The numerous venues for adoption can be overwhelming for people just starting to consider adopting. We’re here to help.

The first step when considering adoption is to learn which types of adoption placements are allowed in your state. Since laws where you live govern your options, read up on your area’s policies by searching for your state here.

Once you know which options are available to you, the next step is determining how you’d like to adopt a child. We broke down the various ways you can adopt through agencies and adopt independently to help you determine which adoption process is right for your family.

Agency Adoptions

Of your adoption process options, agency adoptions provide the greatest assurance of monitoring and oversight since agencies are required to adhere to licensing and procedural standards. Here are your options from Parents Magazine:

Choosing a Private Adoption Agency

Who it’s for: Families interested in adopting internationally. Private agencies includes both domestic and international programs.

The cost: Private agencies handle both domestic and international adoptions. You will need to decide which kind of child you want to join your family. Fees charged by private adoption agencies range from $5,000 to more than $30,000 for both domestic and international adoptions.

Make sure you ask any agency you might work with what its fees are and what the schedule is for paying them. You should also ask what services are and are not covered by the fees. Most will allow you to pay fees in installments due at particular points during the adoption process. If the fee policy is clear from the beginning, any misunderstandings about payment will be less likely.

Getting started: To obtain the names of local private agencies, you can search the National Foster Care & Adoption Directory by state here provided by Child Welfare Information Gateway. Check with your state adoption specialist, the Better Business Bureau near the agency, and

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