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Adoption in an Agency State

Even though I was adopted as a baby, I was raised knowing little to nothing about adoption itself. The application process, the various costs and requirements, and the emotional investment involved through it all. As I joined my family in the late 1980s, rules regarding whether or not to talk about adoption and let your children know of their origin had different regulations from that of today’s more openly communicated ways. So, that could’ve had something to do with it. Asking about adoption with my adoptive parents came with many hang-ups, too. It wasn’t until I met my birth mother in 2009 that I learned much of where I came from.

Then, in June 2018, I began an internship with Adoption Choices Inc. via Virginia Frank, and the world of adoption opened up even further. Now past my internship and a regular member of the Adoption Choices staff, I’ve learned so much of the ins and outs of the adoption process and want to share some important information. I feel that understanding the deep-seeded aspects of adoption greatly helps lessen the stress and anxiety that tends to coincide with everything related to the process and details therein.

What is an “Agency State”?

When considering adoption, one of the many “first things” you’ll undoubtedly run into is determining what type of adoption is best for you. Whether domestic, international or foster care. Public or private. Open or closed. The list goes on.

For couples and/or individuals seeking to adopt in Nevada, it’s imperative to note that Nevada is known as an “Agency State.” Despite usually being a wealth of information, the Internet doesn’t yield a lot of clear or good sources on this subject. So, what does this term mean? Basically, in order to either adopt a child or have your rights relinquished, both the birth parents and adoptive parents must use a licensed adoption agency. This is to ensure that everyone is kept accountable, protected and secured within all parties’ best interests — especially the child being adopted.

With Adoption Choices of Nevada, both the Las Vegas and Reno offices are licensed by the state, and closely adhere to state regulations. We have been assisting birth parents, adoptive parents and children since 2002, and will gladly answer any and all questions you have regarding adoption. Orientations to learn more about the process, wait times and fees are confidential and available free of charge. Our trained and talented staff of adoption professionals are always happy to help in any way we can.

How Agency States Affect Adoption

Always be sure to consult with your chosen adoption agency and lawyer to make sure to procure the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding adoption in Agency States as some laws may have slight variations.

Typically, the adoption laws in every state will require prospective parents to complete a pre-adoption assessment known as a home study. It is a very involved process, but everything is in line with state law and ensures that the prospective adoptive parents are the best fit for the adoptee in mind, and that their home is a stable environment.

Adoption Choices of Nevada may release the results of the home study with another licensed adoption agency, attorney or district court judge for adoption finalization — but only with the written permission of the adoptive parents. Without this, everything within the home study is held confidential according to Nevada state law and no copies of the results are allowed.

Our seasoned and experienced caseworkers and professionals at Adoption Choices of Nevada are non-judgmental and compassionate. We understand that the home study process may seem daunting or stressful, and want to ensure that you obtain the most positive and educational outcome possible.

Adoption Rights in Nevada

The great state of Nevada allows the adoption of both adults and children. Any adult individual or married couple over the age of 21, who are at least ten years older than the adoptee, are allowed the opportunity to file a petition to adopt. Same sex couples who are registered as either domestic partners, singles or married are also legally able to adopt in Nevada.

Adoptions can be obtained through domestic, international and foster care. Nevada state law also permits independent and, of course, agency adoptions. More specific details per each agency or type of adoption can be discussed via your selected adoption agency or lawyer.

To adopt a child in Nevada, the child must be over the age of 14, as gaining their consent is essential. Written consent must be provided via the child’s biological parents unless they are deceased, verified insane or their rights previously terminated. A birth mother must not submit this written consent outside 72 hours following the adoptee’s birth.

Adoption of the child severs all ties to their biological family unless otherwise court-ordered. Per Nevada state law, any agreement between the biological parents and adoptive parents is null and void, unless specifically stated in the decree of adoption.

In regards to adult adoptions, Nevada adoption laws require that any adult individual may adopt younger than himself or herself, expect when the adopting person is the spouse. No consent is needed from a parent, third parent or agency for the adoption of an adult — with the exception of both married spouses of the adopting and adopted parties.

Agencies in an Agency State

Not only do adoption agencies need to be licensed by the state in an Agency State, but they must also qualify as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Annually, files and documentation are reviewed by government officials to make sure that the agency is in compliance with current state adoption laws. Each and every birth parent counselor must be licensed social workers by the Board of Social Workers in Nevada. All are bound to the ethics and rulings of that Board, and they are required to be well-versed in all Federal and State laws, regulations and subtleties of adoption.

In an Agency State, adoption attorneys makes sure that all parental rights, including that of the birth father, are handled in a professional and legal manner. If, for whatever reason, an adoptive family is not in your state, the adoption agency is responsible to provide all document necessary to the local and receiving state through the ICPC (Interstate Company for the Placement of Children), which is a federally mandated process.

It is important to note that adoption attorneys within an Agency State are permitted to assist in step parent and kinship adoptions, but they may not complete private adoptions. Also, if you are working with a facilitator or matching agency from a state outside Nevada, you are still required to enlist the assistance of a licensed agency in state to complete the adoption process.

In order to ensure that each and every child is placed with the best family possible, and that they will be well cared for and kept safe, adoption agencies in Nevada take the whole process very seriously. Prospective adoptive parents and other members of their household can expect to submit fingerprints for background and security checks, as well as undergo physical exams. Even after the adoption is finalized, some adoption agencies will continue to maintain contact to assure that they’ve made the right choice in place the child in your family.

Make an Impact

Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowd Rise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more. But, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.


Overall, living in an Agency State has many positives. Not only do agencies serve as excellent resources, they will be proactive in the whole journey. They will help guide you through the details and the emotional rollercoaster of it all. Adoption agencies, such as Adoption Choices of Nevada, are fully equipped with talented adoption professionals ready and willing to help you succeed in a positive and successful placement.

 If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Nevada. You may visit the website here or contact us by 775-825-4673 (Reno Office) or 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas Office). Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST.


About the Author

Rachel RobertsonRachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.

In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.

When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.



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“Agency State: Meant to Protect All Adoptive Parties.” Hope’s Promise,

“In the Context of Adoption, What Does It Mean To Live in An ‘Agency State’?” A Full Circle Adoptions, 9 June 2017,

“The Different Types of Adoption.” Findlaw,

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