What are the differences between private adoption and public adoption (adopting through foster care)?

Let's explore the differences between private adoption and foster-to-adopt or adopting through foster care.

Foster care adoption vs. private adoption

Private Adoption (Domestic Infant Adoption)

Private adoption occurs when a biological family relinquishes their parental rights, meaning the child needs to be permanently placed in the care of another family.
PairTree is the Adoption Enablement Platform helping families navigate private adoption as healthily as possible. To learn more about the process, click here.

Public Adoption (Foster-To-Adopt, Foster Care Adoption)

Foster care is a protective service to children and their families when families can no longer care for their children. In foster care, the hope is that children are provided with a safe, nurturing, loving family for a temporary period of time. Foster-to-adopt is a somewhat misleading term. It can happen, but the overarching goal of foster care is to reunify the child with their biological family. To learn more about the process of foster care click here.

In some cases, there are children who are in foster care whose biological parents have already relinquished their parental rights. These situations are often referred to as legally-free children or children whose parental rights have already been relinquished. Depending on the state, these children may be able to be adopted privately.