There are many different ways to go about adopting a child. One major decision is whether to pursue a domestic adoption or an international one. If you choose to adopt domestically, you can go through social services, a licensed private agency, or adopt independent of agencies using attorneys, facilitators and other intermediaries. Typically, international adoptions are done through private agencies, but there are also independent international adoptions.
You'll need to learn about the laws governing adoption, too. If you want to adopt a child from another state, you have to comply with its laws as well as those of your own. International adoptions are governed by the laws in your state, the laws of that country and those of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Another major choice is whether to have an open adoption, a semi-open adoption or a closed adoption. At one time most adoptions were closed, meaning that the adoptive parents and the birth parents never meet and have very little information about each other, if any. Today, more adoptions are open or semi-open -- and exactly what these entail can vary widely depending on the agency and what you decide to do. The birth parents may choose the adoptive parents and even meet before the adoption. Often, the adoptive parents send the birth parents letters and pictures to let them know how the child is doing. The birth parents may even be a huge part of the child's life.
There is no right or wrong, and there are pros and cons for each type of adoption. Research them in more detail to help you decide.