Agency Adoption: In every state, a child may be placed with prospective adoptive parents by a public agency responsible for adoptions or by a private agency licensed by the state. The children placed by these agencies have either been voluntarily surrendered to the agency by their parents or they have been placed by the court, following a termination of parental rights. Some states do not require a private agency to he be licensed by the state, as long as it follow the required standards. Many states allow agencies licensed outside of their state to place children in their state.
Independent or Private Adoptions: All states, with the exception of Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts, allow "nonagency" (also referred to as "private" or "independant") placements of children for adoption. One type of private adoption allowed in almost every state is the "direct placement" of a child by the biological parent with adoptive parents. Several states have detailed statutory regulation of direct placements, in order to protect the birth parents and the child. Another type of private placement involves a third-party, who serves as an agent either to the biological or adoptive parents. This person is most often an attorney, doctor, or clergyman who brings the biological parents and the adoptive parents together.