Domestic adoption is the transfer of child custody from one legal guardian to another within the same country of origin. In the United States, domestic adoptions usually take place through private adoption agencies or through the state agency responsible for child welfare.
The first step in domestic adoption is to apply to a private adoption agency or to the local child protective services. In most states the agency responsible for child welfare is called the Department of Child and Family Services or the Department of Social Services. Once prospective parents apply to an agency, they usually complete training classes that cover information on parenting and the unique challenges in the adoption process. The parents then undergo a home study by the agency and receive approval for adoption.
Once approved, prospective parents can view profiles of children waiting to be adopted or they can create profiles to be listed on a private agency's website for birth parents to view. Throughout the application and home study process, social workers assess the needs and desires of the adoptive parents so that they can place children in homes that are a good match.
Open adoptions are increasingly common when adopting domestically, as of 2015. An open adoption involves the adoptive parents allowing the birth family to maintain some type of connection with the child. This can include periodic visits, exchange of mail or phone calls.