Domestic Adoption

Pros and cons of adopting domestically

Domestic adoption is the practice of adopting a child who was born in the same country in which you reside. In both American adoption and Canadian adoption practices, you can choose public or private domestic services or agencies. In most cases, the only major difference between using a public and a private service is that wait times tend to be shorter with a private domestic adoption agency. Otherwise, the parental application and legal procedures are pretty much identical.

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As with private adoption and open adoption, there are pros and cons you need to consider when dealing with a public or a private agency. Adopting a child is a major responsibility, and you need to absorb and consider all the available information before proceeding in one direction or another.

Advantages of Public Domestic Adoption

While specific practices vary between jurisdictions in North America, there are some common elements to domestic adoption across virtually all public agencies. First, public agency fees are low, if you must pay them at all. At a Canadian adoption agency, for example, prospective parents do not have to pay the agency any fees for the placement, but are responsible for meeting home study costs and parenting course tuitions.

Another advantage of public domestic adoption is that many agencies allow for some contact to continue between the adopted child and his or her siblings and birth family, if desired. National adoption agencies also support the transition of older children into new homes.

Disadvantages of Public Domestic Adoption

There are some disadvantages to dealing with domestic adoption agencies. One major drawback is that there is no guarantee that the child you want will end up being placed with you. Public adoption agencies serve the interests of the child, not the parents, and will always place the child in the situation they feel is best for him or her.

Wait times with public agencies can be extremely long, lasting years and years in some cases, without any assurance that a placement will ever be made. Private agencies are recommended if you want to avoid this wait time, but you will have to pay agency fees which can total thousands of dollars. However, you'll also face fewer bureaucratic delays by dealing with private agencies.

You must also accept that many children waiting to be placed with new parents through public domestic adoption agencies come from difficult backgrounds and may have been emotionally, psychologically, physically or sexually abused. Developmental delays and medical conditions such as fetal alcohol syndrome are relatively common in infants and children in the foster care and public adoption systems, and such conditions may not manifest until the child gets older. This is a risk you have to assume as a prospective parent of a domestically adopted child.