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How adoption placements may happen

Birth parents, legal guardians and guardians ad litem generally all may have the right to place a child for adoption. Tennessee is one of 46 states that allows private adoptions. Also known as "independent adoption", this is a process that cuts out the adoption agency and may involve directly placing a child with an adoptive family. Four states require a parent to get permission from a court or the Department of Social Services to make a private placement.

Agency adoptions may done with the assistance of public or private agencies. A few states require child-placing agencies to meet certain state standards or to possess certain licenses, or the state's Departments of Human or Social Services must make adoptive placements.

Tennessee, like many states, allows the use of an adoption intermediary although there are a number of regulations that must be followed. There is also an Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children that includes all the states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. It is set up to assist children who are being adopted by out-of-state parents and requires the child's home state to send a packet to the parents' state. The parents' state will then perform home visits and other necessary tasks and make the decision to approve or deny the adoption.

Adoption can be a complex process with a number of different elements to it. For example, a stepparent might want to adopt a stepchild. Birth parents may lose their parental rights to a child, and family members may want to adopt the child instead of having the child go into the foster system. An attorney may be able to assist a family that is interested either in adoption or in placing a child for adoption in the right home.

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