There are different types of adoptions and a variety of situations in which couples can adopt.


  • • Foreign Adoption: Adopting children from other countries is State and Federally regulated through the INS. Single or married couples can adopt internationally through an agency or privately. Once the adoption is formalized the child receives a U.S. birth certificate. The birth certificate avoids possible immigration problems that could crop up in the future.

  • • Private Adoption: Adoptive parents arrange the adoption directly with the biological mother without going through an agency.
  • • Agency Adoption: Public or private adoption agencies place children with families.
  • • Stepparent Adoption: After a divorce, a new spouse adopts the child with a previous parent.

  • • Inter-family Adoption: Through inability to care for the child, divorce, death or other causes, children may be adopted by other family members – aunts, uncles, grandparents or brothers and sisters.

  • • Open Adoption: The adoptive parents and biological parents know each other and remain in communication after the adoption.
  • • Closed Adoption: The adoptive parents and biological parents don’t know each other and there is no contact after adoption.


Unless children have been taken away from the parents by reason of neglect or abuse, biological parent or parents must give up their parental rights and consent to the adoption in order for adoption to take place. There are two exceptions, however, where only one birth parent’s consent is needed:


  • • If the other parent fails to support and communicate with the child
  • • If the other parent has been given notice of adoption and fails to respond


If a child being adopted is 12 years or older, under California law, he or she must also consent to the adoption. Also, one married partner can’t adopt a child without the consent of the other partner.


In a stepparent or inter-family adoption, at times, persuading a biological parent to give up parental rights becomes difficult. There may also be difficulty in locating an absent parent. In challenging situations such as these, hiring an attorney to assist you in adoption can prove to be a wise decision. Law firms have private investigators at their disposal who can locate absent parents. Many attorneys with expert negotiating skills are also effective in convincing biological parents that the child would benefit from a stepparent or inter-family adoption.