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Prospective parents often choose domestic over international adoption because they:
- Want a child from their culture and ethnicity
- Want a newborn
- Have access to the birthmother’s and baby’s medical records and prenatal medical care is more readily available than in poorer nations
- Have the option for open or semi-open adoption
Today, most birthmothers (and sometimes birthfathers) select adoptive parents based on information in the adoption agency’s portfolio. In addition to age, race and ethnicity, prospective parent profiles include a brief biography of the couple/individual, their reasons for wanting a baby, plus family photographs.
The birthmother chooses several profiles that she most likes and the agency arranges a meeting between them. Afterward, each party decides if it feels like a good match. This is called a semi-open adoption, because the birth- and adoptive parents meet but don’t disclose their full identities. Whether and how often they meet after the adoption depends on the desires of both. Most do not meet after the birth, but exchange letters and email via the adoption agency.
The downside of domestic adoptions:
- An expectant mother can change her mind. Depending on the child’s birth state, the birthmother has a legal window ranging from one day to 30 days after the birth to sign the relinquishment consent forms.
- The birthfather might not be involved, and therefore little may be known known about his social and medical background.
Domestic adoptions can take many forms: agency, private/independent (attorney), and public agency (e.g., state/county child welfare programs, with foster-to-adoption options).
Domestic adoption costs range from $10,000 to $40,000. Most state/county/province child welfare agencies charge very little or no fees for adoptions, however, the children are usually older, from toddlers to 14 years.
Adoption agencies must be licensed; call or research online your state/county department of social services or children’s services to find licensed agencies in your state. You can also work with out-of-state agencies.