Adoption can be both an exciting and overwhelming option when you are expanding your family. It allows you to create your family while providing a permanent, loving home for children. However, the process does not come without some hardships, pitfalls, and derailments. Sadly, this is true no whatever route you choose — domestic, international or foster care. The following blog will focus on the possible red flags that can arise if domestic adoption is your chosen route.
Domestic Adoption Agencies
Prospective adoptive parents will find there are different federal and state laws for the varying types of adoption, which will differ based on your geographical location. Each family’s adoption journey is unique, making it impossible to predict the exact course of the process you will encounter, or the length of time you may wait for a child. There are four types of agencies for domestic adoptions that may be suitable for birth parents and prospective adoptive parents. Following is a description of each type:
- Licensed Private Agency – Prospective parents will often work with licensed private agencies to adopt healthy infants. These adoptions can be more expensive than public agency adoption, based upon what arrangements might be made to cover the cost of care during the pregnancy and at the time of the delivery.
- Public Adoption Agency – Public agency adoptions are generally arranged by the agency and include assessments by social workers, and/or supervisors. This also considers the needs of the child and the ability of the prospective adoptive family to meet those needs. Public and private agencies locate and prepare prospective adoptive families to adopt children from foster care or from other temporary placement situations.
- Independent Adoption/Agency – Families adopting independently will find their own expectant parents or birth mother without an agency’s help. Attorney’s may assist the prospective adoptive parents and birth parents with their adoption process, and in some cases, matching the expecting parents with the adoptive family.
- Unlicensed/Facilitated Agency – These offer the least amount of supervision. A facilitator is a person who connects prospective adoptive parents with expectant birth mothers for a fee. Those who chose to work with facilitators will run the risk of having no options if the adoption plan does not work out as they hoped. There are states that prohibit adoptions by paid facilitators, thus, when researching the adoption program you plan to work with, be mindful of the policy of the state you are in.
Adoption Laws & Birth Parents
The challenge prospective adoptive parents face when adopting domestically or internationally, is the risk of the birth mother and/or birth parents changing their minds on going through with adoption when the baby is born. Most adoption agencies will take the proper legal steps ensuring that does not happen due to current adoption laws and regulations that are critical to the adoption process. For instance, if a licensed private agency is being used, birth parents relinquish their parental rights to an agency. While some state laws differ on the timing of revoking consent, birth parents’ consent to the adoption is not final until after the birth and, in some cases, after a short period post-birth.
The U.S. adoption state laws and regulations can dictate who can be adopted and who can then adopt. The laws governed vary from state to state and cover such issues as: post-adoption contract agreements, adoption expenses, confidentiality of records and more. Learning about your state adoption laws can help prepare you for the adoption process. There is a directory source that can be used to identify where in each state a specific agency is located and whether the agency is in good standing. This can all be searched on the Child Welfare Gateway Database.
Sometimes prospective adoptive parents may find the medical background of the child is unknown. This means that the adoptive family (or agency or even the birth mother) may not be aware of potential medical issues. Generally, the agency the family is working with will do their best to learn about the child’s medical and, in the case of an older child, social history. Similarly, agencies will work to assure that the child, once under their supervision, will receive the appropriate medical services, nourishment, and general care.
In a recent blog, which can be read in full here, I discuss the impact of maternal drug use and the impact on infants. One area of concern focused on this blog is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs), that occurs when alcohol is consumed during pregnancy and travels into the mother’s bloodstream and then to the babies umbilical cord. This, among other issues, can be damaging to the unborn baby and also should be a topic for discussion with the agency.
There are different types of domestic adoptions that prospective adoptive parents may choose. State laws and regulations vary and will likely influence the amount of time it takes to receive a child. Conducting the proper research on the types of adoption and agency available to you can help with the adoption process. There are always risks with anything, including adoption. As discussed, unknown medical history, state laws, birth parents changing their minds and other issues are all lead possible risks in domestic adoptions. Adoption is a long journey that can include different challenges along the way, however, the end result can be the creation of a loving home for a child in need and the newly formed family.
If you have any questions, concerns or are currently in the process of adopting a baby feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Nevada. You may visit our website here or contact us by phone at, 775-825-4673 (Reno Office) or 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas Office). Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST.
Want to Give Back?
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, 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.
About the Author
Rachel Strom graduated from Lehman College in the Bronx in May of 2018, where she received her bachelors in Professional Writing. After receiving her education at Lehman College, Rachel is currently interning at Adoption Choices Inc., where she is a weekly blogger.
Rachel was adopted from Asuncion, Paraguay in 1991. Her adoption experience has helped her write articles for Adoption Choices Inc., from the perspective of an adoptive individual. She hopes her articles will help someone looking into adoption or encourage those currently in the process.
When Rachel is not writing for Adoption Choices Inc. or her own novels she enjoys her other passion for baking, where she resides, in the New York City area. When she is baking, music is always playing throughout the kitchen while she is whipping up a delectable dessert for her friends and adoptive family.
“Adoption Options: Where Do I Start?” Child Welfare Information Gateway, Children’s Bureau, Aug. 2015, https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/f_adoptoption.pdf.
Carney, Eliza Newlin. “The Truth About Domestic Infant Adoption .” Adoptive Families, Adoptive Families Magazine, 16 Oct. 2017, www.adoptivefamilies.com/how-to-adopt/domestic-adoption-myths-and-truths/.
“Impact of Adoption on Adoptive Parents.” Child Welfare Information Gateway, Children’s Bureau, Aug. 2015, www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/impactparent.pdf.
Pixabay and Unsplash. Pregnant Woman Sunset Silhouette.
Rams, Monika, and Unsplash. Baby in Crib.
“Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements.” Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights – Child Welfare Information Gateway, Children’s Bureau, Aug. 2015, www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/statutes/advertising/.