Adoption is one of several permanency options. There are many avenues for adoption, and the legal procedures for these will vary by location and type (e.g., foster care, independent, intercountry, adult).

Although adoption is a legal process, it is also a social and emotional process. It can be joyful, but those involved may experience challenges such as loss, grief, and identity issues. Child welfare professionals can help children and families navigate these processes, including connecting them with supportive services before and after adoption.

Adoption provides an opportunity to connect children with permanent families and maintain connections to their birth family, culture, and community. Preserving connections can be achieved through open or kin adoption and by providing adoptive families with resources to help maintain those relationships. Adults who were adopted and do not have these connections may also want to connect with their birth families and need guidance.

Adoption is a complex, lifelong process, and families need equitable, easy access to services before and after adoption. Financial support and adoption preservation services may be available through State offices and private organizations.

Resources on this page cover both domestic and intercountry adoption. 

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