There are risks and benefits to any kind of adoption, and international adoption is only one option available. Domestic adoption is the traditional way to adopt a child. To adopt a child domestically, you have to go through an adoption agency, put your name on the list, and wait. In an open adoption, the birth parents have a say in who adopts their child, and the two sets of parents meet as part of the adoption process. This is now an acceptable and common procedure, and the measure of openness after the adoption is final depends on the agency and both sets of parents. The more traditional closed adoption, where there is no contact at all, is still a possibility but much less common and with a longer waiting period.
Private, or independent, adoptions do not go through an adoption agency, and in some states they are not legal. An adoption attorney handles the paperwork, and checks the validity of each case. Private adoptions widen the search options for parents, and it is possible to find a birth mother by various networking methods. This may be a risky choice, as sometimes the independent adoption arrangements fall through; for example if the birth mother has second thoughts.
Another option is to adopt a child from the foster care system. This kind of adoption also goes through an agency. Children from the foster care system are often older children, or children with special needs who are waiting for adoption. This might mean that they have disabilities that may require special care and attention. Children from minority groups or children with siblings are also in the foster care system. These children are all waiting for a permanent home, and adopting them is a viable alternative to international adoption.