The route of adoption may not always be the easy one, but when you are prepped with all the information you need to succeed, hopefully it’ll be a little easier. Today we want to talk to you about the difference between Domestic Infant Adoption and Foster Adoption.

Domestic Infant Adoption

Domestic infant adoption is the adoption of a child, usually an infant, who has voluntarily been placed for adoption by their birth parents. The birth parents review potential adoptive families and select the adoptive family for her child. Sometimes the birth mother chooses not to select the family and asks the agency to select the family for her. We call this agency select.

Foster Adoption

Also known as state adoption, this is the adoption of a child in the foster system because the State has terminated the rights of their biological parents.

We must make an important note here. The goal of foster care isn’t adoption. It is to find a way to reunite the children with their biological family. However, this isn’t possible for some children because their biological parent’s rights have been terminated by the State. These are referred to as waiting children and they will be matched with an adoptive family.

Significant Differences Between Both Types Of Adoption

Child’s Age

Most domestic private adoptions are newborn babies. Typically, the adoption takes place right at the hospital as soon as the baby is born. While adopting an infant isn’t impossible in a foster adoption, it is a rare occurrence. The median age for foster adoptions is eight years. There are almost 13,000 children in the foster care system between the ages of 15 – 17. As I mentioned earlier, the goal of foster care is to reunite these children with their families. With this being said, the parent must be absolutely unfit to have the child, and the parent must have shown this repeatedly. As a former foster kiddo myself, the fact that these foster to adopt situations take so long, often leaving children stuck in a system without stability and permanency–ooofff it boils my blood and breaks my heart.


Foster adoptions are the least expensive type of adoptions. This is because the children are considered wards of the State, and all of the steps involved in the adoption process have been handled already. Private adoptions require several specialists and professional services, which adds to its overall costs. Generally, adoptive families might need to spend anything between $30,000 – $70,000. These costs are not fixed and may vary for each adoption. However, that’s the price range most families spend in the adoption process.

Wait Time

The wait times in both types of adoption vary depending on several variables. In foster adoption, families looking to adopt might wait several months. The biological parents are given several opportunities to reunite with the children before their parental rights are terminated. However, if the adoptive parents decide to adopt a waiting child, the wait time reduces significantly. Private adoptions usually require wait times of about ten months or less. Although, within the last 12-18 months these wait times have increased significantly.

Birth Parent Relationship

Studies show that in 80% of private adoptions, the adoptive family has ongoing interaction with the adopted child’s birth parents. The reverse is almost always the case with foster adoptions, where families won’t interact with the adopted child’s biological parents. However, this isn’t the case, and it might vary for each child. Most adoptive parents using foster adoption often have contact with the birth parents while the system tries to reunify them with their child.

Emotional Challenges

Any adoption is an emotional journey with unique highs and lows. However, foster adoptions present some distinct challenges once the adoption process is concluded. Most adoptive parents are left disappointed when their adopted ward is reunified with their birth parents. Also, adoptive parents who opt for foster adoption might find that the child has a history of trauma, neglect, or abuse. This presents severe emotional challenges for the adoptive parents. For this reason, adoptive parents looking to use foster adoption must undergo special training to help them understand the effect of trauma and help the children heal.

When it comes to adopting a child, there is no right or wrong way to do it. Both private adoption and foster adoption are great options, and it requires serious deliberation to make a decision. However, if you are in Washington and have decided to opt for a private adoption, please reach out to us on (321) 355- 2010. We’re a reputable adoption agency, and we would love to hear from you. We are here for you.

Visit our website here or call us at (321) 355-2010. You can also send us an email us at We look forward to hearing from you.