Many people do not realize just how many types of adoption there really are. Often the various types are confused, mixed-up or unknown. In this post I will discuss the many different types of adoption including: Domestic Adoption, International Adoption, Foster Care Adoption, Direct Placement Adoption and Embryo Adoption.
Domestic Adoption (sometimes referred to as local adoption) is the adoption of a newborn infant. This route typically involves a pregnant birth mother who chooses the adoptive family herself and places the child with the family immediately after birth. In Canada, the family is matched with a birth mother in their local province, and there is a 6 month waiting period after the child is placed, before the adoption is final.
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Domestic adoption can cost anywhere from $10,000 up to $30,000 depending on your agency, the wait time, and the needs of the birth mother. Wait times with domestic adoption can waiver drastically. Some families are chosen within days of being on the active list, others wait years, and still some are never chosen. This route entirely relies on the birth mother choosing the adoptive family, therefore there are many unknowns. Often children through domestic adoption do not have special needs, though it is still a risk factor and often unknown.
International Adoption (sometimes referred to as Inter country Adoption) is the adoption of a child from a country outside of your own. Common countries where adoptions are facilitated include: South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia, China, Haiti, India, Japan, United States, Vietnam, Thailand, Bulgaria and Ukraine. International adoptions are typically of children 1 years old or older, and involve an orphanage or government agency matching the adoptive parent to a waiting child. Sometimes the adoption is finalized in the country of origin, and sometimes it is finalized upon return to Canada.
International Adoptions can cost anywhere from $15,000 up to $80,000 depending on which country you choose. Typically your local agency charges you a set price to facilitate the paper work, home study and procedures, then the country you adopt from charges another set price. Each country set’s their own fees which goes toward legal fees, translation, orphanage fees, government fees and the care of the child. Each country also has their own process involving wait times to be matched, travel required, and the types of special needs. Some countries have separate special needs programs which can shorten the wait time or decrease the cost.
Travel for international adoption usually involves one or two trips to get to know the child and complete important documents. Some visits last one week, some two weeks, and some a month. Zambia, in particular, requires a residency period before the adoption, which can be 6 months or more. Most children through international adoption have some level of special needs, ranging from attachment issues, trauma issues all the way to severe physical disabilities. Some countries consider children older than 6 or children in sibling groups as children with special needs. It is very important to be aware that all children adopted internationally are going to require a different approach to parenting, with lots of patience and understanding. To find out more, read my posts on attachment or special needs.
There is one exception with International Adoption, and that is adopting out of the United States. Generally, adoption from the United States looks more like a domestic adoption. Birth mothers choose the adoptive family and children are placed right at birth. Unlike Canada, however, the need is much greater in the United States and most families are matched within 18 months. It is also, however, one of the most expensive programs, costing roughly $80,000.
Foster Care Adoption
Foster Care Adoption (sometimes referred to as Ministry adoptions or Waiting Child adoptions) is the adoption of a child who is currently residing in a foster home. In Canada there are more than 70,000 children in foster care, with more than 30,000 of them waiting for adoption. In most cases you can only adopt a child from your own province. Adoptions through foster care are facilitated through local government agencies and do not have any fees. Some charges may arise for completing doctors forms or travel if you are matched to a child in a different city than where you reside, but there are no associated legal or adoption fees.
Generally in foster care the primary goal is to first reunite a child to their family. Due to this work, most children available for adoption are 2 years old or older. This is not to say younger children are not available, but it is less common and usually has specific circumstances surrounding the situation. Many kids in foster care also have special needs. Often they are moved from foster home to foster home, which leaves them struggling with attachment issues. It is important to be well trained on the attachment behaviors that may exist in order to be appropriately prepared to parent your new child. Wait times to adopt out of foster care usually take from one month to two years. The wait time is drastically affected by how open to special needs you are and your age range. The younger and healthier the child requested, the longer the wait time.
Direct Placement Adoption
Direct placement adoption is the adoption of a child known to you. This can apply to several different situations. If you are a step-parent wanting to adopt your step child, if you are wanting to adopt a relative, or if you know a woman who is pregnant and she is wanting to place her child with you for adoption, then these are all direct placement adoptions. These adoptions must be done through a private licensed adoption agency. Typically these adoptions run cheaper, roughly $15,000-$20,000, and there are no waiting times to be matched. Training and a home study is still required, but once those are complete, the child can be placed in your home.
Special needs can vary drastically with direct placement adoptions, as each situation is so different. It is important to speak with those involved on the risks and medical history before you proceed.
Embryo adoption is the adoption of an embryo (fertilized egg), which is then placed in the adoptive mother’s uterus where she carries it until birth. Embryo adoption is a unique experience where the adoptive parent is also the birth parent, and the donor is referred to as the biological parent. These adoptions are newer to Canada but are also done through a private, licensed adoption agency. Most embryo’s are from the United States. A home study is still required and you wait for a family to choose you. The need is huge for embryo adoptions, however, so the matching period is usually not long.
Embryo adoption exists when a woman freezes her embryo’s (usually during her own in vitro process), and there are still embryo’s left over. Rather than leaving the embryo’s frozen, donated to science or to be destroyed, this process makes it possible for the child to be born.
If you want to find out 7 important things to know to start the adoption process, click here.
If you have more questions about the various types of adoption, don’t hesitate to contact me!
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[…] Each route of adoption has specific requirements, costs, wait times, children available, and travel required. To find out more about the different types of adoption, read my blog post entitled What Types of Adoption Are There? […]