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Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

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Adoption Resources


Resources on all aspects of domestic and intercountry adoption, including adoption from foster care. Includes information for prospective and adoptive parents; information about searching for birth relatives; and resources for professionals on recruiting adoptive families, preparing children and youth, supporting birth parents, and providing postadoption services.


Adoption is a lifelong, life-changing journey for all members of the adoption triad: birth parents, adopted people, and adoptive parents. Adoption, the legal transfer of parental rights from one parent to another, provides children with love, nurturance, and stability and promotes their well-being and their opportunity to become healthy, productive adults.

In the United States adoption is governed by State law, although State law must comply with overarching Federal legislation.

Adoption is essential for the permanency of many children, including:

  • Children and youth in foster care who will not be reunited with their birth parents. In many cases these children are adopted by other birth relatives.
  • Other U.S. infants and children whose birth parents make adoption plans for them. Birth mothers or fathers may or may not have ongoing contact with the adoptive family or child.
  • Children in other countries who need families. In intercountry adoptions, little or no information may be known about a child's birth family at the time of adoption.

Public agencies place foster children for adoption. Private agencies sometimes contract with the public child welfare agency to place foster children; they also may place U.S. infants, or children from other countries. In some States, facilitators (attorneys, physicians, or other intermediaries) may coordinate adoptions without an agency's involvement.

Research demonstrates that most children who are adopted thrive. With training and support, the most ordinary people have grown into their roles as adoptive parents with amazing results. These parents clearly show that adoption is one path to the love, stability, and nurturing all children need.

  • Frequently asked questions
  • Conferences
  • Training

Types of Adoption

Find information on all types of domestic and intercountry adoption, interjurisdictional placements and types of adoptive families.

The domestic adoption section includes information on foster care, kinship, domestic infant, customary (Native American), and independent/private (attorney) adoptions, as well as guardianship. The reasons children enter foster care and characteristics of children in care are also addressed.

The intercountry adoption section includes information and resources on the adoption and readoption processes, adoption from specific countries, and the Hague Convention.

  • Domestic adoption
  • Intercountry adoption
  • Interjurisdictional placement
  • Types of adoptive families
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