Most people are only aware of two types of adoption: Domestic and International, where the adoptions are closed (meaning the adoptive and birth parents are not aware of each others’ identities). But if you’re looking into adoption, you will soon realize the many choices out there – which can quickly become overwhelming! We’ve looked into the different types of adoption offered in the United States and broken down some of the most common to help you get started.

Open Adoption
is a term generally used to describe a variety of arrangements allowing for ongoing contact between members of the 'adoption triad' (adoptive family, birth family, and adopted child). The level of openness in any relationship varies widely. Degrees of open arrangements span from mediated contact, which implies letters and photographs sent through a third party (so that the adoptive family can maintain privacy), to full disclosure of the adoptive family's personal information. In fully open adoptions, there is actual physical contact, through meetings and visits between the birth family and the adoptive family. Sometimes an adoption agency may describe an adoption as 'open' when the birth-mother (and/or birth-father) may have a say or may make the actual decision on who is chosen to parent their child, though this is not the generally accepted definition.

Semi-open adoption
In a semi-open adoption, the birth parents may meet the adoptive parents one or several times and then have no more physical contact. Letters and pictures may be exchanged directly or via a third party, such as an adoption agency, throughout the years. The relationship may remain semi-open or may evolve into open or closed.

Foster care adoption
Foster care adoption is a type of domestic adoption where the child is initially placed into a foster care system and is subsequently placed for adoption. Children may be placed into foster care for a variety of reasons, including removal from the home of the birth family by a governmental agency because of maltreatment of the child by the birth family. Maltreatment can take the form of neglect or abuse. In most adoptions regarding foster children, the foster parents decide to adopt and become the legal parents.

Intra-Family Adoption
Not all adoptions are from outside of the family. An intra-family adoption occurs when a child is adopted by an existing close family member and/or his or her partner. A common example is a "step-parent adoption", where the new partner of a parent may legally adopt a child from the parent's previous relationship. Intra-family adoption can also occur through surrender, as a result of parental death, or when the birthparent cannot care for the child and a family member agrees to take over.

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Information courtesy of Wikipedia

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