Types of Adoption
Agency Adoption - An agency adoption utilizes a licensed agency, which links children in need of adoption to prospective parents. The adoption agency generally handles all the paperwork and may or may not supervise the care of the biological mother. These types of adoptions usually have very long waiting lists and can be very expensive.
Equitable Adoption - Allowed in some states, equitable adoption is when a close relationship like that of parent and child exists between a child and an unrelated adult. Often, the adult had agreed or intended to adopt the child but had not done so officially. In equitable adoptions, the parent(s) must support the child and may be ordered to pay child support if the adult and child no longer live together.
Open Adoption - The adoptive parents let the biological parent(s) have some contact with the child, such as through letters or periodic visits.
Relative Adoptions - These are the most common adoptions where a stepparent adopts a child from the spouse's previous partner. Grandparents can also qualify for relative adoptions, and this is most common where the parents die and the grandparent adopts the grandchild.
Second Parent Adoption - One where a lesbian or gay man adopts his or her biological child, or where a lesbian mother is inseminated and the other parent adopts the child as a second parent. Second parent adoptions are recognized in 20 states, though a handful of states expressly prohibit them.
Private Adoptions - Adoptions where where the prospective parents actually adopt straight from the mother. Prospective parents actually seek out the mothers though doctors, attorney, word-of-mouth, or even advertising. This type of adoption is usually much quicker and less expensive than an agency adoption. Most states allow adoptive parents to pay the biological mother's medical expenses during pregnancy. But it is against the law to pay someone to give up her child.
Guardianship - A legally binding, permanent supervisory relationship between an adult (or adults) and a child. A guardian may be a relative or may be unrelated to the child, and the parental rights of the child's parents may or may not have been terminated. Guardianship is a court process. A judge gives someone custody of the child or the right to control the child's property, or both. To become a guardian, one must file a petition and a court has to approve it. Guardianship can be either temporary or permanent.