the resources you will need, and support you with sound counsel and support through this life-changing journey. And there is absolutely no cost to you for legal representation in making or exploring an adoption plan as the costs are covered by the chosen adopting family. Find out more here.


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