When you decide to adopt a child, you have several options. You can adopt a child from another country, another state or from right here in Pennsylvania. You can have an open adoption, in which you get the opportunity to meet the birth parent(s), or a closed adoption, in which the birth parents’ identities remain unknown to you and the child you eventually adopt.
Broadly speaking, there are three main types of adoptions, categorized according to who helps you with the process of finding a child to adopt. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the options available to you depend partly on the type of adoption you choose.
1. Public adoption
In a public adoption, you work with a state-run agency that places a child in your home. In Pennsylvania, this specifically means adopting a foster child or dependent child through the Office of Children, Youth and Families.
2. Private adoption
Also known as an independent adoption, a private adoption does not involve an agency, whether a public or private one. You and the birth parents seek each other out, sometimes with the help of a third party, such as a religious leader or a doctor.
3. Private agency adoption
In addition to public agencies, there are also many private agencies that vet adoptive parents to ensure they are fit to adopt and then match them with children in need of families. Many of these agencies are affiliated with religious organizations, while some are completely secular. Almost all international adoptions take place through a private agency, but agencies can, and often do, handle domestic adoptions as well.