Adoption: Where Do I Start?: Step 3: Explore Your Options/Select an Agency

This information was taken directly from Child Welfare Information Gateway

Step 3: Explore Your Options/Select an Agency

What You Should Know

Families wishing to adopt have many options. The following is one way to think about how choices in adoption may flow from one another:

Where will our family’s child come from? (Domestic or intercountry adoption?)

If we adopt domestically, what type of adoption is best for our family? (Public agency, licensed private agency, independent, or facilitated/unlicensed agency adoption?)

If we choose intercountry adoption, what country will our child come from? (Hague Convention or non-Hague Convention country?)

The way you choose to adopt will depend on the characteristics of the child you wish to adopt, how long you are willing to wait for your child, and other concerns.

  • If you choose to adopt a child from another country, you will need to know whether the country from which you plan to adopt is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. Countries that are parties to the Hague Convention have specific requirements for the adoption process, including the home study, parent training and eligibility, applicable forms, and more. The mission of the Hague Convention is to safeguard the children and parents involved in the adoption process.

  • The U.S. Department of State website lists countries that are parties to the Hague Convention:
  • Information Gateway’s factsheet Intercountry Adoption From Hague Convention and Non-Hague Convention Countries provides more information on this topic:

Some Places to Go

For more information, see the Information Gateway factsheet Adoption Options:

Continue to Adoption: Where Do I Start? Step 4: Complete a Home Study


Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at