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Where do I start?, pg 2

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So, you've decided that adoption might be the right option for you and you may have some questions about what types of adoption exist, what type of contact will be available or what type of professional to use.

There are three types of adoptions: Closed, Semi-Open and Open. Each one is different and unique and offers a different level of communication between adopting parents and placing parents both before and after placement has taken place.

Closed Adoption:

Often, there is very little to no interaction between adopting parents and placing parents in closed adoption. Although many agencies do encourage placing parents to participate in choosing the adopting parents for their child, closed adoption may or may not involve this step. Normally, closed adoption means that both placing and adopting parents have no information about each other, beyond basic medical and familial information which will assist in the proper parenting of the child, post placement.

Semi-Open Adoption:

Much like closed adoption with regard to the exchange of identifying information, semi-open adoption usually doesn't include any face to face contact, although its possible to have some face to face contact during the matching process. Most semi-open adoptions consist of letters and photos exchanged at regular intervals which may or may not taper off as the child gets older. Usually, those involved in semi-open adoption utilize the services of their agency in order to exchange photos and letters. If the agency can't or is unwilling to provide this service, adopting parents may choose to open a Post Office Box in order to send and receive letters and pictures. It is also perfectly acceptable for birth parents to use a P.O. Box to communicate, should two way communication be desired. Often, the terms of the semi-open adoption contact is identified and outlined prior to placement and your desires for contact should be used when considering potential adoptive parents for your child.

Semi-open adoption may or may not be a legally binding agreement in your state. Educating yourself on the laws of your state is important when considering semi-open adoption.

Open Adoption:

As the name says, open adoption is the most open of all adoption types available. However, the level of openness can be different and unique with each and every situation. Most often, open adoption includes face to face visits both pre-placement as well as post-placement. Identifying information, such as names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers are usually exchanged and it's not uncommon for adopting and placing parents to have spent time together both before and after placement occurs. Like semi-open adoption, the terms of the contact post-placement should be considered when finding a family to parent your child. Matching with a couple that has the same idea of open adoption as you helps to ensure that the terms of the post-placement contact agreement will be easy to create and follow.

Open adoption may or may not be a legally binding agreement in your state. Educating yourself on the laws of your state is important when considering open adoption.

Each type of adoption has its benefits and much will depend on your personal situation. If you choose open or semi-open adoption, it is important to remember that you are making a life long commitment to your child. There may be times when contact becomes difficult, so make sure you've got a support network in place to help you deal with the issues you may face later.

How do I place my child for adoption?

There are a number of adoption professionals who can assist you in making an adoption plan. Again, the laws in your state will govern who you can and can not work with. Currently, all fifty states allow children to be placed using a licensed child placing agency, often referred to as an adoption agency. Contacting an adoption agency or adoption attorney in your area to find out more about what is and isn't allowed should be your first step. Once you've discovered what is allowed by law, you can then make a better decision regarding the professional you decide to use.

Some questions to ask the professionals you're interviewing when finding the right match are:

- Will I get counseling during my pregnancy as well as after I consent to the adoption? How long are those services available to me?

- Will the child's father also be provided service, such as counseling, both before and after placement?

Additionally, with the advent of the internet, there are a number of resources online that allow you to browse profiles of potential adoptive parents. This allows you to explore some of the potential options available to you, should you decide to place. It also allows you to be more in control of the adoption process, by allowing you to go at your own pace. Couples featured on ParentProfiles.com (a service of Adoption Profiles L.L.C.) are already approved and ready to adopt, so you can be sure that you're working with someone who is fully committed to becoming a parent.

As you can see, your options when it comes to the type of adoption you chose as well as the professional you choose you use are many. Armed with information, you should be able to make an informed decision that works best for you and your family.

If your child is a child of color, there may be some special considerations you'll need to make. Read more about placing a child of color.
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