An Introduction to Adoption

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Adoption is a legal process where one becomes the parent of a child for whom they are not the biological parent. There are a few different adoption mechanisms, including agency, foster care, foster to adopt, international adoption, and through an attorney.

  • Agency adoption: Adoptive parents meet with a private organization that helps with the process. The adoptive parents go through a home study where factors such as finances and mental health are assessed.
  • Foster care: Different from adoption as its main goal is reunification of the child with the birth parents. However, there are cases where reunification is not possible and adoption is the end result. Foster care involves a similar process as agency adoption, where there is a home study, CPR classes, and continuing education requirements.
  • Foster to adopt: The initial goal is for adoption and not reunification.
  • International adoption: A child is adopted to live in a country different from their home country. This involves issues such as following the Hague Convention guidelines, acquiring citizenship for the adopted child, cultural/language training, medical exams, etc. 
  • It is also possible to adopt directly or through an attorney without the involvement of a public or private social services agency via a legal agreement between the birth and adopting families.

Adoption is an uncertain process that can be emotional for many people. Adoption may also be very expensive. There may be governmental resources or grants available, and some employers may also offer financial support.

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This project is sponsored by Myriad Genetics.

Master List

Check out our X-linked condition master list.

To date, there have been hundreds of X-linked conditions identified—many of them only affecting a few people around the world. While all X-linked conditions are caused by mutations on the X chromosome, each condition is different and has a unique set of symptoms.

Genetic Counselor

Find a genetic counselor for additional advice.

Genetic counselors are healthcare professionals who help individuals and families understand how genetic information impacts their lives. A genetic counselor can provide the most relevant information about each family planning option and answer your questions.

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