An adoption ends the birth parents’ rights and responsibilities in regard to the child in question, and transfers them to the adoptive parents. There are three types according to adoption law:

1. Open adoption: The adopted child has access to his or her adoption file or birth parents, and the two sets of parents have access to each other. These relationships can be made as strong as the people involved would like them to be. About half the states allow open adoption contact agreements.
2. Semi-open adoption: The birth parents can meet the adoptive parents. There can be ongoing communication through a third party like an adoption agency.
3. Closed adoption: No contact takes place between the two sets of parents after the adoption is finalized, either because a court order is protecting the child from abusive birth parents or because the parents want it that way

There are three adoption methods:
1. Agency adoptions
2. Independent adoptions: No agency is involved. The two sets of parents work out the arrangement, and an adoption lawyer completes the paperwork for them. The only states which do not allow independent adoptions are Connecticut, Delaware and Massachusetts.
3. Identified adoptions: The two sets of parents make an initial agreement and then ask an adoption agency to complete the adoption process.

Basically anyone, single or married, can potentially adopt a child. All states consider “the best interests of the child” and they all have varying requirements as to the child’s age, legal status, and residency. Some agencies have requirements that are stricter than the state laws. Legal advice is enormously valuable in piloting you through the specific requirements of your state (and agency, if you have one). Please contact our adoption attorneys today for a free consultation and assessment of your situation.