Adoptions through private or public social services agencies operate differently, but both work toward the same goal. Private agencies are usually run by charities and generally place children who are being surrendered to them by biological parents. Public agencies are run by the state and generally place children who are in foster care or have become wards of the state.
An open adoption takes place when the adoptive parents and birth parents connect with each other directly or through an intermediary. Either the adopting parents find a willing birth mother and begin the adoption process or the pregnant woman finds a family herself that she would like to adopt her child. The parties know who the natural and adoptive parents are and their identities are not sealed. Oftentimes, some form of periodic contact with or information about the child is provided to the natural parent who has otherwise surrendered their parental rights.
Adoptions can also be arranged with or without an agency’s help, but require the legal work to be completed by an attorney. In an open adoption, the birth mother knows who will be adopting the child. The two parties either meet or make contact via phone or letter before the actual adoption takes place. Adoptions of children from another state require compliance with the Interstate Compact. No child should be transferred over state lines without an attorney’s advice and full compliance with these laws.
Unlike domestic adoptions, international adoptions involve a child who is a citizen of another country. In these cases it is important to have legal guidance regarding the strict immigration requirements for adopting a child from a foreign country. International adoptions are commonly made from China, Korea, Russia, Eastern Europe, Central and South America, and India.
Relative, Grandparent and Stepparent Adoption
Most relative adoptions are grandparent adoptions or adoptions by stepparents, although aunts, uncles, cousins or other relatives may also adopt a child who is a member of their family. With these types of adoptions, the birth mother generally feels confident that the child will be safe and loved by the family member.
Second Parent Adoption
New York State recognizes the right for unmarried or same-sex couples to adopt absent another legal or biological tie to the child. Second parent adoption is a legal proceeding that allows the “second parent” to assume the same rights and responsibilities of the “first” (legal or biological) parent.
Birth Parent Rights
If you are thinking about giving your child up for adoption, it is important to know what rights you have during the process. There are rights to legal counsel and psychological counseling.
Conversely, if you are considering adopting a child, it is equally as essential for you to know what your rights are, as well as understand those of the birth mother and father. All adoptive parents will have to undergo a criminal background check and a home study to ensure their fitness and that of their home.
Birth parents have the right to access information relating to the adoption process, from start to finish. This includes knowing exactly what they are giving up when terminating their parental rights, as well as what their rights are should they change their mind. An experienced adoption attorney can provide this information as well as explain and answer any questions birth parents have along the way.