Frequently Asked Adoption Questions
How Adoption Works
Adoption is a life-changing decision. It brings with it the soul-searching, rewards, challenges, and personal growth that accompany a major life event. See my page on How Adoption Works for more information.
What is the difference between an open and closed adoption?
In a closed adoption, or traditional adoption, there is no contact between the birth parents and the adoptive family. An open adoption, or cooperative adoption, allows for contact based on the agreement of the birth parents and the adoptive family. Some families exchange annual pictures or letters. Other families visit with birth parents and/or birth siblings with some regularity. Your attorney can work with you to develop a Post-Adoption Contact Agreement based upon your family’s desires.
What is the difference between a private adoption agency and a public adoption agency?
Private adoption agencies typically focus on matching expectant mothers with adoptive families. The child is placed with the prospective adoptive family at birth or shortly thereafter. In Tennessee, the Department of Children’s Services is the public adoption agency for children in foster care. These children have been removed from their legal parents due to abuse or neglect.
What role does a private adoption agency serve?
Both birth parents and adoptive parents work with private adoption agencies to identify a match. We recommend that you explore multiple agencies and obtain as much information as you can to make sure it is a good fit for you. Prior to signing a contract with an agency, your attorney can review the documents, ensure that you fully understand the meaning, and make recommendations.
What is a special needs adoption?
In Tennessee, a special needs adoption involves a child that would likely remain in foster care if adoption assistance payments are not provided. The State makes this determination based on specific factors such as age, membership in a sibling group, ethnicity, or disability.
How do I choose an adoption agency?
It’s important to meet with an attorney to help you develop a list of questions so you are able to choose an adoption agency that meets the needs of your family. See our blog post: How do I choose an adoption agency?
Common Adoption Terms
ICWA – Indian Child Welfare Act
IP – Intended Parent