Domestic Adoption

Domestic adoption is a process in which individuals adopt a child living with the same country in which they reside. While domestic adoption rates have been in decline since the 1970s, they still account for 25,000 to 30,000 of adoption cases in the United States, 19 000 more than cases of international adoption in the United States.

The Process of Domestic Adoption

The goal of domestic adoption is to ensure a good overall match between the adoptive parents and the child.

Parents seeking to adopt must first select a domestic adoption agency; there are a variety of both private and public domestic adoption agencies throughout the United States. Asking friends and family who have adopted for a referral is an excellent way in which to select the right agency for your needs. Some adoption agencies even offer classes that can help you educate yourself about the adoption process.

Once an agency has been selected, interviews with one and both parents will be conducted; a home study will also be performed. In addition, a criminal check and fingerprinting will also be conducted and the couple’s medical history will be reviewed.

Matching between the adoptive parents and the child will be conducted based on location, financial situation, ethnicity and religion, a process in which the birth parents are increasingly involved.

Following a successful placement, a follow-up will be conducted in order to ensure that the parents and child constitute a good match.

Eligibility Requirements for Domestic Adoption

The requirements for adoptive parents with regard to domestic adoption vary from state to state; however, there has been in recent years a trend towards open adoption, in which both the birth parents and adoptive parents are increasingly involved.

Generally however, there are certain limitations on individuals seeking to adopt. For example, individuals under 25 years of age and over 45 years of age generally face a longer wait when it comes to adopting a child domestically. In addition, potential adoptive parents with smaller families are usually given preference over those who have several children. If the potential parents would like to adopt a newborn, there are certain state requirements with regard to how soon after birth adoption can occur, which varies from state to state.

There are four main areas of criteria for individuals interested in domestic adoption:

  • legal: legal policies with regard to domestic adoption are different in each state; for example, with regard to whether an individual that is not a resident of a certain state can adopt a child from that state
  • preferred agency: adoption agency laws exist with regard to the type of financial resources available in order to assist adoptive parents
  • criteria sought by birth parents: this can include factors such as ethnicity, age and religion
  • self-imposed criteria: potential adoptive parents often have certain preferences with regard to the child’s age as well as limitations such as their financial situation


The cost of domestic adoption varies according to state as well as whether extensive travel is involved.

As such, domestic adoption costs range from $4,000 to $10,000.

Domestic versus International Adoption

Compared to international adoption, domestic adoption is a less expensive process, because it does not generally involve costly travel expenses or the acquisition of expensive foreign documents.

In addition, domestic adoption is more suitable to individuals who would like to adopt a newborn, as international adoption usually involves the adoption of a older child living in an orphanage.

However, the criterion with regard to domestic adoption is more selective, because children adopted internationally are generally in more disadvantaged situations.

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