What is Domestic Adoption?

by | Feb 13, 2024 | Adoptive Families Blog

Lifetime adoptive parents Chris and Rianna kiss their newborn babyAs you begin to look into adoption, you may have questions about the benefits of domestic adoption. Your questions may arise closely after one of your most significant choices: adopting within the U.S. or internationally.

A common misunderstanding is that there are no babies available for adoption in the U.S. The truth is there are thousands of infants placed for adoption within our country every year. According to the U.S. Children’s Bureau, an agency run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of children available for adoption has remained high. In addition, their findings suggest that the amount of children available to adopt has remained fairly steady for at least a decade.

With domestic adoption today, you can have a transparent adoption process and be able to connect with birth parents. Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of domestic adoption!

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Benefits of Domestic Adoption

The most important benefit of domestic adoption is that it creates the opportunity for open adoption. With open adoption, birth mothers have a say in who adopts their baby as well as the amount of communication they’d like after the adoption. After the adoption placement happens, birth parents can get updates on their child through letters, emails, photos, or phone calls. Sometimes, the adoptive parents, birth parents, and the child visit a few times a year.

After you match with a birth mother, you’ll discuss what level of communication works best for all of you. Open adoption allows your child to grow up with many people who love them!

Also, in choosing domestic adoption, you can benefit from an open adoption relationship that wouldn’t be available with international adoption. In domestic adoption, there’s no mystery about who your child’s birth parents are and why they chose adoption.

This is not always the case with international adoptions.

One adoptive mother who adopted her child internationally shares about her experience.

“I wish that I had more information to share with my daughter about her story and her birth mother like adoptive parents do in domestic open adoptions,” she says.

“We have very little info,” she continues, “other than her birth mother loved her a lot because she chose to give her life. She hid her pregnancy and fought against having an abortion, which authorities in China would sometimes force women to have.”

The circumstances of this particular adoption are quite dramatic.

“Our daughter was found in front of an orphanage gate with a red piece of paper that had her lunar birthday and Western birthday listed,” the adoptive mom shares. “How do we explain it’s a loving choice to abandon your baby? It’s difficult for a child to understand.”

Questions About Adoption

You’re not alone if you’ve been looking for answers about adoption on Google. Many hopeful adoptive parents turn to their favorite search engine to learn more about how they can expand their family through domestic adoption.
Among many other questions, people wonder what is domestic adoption, how much it costs to adopt, what happens if the birth mother changes her mind, and how long the process takes. Check out the most common questions hopeful adoptive parents ask Google about domestic adoption, along with answers from our adoption experts!

How much does adoption cost?

The costs of a domestic adoption vary and are based on many different factors.
The average cost of an adoption can range from $5,000 to $70,000, although it can be much less costly. In other words, adoption does not have to be cost-prohibitive; you don’t have to be a wealthy family to adopt a child.
You can learn more about adoption costs in this article: Adoption Financing: How to Afford Adoption.

How do birth mothers choose adoptive parents?

Each birth mother has the opportunity to choose the family she feels will raise her child with love and care. Potential birth mothers look at the websites, photos, and videos about adoptive families before they decide. They may talk on the phone or even meet in person to get to know each other.

How do agencies screen hopeful adoptive parents?

Adoption professionals screen families in several ways, but a home study is always involved. A home study consists of a check to ensure your home is safe, as well as a criminal, medical, and financial background check. The screening process also confirms the family is genuinely committed to adoption.

Can you adopt if you already have children?

Yes! In fact, many adoptive parents already have children when they begin looking into adoption. Some birth mothers even prefer families that already have children so that their baby will have siblings growing up.

Can an agency guarantee I will adopt a baby?

While an adoption professional cannot guarantee that you will end up with a baby, it can ensure that you will be represented well to potential birth families.
Lifetime guarantees that it will expose our hopeful adoptive parents to more birth parents than most organizations. In addition, each adoptive couple can expect numerous qualified support staff members working to meet their adoption needs. With our program, there is never a need to wonder if someone is working on your behalf. We have live staff 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for birth parents and emergencies.

How long does the adoption process take?

Every adoption is different. While some adoptive families and birth parents have had a birth mother choose them within 24 hours of beginning the process, some may be waiting for longer than a year.
With modern adoption, the birth mother chooses the adoptive parents for her baby. Various factors affect this, including your adoption preferences and how long it takes to finish your home study and online profile. For this reason, we cannot speculate how long it will take until a birth mother chooses you.

Can I choose my baby’s gender?

Some families may have preferences for a boy or girl; however, birth mothers may not choose families with gender preferences. In fact, many potential birth mothers do not know the sex of the baby, and even those who do know understand that sonograms are not entirely accurate.
Families with preferences for a male or female may be better off choosing a waiting child rather than waiting for a newborn. You may experience a much longer wait to be chosen by a birth parent with more specifics you require for your child. We encourage those interested in a specific gender to consider the adoption of a waiting child where the gender is already known.

What if the birth mother changes her mind?

In some cases, a birth mother may change her mind and reclaim her baby. We offer birth families counseling to help prevent heartaches and disappointments, and Lifetime has an unbelievably low reclaim rate of around 3 to 4%.
If adoptive parents experience a fall-through, Lifetime’s adoption professionals will continue to help them find a successful match. While failed adoptions are uncommon at Lifetime, because of how our program supports each side of the adoption match, it’s good to understand why a birth mother might change her mind and what happens if she does.

Lifetime’s Experience and Success

Since 1986, Lifetime Adoption has worked with families nationwide. We are at the forefront of adoption services, including the fact that we were the first adoption agency of its kind to launch an online platform to help people adopt.

Of those adopted children, about 92% are newborns. The rest consists of children between the ages of 6 months and 7 years old.

Long story short: Our adoption program remains highly successful at matching expectant mothers with adoptive families. Our adoption programs result in about 12 adoptions every month.

Thus, as the U.S. Children’s Bureau reports and our own internal statistics prove, there is plenty of opportunity for adoptive families seeking children to adopt.

Choosing adoption and working with the adoption professionals at Lifetime means we will keep you informed at every step with info about the birth family.

Benefits of Domestic Adoption for Adoptive Parents

There are many benefits to a domestic, open adoption for you, the adoptive parents, too! You’ll have access to your child’s medical history if needed. And we’ve found that open adoption helps birth mothers become more confident in their decision to place.

Most importantly, an open adoption will benefit your child. They’ll know why their birth parents chose adoption. Your child can also rest secure in the knowledge that their adoptive family was hand-picked to provide them stability.

You can see how a domestic, open adoption really benefits everyone involved.

Wondering what it’s like to adopt domestically with Lifetime Adoption? Tune into our Adoption Story Webinars and hear from adoptive families who successfully adopted in the U.S.

Beyond that, we remain steadfast in our commitment to helping families like yours connect with birth mothers and get started on adoption plans. If you have any questions whatsoever about the benefits of domestic adoption — or any other questions or concerns — please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We can assist you and find answers to lots of common questions regarding adoption wait times, home studies, adoption laws, and so much more. We look forward to speaking with you.

Wondering what a domestic adoption journey is like with Lifetime? Tune into our Adoption Story Webinars and hear from adoptive families who successfully adopted in the US!

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on October 16, 2017, and has since been updated. 

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).

Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.

“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!

Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.

I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.

It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”

Read More About Mardie Caldwell

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