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
- 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
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
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
- Domestic adoption
- Intercountry adoption
- Interjurisdictional placement
- Types of adoptive families
For Prospective Adoptive Parents
Information on how to adopt, types of adoption, the home study process,
financial assistance, laws and policies, characteristics of children who wait
for families, issues unique to various types of families, and information
useful both before and after a child is placed in your family.
- How to adopt
- The adoption home study process
- Funding adoption
- Legal considerations for prospective adoptive parents