Man holding infant child

Private and International Adoptions

International Adoptions are private adoptions in which the child resides and is a citizen of a country other than the United States. In addition to the rules and regulations for a Colorado Child Placement Agency license, intercountry adoptions are completed through an approved Hague Accredited organization.

Domestic Adoptions are private adoptions in which the child resides and is a citizen of the United States.

What type of license is issued to a Child Placement Agency — Adoption from CDHS?

A Child Placement Agency- Adoption that only completes private adoptions is issued a license that is “Permanent.” Each year the agency will receive a continuation notice which is submitted to the Department with the associated fee. During the year the agency will have a full review of the rules and regulations, by the Department, verifying they are in full compliance. The review may completed at any time within the licensing year.

Private Domestic Adoption

Private domestic adoption is the process through which a child born in the United States is voluntarily placed for adoption by their birth/biological parent(s). Most often, the adoptive family with whom the child is placed is selected with care and intention by the birth/ biological parent(s) relinquishing their parental rights. Children are typically placed in the care of their adoptive parents at birth, or shortly thereafter.

All services related to private domestic adoption in Colorado are provided by Child Placement Agencies (CPAs) licensed by the Colorado Department of Human Services. A list of adoption-focused CPAs can be found below. As Colorado is an “agency state,” all adoptive applicants must work with a licensed CPA to have a SAFE home study completed, pre-adoption education, and post placement services. While there are numerous CPAs in Colorado that provide these necessary services to both adoptive applicants and birth/biological parents, a family seeking to grow through private domestic adoption may identify an agency outside of Colorado for placement services. In this case, the adoptive family would still work with a CPA licensed in Colorado for all required services locally, while also working with an out-of-state agency that will support and assist birth parents with their relinquishment process in the state where they reside.

Relinquishment Counseling

Any parent wishing to voluntarily relinquish parental rights to a child in Colorado must work with a licensed CPA for, at minimum, relinquishment counseling to ensure understanding of the adoption process, its implications, and alternatives to placement. Agencies often provide ongoing support to parents who elect to place their child for adoption and to those who choose to parent.

For additional information specific to the relinquishment counseling process, rules, and providers, please refer to the following Information Memo below issued by the Colorado Office of Children, Youth & Families.

Intercountry Adoption

Intercountry (also known as international) adoption is the process whereby a US citizen or couple adopts a child or children from a country outside of the United States. Per United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), one applicant must be a US citizen to adopt internationally under US immigration laws, allowing the child entry into the US and granting the child US Citizenship. Per Federal regulations, only adoption agencies (also called Adoption Service Providers in the intercountry adoption process) that maintain accreditation through either the Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME) or the Center for Excellence in Adoption Services (CEAS) are permitted to establish and maintain intercountry adoption programs. Some agencies may provide home study services for intercountry adoptions, while others may not have the expertise to do so. While the agency that conducts a home study in Colorado must be licensed by CDHS (but does not have to be accredited by IAAME or CEAS), the agency providing intercountry services does not (but must be accredited by IAAME or CEAS).


There are several important factors to consider when determining the best path toward private adoption for your family. These include, but are not limited to:

  1. Cost
  2. Needs and Demographics of Children Available
  3. Timelines
  4. Applicant Criteria


  • Code of Regulations – Human Services  (Title 26)- Child Care Centers (Article 6)- Part 9, can be found on the Provider Services home page. Please reference rule set 7.710 “Rules and Regulations for Child Placement Agencies”.
  • See below for other links and resources


Contact Us

Kate Bradley, MSW
Adoption & Licensing Supervisor


Logan Ellett, LCSW
Provider Development Manager