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Types of Adoption in Colorado

Colorado laws define several different types of adoption. The more you know about each type, the easier it will be to choose the one that best suits your needs. Adoption is a complex area of law in Colorado. Before you make your decision, speak to a professional for more in-depth information.

Types of adoptions in Colorado

Domestic Infant

Adopting a child one-year-old or younger in the United States is a domestic infant adoption. The child will have been born in the U.S. Domestic infant adoption can work either by a pregnant mother searching through adoption profiles and choosing the right match to adopt her baby or through foster care adoption.

Waiting Child

Waiting child adoption, or foster care adoption, is the adoption of a child who is in the foster care system. Currently, almost 450,000 children are in the foster care system in the United States. More than half (56%) of these children hope to reunite with their families. The other 44% are up for adoption. Waiting child adoption typically works by an adoptive family searching through profiles of children up for adoption in foster care and choosing the right fit, then going through an in-home foster period before adoption.


International adoption is the placement of a child from outside the U.S. with a family in the U.S. International adoptions occur when the child’s home country cannot care for him or her. The processes for international adoptions vary widely depending on the country’s individual laws. The U.S. also requires all intercountry adoptions to follow specific procedures. These may include getting approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, obtaining a visa for the child, and finalizing the adoption in the States.

Open vs. Closed Adoption

Open adoption is one in which the birth parent(s) may continue to make contact with the adopted child. In a closed adoption, the birth parents legally may not make any contact with the child once a judge finalizes the adoption. Both types have advantages and disadvantages. Each adoption is unique. What is best for your family depends on the circumstances and the relationship between all parties.

Stepparent Adoption

Stepparent adoption occurs when one person legally adopts his or her spouse’s biological child. A stepparent may wish to complete the official adoption process for personal and/or legal reasons. In most cases, the custodial and noncustodial parents must both sign off and consent to a stepparent adoption. If the noncustodial parent does not consent to the adoption, it may halt the process.


Kinship adoption involves a relative adopting the child. For example, an older sibling may choose to legally adopt a younger sibling. In other cases, an aunt, uncle or grandparent may choose kinship adoption. The child’s biological parents generally need to consent. In most kinship adoptions, the child first goes into the foster care system before becoming available for adoption.


Independent adoption is a private domestic adoption that does not go through an adoption agency. Instead of using an agency, the adoptive parents will depend on an adoption attorney, home-study provider, intermediary, counselor and other professionals to complete the adoption process. Most independent adoptions occur when the mother already knows the adoptive family.

Public vs. Private Agency

No matter which type of adoption you choose in Colorado, you will also have to decide whether to work with a private or public agency (unless you go with an independent adoption). Public agency adoption, also called fostering to adopt, involves first fostering the child before adoption. This type of adoption can have an element of uncertainty, as the biological parent may try to regain parental rights. The wait for a public agency adoption can range from one to five years. Public adoption is cheaper than private adoption, however, since the state funds most expenses.

A private agency adoption (independent voluntary placement) goes through a privately owned adoption agency. The agency will work with adoptive parents to help them prepare for adoption and create a profile to send to mothers looking to give their children up for adoption. It is more common to adopt newborns through private agencies than public agencies. Discuss which type of adoption is right for you with a family law attorney in Denver, CO.