"Public" and "Private" Adoptions?

Public adoptions are those that are conducted by state child welfare agencies and comprise about 40% of all U.S. adoptions. "Private" adoptions are those that are conducted either by private agencies (30%) or independently by individuals (30%). National Council for Adoption, 1986.

Many of the children available for adoption in the state child welfare system are older children and/or children with special needs. However, the state child welfare systems also have healthy minority or biracial infants available for adoption. Relatives, mainly stepparents, initiate approximately half of all domestic adoptions.

The other half of all domestic adoptions are unrelated adoptions of healthy infants under the age of two. The majority of healthy, Caucasian infants are adopted through private agencies.