How the US Government Helps with Adoptions
Most people are only vaguely familiar with how adoption works in the United States. Over the years, the information surrounding adoption and its social aspects have increased, but a specific understanding of US adoption is still scarce.
In this guide, we'll discuss the types of adoption and the role of the state department of children and family adoptions in the process.
How Prevalent Is Adoption in the US?
Nearly five million American citizens are adoptees. Although that only makes up 2% of the country's total population, every six in 10 Americans have experienced adoption, whether through someone in the community, their family, or friends.
Adoptions in America are split into two categories: closed and open. Closed adoptions occur when the birth parents have no contact with each other or with the adoptive family after giving up their child.
On the other hand, open adoptions happen when the birth parent chooses to maintain contact with the adoptive family.
What Types of Adoptions Are There?
There are five types of adoptions in the United States: domestic infant, international, private agency, independent, and relative.
· Domestic infant adoptions are when a child is adopted through an American agency from within the US.
· International adoptions take place when foreign-born children are brought to the US for permanent adoptive custody.
· A private agency adoption takes place when a child is placed by an independent, non-profit, or state agency.
· The relative adoption process involves adopting a family member's child. With this method, the child is placed by a private agency or state department of social services.
· Lastly, independent adoptions are handled without the supervision of an agency or any other type of organization. Private adoptions can take place in many ways, such as through attorneys, hospitals and medical clinics, and even on special websites.
In the case of private adoption, the attorney plays a huge role in ensuring that the parental rights of the child's birth parents are terminated.
Why Parents Choose Adoption in the US?
There are many reasons people choose to adopt children in the US.
· Infertility: One of the primary motivators is infertility. Some couples who are struggling to conceive a child turn to adoption as a way to build their family.
· Sense of Calling: Some families adopt because they feel called to do so. They may have a great love for children and want to provide homes for orphans or children who are in need.
· Personal History: Often, adoptees tend to adopt children of their own to create a sense of family continuity. They may also feel a need to compensate for not having been raised in a traditional family setting.
· Convenience: Some couples choose adoption because it is more convenient than other methods of building their families, such as through sperm or egg donation.
How Does the US Government Help with Adoptions?
The Department of Children and Families, along with the Child Welfare Information Gateway, provides a wide array of resources for parents who want to adopt.
This page has links to resources about finding an adoption agency, requirements for adoption, choices in adoption, adoption by family type, and cost of adoption.
On a federal scale,The Multiethnic Placement Act and Transracial Adoption, a law enacted in 1994, prohibits child welfare agencies from denying or delaying adoptive placements and foster care placements for children due to their color, race, national origin, or prospective parents.
Moreover, the federal government gives adopting parents a break in the form of income tax credit valued at$10,160 for adoption expenses. The credit is applicable to all allowable expenses, including attorney fees, court costs, agency fees, medical expenses for birth mothers, etc.
The federal government also has adoption incentive awards for adoptive parents.
As for the state government, you can find resources for state laws on domestic adoption here.
How to Adopt in the US?
Once you have made the decision to adopt a child in the US, you can contact an adoption agency. The agency will further guide you on the adoption process from start to finish.
If you have any queries, you can head over to the Children's Bureau's website. The entity supports research, monitoring, and programs to eliminate barriers to adoption for children.