Adoptive parents may choose from two main types of adoptions in the United States – domestic adoption and international adoption. The following describes each and explains their differences.

Domestic adoption describes an adoption that involves adoptive parents and a child who are all citizens and residents of the United States.

International adoption refers to adoptive parents from the United States adopting a child from another country.

In addition, the birth family and the adoptive parents may choose either a closed adoption or open adoption:


Closed adoption [confidential adoption]. In these adoptions, the birth family and the adoptive family do not share any identifying information about each other nor communicate with each other, either before or after the placement of the child. The adoptive family will receive non-identifying health and other background information about the child and the birth family before placement. The birth parents may also receive non-identifying information about the adoptive parents. The adoption files will be sealed after the adoption, and typically are not available to the adopted child.

Open adoption [cooperative adoption]. This type of adoption allows for some form of association between the birth family, adoptee, and adoptive parents. This can range from picture and letter sharing, to phone calls, contact through an intermediary, or open contact among the parties themselves. Many adoptions of older children and teens are at least partially open, since the children may know identifying or contact information about members of their birth families, or may want to stay in touch with siblings placed separately.

Who can adopt?

An adoptive parent must be:

  • A single adult or married couple
  • Age 19 or older
  • A citizen of the United States
  • Financially stable
  • Physically capable of parenting

Adoption is an important and personal decision for you and your family. We want to make sure you have the answers you need so you can make clear, informed decisions. Contact us by phone at 256.859.4481 or email us at info@agapecares.org for more information or with your specific questions.