Adoption Types

There are two types of adoptions in New York State, agency adoptions and private placement adoptions. Both types are regulated by state laws and the adoption must be approved by the court before it becomes official.


Agency Adoption

These adoptions are of children who are already in the care of the state through a foster care agency or a private adoption agency.

In a foster care adoption, when a child is in the care of the state and living with foster parents, the agency will file a petition to terminate the parental rights of the child's parents so that the child can be adopted. A child's biological parents may also voluntarily give up their parental rights to a foster care agency.

In a private agency adoption, the biological parents have voluntarily given up their parental rights and have placed the child with the agency for adoption. The adoption agency will place the child with prospective adoptive parents.

Prospective adoptive parents can apply to adopt through the foster care agency or the private adoption agency. The agency will conduct a home study to investigate the prospective adoptive parents and a do background check to see whether the home is suitable for a child. The agency will certify the adoptive parents. In an agency adoption of children in foster care, the city or state will pay for the adoptive parent's attorneys.


Private Placement Adoption

Any adoption that is not an agency adoption is a private placement adoption. Usually, there is an agreement between the child's biological parents and the people who want to adopt the child. The people who want to adopt may be a stepparent or another family member.

International adoptions where a New York State resident adopts a child who was born and living in a different country is also a private placement adoption. A Petition for Registration of Foreign Adoption Order can be filed in either the Family Court or Surrogate's Court. This will allow the adoptive parents to get a New York court order that recognizes the foreign adoption and allows the parents to get a New York birth certificate from the Department of Health. A full readoption case may be necessary to satisfy immigration requirements.

Before the child is placed in the home, the court must pre-certify that the prospective adoptive parents are approved to take temporary custody of the child. This means that the court will have a licensed social worker do a home-study and investigate the adoptive parents' home and background to make sure that it is appropriate for a child.

If the court finds that the prospective adoptive parents are able to care and support the child, the court will certify them as qualified adoptive parents for up to 18 months. This pre-certification is not required in stepparent adoptions or in international adoptions where the child is already living with the adoptive parents.

After the adoptive parents are certified and the child is living with them, the adoptive parents will file a petition for adoption. The court will require that child's biological parents are consenting to the child's adoption or that the court has terminated their parental rights.


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