In the United States, there are a few pathways to adoption:
Public Agency Adoption – Facilitated by state-run agencies, these are also known as “foster care adoptions.”
Private Agency Adoption – This is what most people think about when the words “adoption agency” come to mind. These are privately owned organizations, either for-profit or non-profit, that connect children and families. Many infant adoptions and all international adoptions are facilitated through adoption agencies.
Independent Adoption – Adoptions completed without the support of an agency, generally finalized with the assistance of an adoption attorney.
Statistics recently compiled by the National Council for Adoption indicate that private agency adoptions are declining.