The types of adoption are (1) domestic agency adoption, (2) domestic independent (non-agency) adoption, and (3) intercountry adoption. Within domestic agency adoptions, the subcategories are public agency adoption and private agency adoption. While intercountry adoption can be either agency adoption or independent adoption, it is useful to keep it as a separate category since it is unique in many ways.
From a legal point of view, every case must be either an agency adoption or an independent (non-agency) adoption. What makes a case one or the other is the way in which the parental rights pass from the birth parents to the adoptive parents. In an agency case, there are two steps. First, the birth parents’ rights are relinquished to an agency. Second, the agency consents to an adoption by a particular adoptive parent or parents. In an independent adoption, there is only one step. The birth parents give consent directly to a particular adoptive parent or parents.
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