As a prospective adoptive parent, you have many options available to you, including the type of adoption you want to pursue. Comparing and contrasting private adoption and foster care adoption will help you determine which option is right for your family.

Private adoption, or domestic infant adoption, is the adoption of a child, usually an infant, who is voluntarily placed for adoption by his or her birth parents. Foster care adoption, or state adoption, is the adoption of a child in the foster system whose biological parents’ rights have been terminated by the State.

There are many variables involved in adoption, and every adoption is different. However, there are some general similarities and differences to consider when comparing domestic infant adoption vs. foster care adoption.

Similarities

Whether you choose to pursue domestic infant adoption or adopt through the Arizona foster care system, both forms of adoption connect hopeful parents to children who need loving, permanent homes, and both allow you to become parents with full, legal rights to your child. In addition, there are some similarities in the legal adoption process and qualifications for adoptive parents:

  • Legal Process: While the steps of the legal process are often different, both forms of adoption involve the transfer of custody and parental rights from one parent to another. In all cases, an attorney is required to legally finalize the adoption. Learn more about the legal services involved both in foster care adoptions and domestic infant adoptions on our website.
  • Home Study: Every adoptive parent, regardless of the form of adoption they choose, must complete an Arizona home study. The home study evaluates prospective adoptive parents and any adult member of the adoptive parents’ homes to determine whether the placement is in the best interests of the child to be adopted.
Differences

As you consider the type of adoption that is best for your family, there are many significant differences to take into account. Private adoptions and state adoptions can vary widely in factors such as cost, wait time and more.

  • Cost: Adopting through the state foster system is often the least expensive form of adoption, while private adoptions involve many services and specialists, increasing overall costs. There are very few expenses associated with foster care adoptions other than home study fees, and in some cases, families who adopt through the state may even receive a stipend.
  • Wait Time: In both types of adoption, there are many variables that can impact a family’s wait time. The primary goal of the foster system is family reunification, and a child’s birth parents are often given multiple opportunities to work toward reunification before their parental rights are terminated. As a result, families who choose foster-to-adopt face long wait times until finalizing an adoption.   Private adoption generally have a shorter wait time than families who choose foster to adopt. However, if a family chooses to adopt a waiting child, one who’s parents’ parental rights have already been terminated, the wait time decreases.
  • Birth Parent Relationship: In more than 90 percent of private adoptions, the adoptive family maintains some sort of relationship with the child’s birth parents. The circumstances vary for children adopted from foster care, but closed adoptions are much more common through the foster system.
  • Emotional Challenges: Every adoption is an emotional journey with many ups and downs, but foster care adoptions may present some unique challenges during and after the process. Parents who are fostering to adopt may be disappointed if the child is reunified with his or her biological family, especially if the foster parents have had months or even years to bond with the child. Additionally, parents who are able to adopt from the foster system may find themselves raising a child with a history of abuse, neglect or other trauma, which can present emotional challenges for the child as well as the parents.

As a hopeful adoptive parent, it is up to you to carefully consider all of these factors when deciding what type of adoption is best for your family. Contact us today for more information about adopting through domestic adoption or foster care.