Adoption is one of the ways you can choose to bring a child into your life. If you’re considering adoption, it’s essential to research and understand what options are available to you. In the United States, potential adoptive parents can choose to seek domestic or international adoption.
Types of Adoption
Child in Foster Care
Children wind up in foster care when their birth parents cannot take care of them or have had their parental rights terminated. Foster children remain in group homes or foster care while waiting for adoption. A private or public agency can facilitate adoptions from foster care.
With a foster-to-adopt arrangement, the child is first placed in a potential parent’s home as a foster child. Part of the arrangement is an agreement that the child will eventually become available for that parent’s legal adoption.
Stepparent adoption is a formal adoption process where the stepparent legally adopts their spouse’s child while the spouse still retains their legal parental rights. Each stepparent adoption situation is unique. Some stepparents legally adopt their stepchild as soon as they marry the child’s parent, while other stepparents have raised them for years before beginning the adoption process.
Infant adoptions typically take place as soon as the baby is born. In most cases, the birth parents have already terminated their parental rights. Rather than through a traditional agency, many infant adoptions occur through a third-party professional, such as a lawyer, physician, or another professional facilitator.
Agency versus Independent Adoptions
An “agency adoption” refers to the agency that works as the intermediary between the birth parents and the potential adoptive parents.
Closed vs. Open Adoptions
In a closed adoption, the birth parents and the adoptive family do not share any identifying information, and there is no contact between the parties. Open adoptions allow the birth parents and the adoptive family to communicate openly with each other, from simply sharing medical information to allowing birth parents to remain a presence in the child’s life.
Can an Adoption Be Reversed?
It may surprise you to learn that there are some situations where a finalized adoption can be reserved. After it’s finalized, if one party wants to initiate the reversal, he or she would need to submit a petition to the family court. This is most commonly done by either the child’s birth parents or the child’s adoptive parents. If the court does opt to reverse the adoption, the child’s birth certificate will be changed to reflect what it said prior to the adoption.
Who Can Initiate an Adoption Reversal Request?
Only certain parties can initiate the reversal process. These include:
- The child’s birth parents: If a child’s birth parents are interested in regaining their parental rights and reversing an adoption, the adoptive parents would need to consent to the reversal. There are some states where even if the adoptive parents give their consent, the birth parents will not get their parental rights back.
- The child: There are several scenarios where a child may be the one who wants the adoption reversed. One of the more common reasons is the relationship with the adoptive parents is breaking down or has failed completely. Another reason a child may initiate reversal proceedings is when he or she wants to be emancipated from the adoptive parents.
- Child’s adoptive parents: It’s rare that the adoptive parents would want to reverse an adoption, but it does happen on occasion. According to an article in The Atlantic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the United States estimates that anywhere between one and five percent of the 135,000 annual finalized adoptions are reversed or dissolved.
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