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Infant Adoption: Agency vs. Independent

If you are looking into adoption as a birth parent or as an adoptive parent, you are probably aware of the many type of adoption pathways that are available to you. One of those pathways is infant adoption. In the following article, we will go over the different ways infant adoption can be achieved and the pros and cons of each option.

Infant Adoption via an Agency

People who are looking into infant adoption within the U.S. are often doing so through the help of an adoption agency. Private adoption agencies are required to adhere by certain procedural standards and must maintain proper licensing. This can provide great reassurance to adoptive and birth parents in the monitoring and oversight of their adoption process.

Private adoption agencies have different requirements and standards that their clients must meet in order to be considered as a potential adoptive parent. Once approved, the agency will enter the adoptive parents profiles into a database that will be kept for birth parents to browse and choose the family that they feel will fit their adoption plan. Once a match is made, the adoption specialist assigned to each case will work alongside both adoptive and birth parents and act as an intermediary to help both families work through the adoption process. It can be a daunting task to take on alone, and having a professional to guide you can be a huge benefit. This also allows both parties to maintain the amount of contact that they are most comfortable with during the process and onward.

Another great benefit for infant adoption through an agency is birth parent counseling. Agencies usually provide an extensive support system for the birth parents throughout and after the adoption process. Post-adoption counseling is a great help for birth parents and can make the decision to place a child in adoption a lot less intimidating. Working with an agency comes with a great many resources for both adoptive and birth parents.

Pros:
  • Agency adoption tends to have better resources for birth and adoptive parents, including necessary counseling
  • Adoption agencies assign families an adoption specialist who will help handle all the work that goes into the adoption process, including legal paperwork which can be confusing and time consuming
Cons:
  • Adoption agencies are typically more expensive than adopting directly from a birth parent
  • The adoption process can be significantly longer through an agency because of wait lists

Independent Infant Adoption

An alternate route to infant adoption can be to go through a private adoption attorney. Independent adoption is achieved without the help of an agency. In independent adoption, families that are looking to adopt will independently search for a potential birth parent and will work with attorneys to work out the terms of the adoption process.

** It is important to note that independent adoption, while legal in nearly all states, is not permitted in some states. Independent adoption regulations vary state to state due to differing adoption laws. Make sure to research your state’s adoption laws. **

With an independent adoption, contact between birth and adoptive parents is completely up to the parties involved. In some cases, adoptive and birth parents remain close throughout the process and this can help to alleviate some of the stress of the adoption process and make it a more satisfying experience. Independent adoptions usually happen more quickly than through an agency because of the lack of waiting lists. Adoptive parents may put out advertisements for birth parents or may have their attorneys find a potential birth mother. Independent adoptions are usually finalized within a year.

Because independent adoptions work without the standards and guarantees of an agency, adoptive parents must be comfortable with some risk. Finding a good adoption attorney is essential in going through this process. There are a number of adoption laws that must be followed. Many of these laws revolve around payments during the adoption process. Most state laws allow adoptive parents to pay medical expenses, legal fees and counseling fees. Some states will also allow payments for the birth parent’s living expenses during the pregnancy. It is important to research your state’s laws when looking into independent adoption. Independent adoption is typically less expensive than agency adoption but it is dependent on the state and the personal agreement between adoptive and birth parents.

Pros:
  • Independent adoptions are settled more quickly than through an agency
  • There is more freedom to choose the type of relationship between birth and adoptive parents and more freedom in the adoption process in general
  • Overall less expensive because of the absence of agency fees
Cons:
  • Independent adoptions can be more work because of the lack of adoption specialist, parents must handle everything themselves or with an attorney
  • There are less resources for adoptive and birth parents, specifically with post-adoption counseling
  • Many states have numerous restrictions on independent adoptions and a few states do not allow them at all

Pathways to Adoption

Deciding what path you are going to take for adoption is a completely personal choice. Both pathways to infant adoption have many benefits depending on what you are looking for in adoption. The adoption process may seem overwhelming in the beginning; but, with the right resources and support system, it can be done with minimal stress. Be sure to thoroughly research all of your options before making a decision.

Adoption Choices of Nevada

As always, depending on where you live, state law can vary. Be sure to research the regulations and requirements within your state when considering and pursuing second parent adoption. Also, consult with your adoption agency and/or lawyer for more specific information pertaining to your individual circumstances.

For more information on how Adoption Choices of Nevada can help, contact our website here or call us at 775-825-4673 (Reno Office) or 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas Office). Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST.

Support Adoption Choices

CrowdriseAdoption 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.

However, 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

Devon Thornton

Devon Thornton is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. She has recently moved from Orlando, FL to Clarksville, TN, and is pursuing her writing career with Adoption Choices and also writing personal essays in her free time. Devon is an avid reader and a big Harry Potter fan.

When she’s not curled up reading a book, you can find her somewhere on a hike or a camping trip. She loves her cat, Minerva, and considers herself a true animal lover. She hopes one day to publish a book of essays and to maybe meet J.K. Rowling.

 

 

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Resources:

“Adopt a Baby – What Is Domestic Infant Adoption?” Considering Adoption, consideringadoption.com/adopting/types-of-adoption/what-is-domestic-infant-adoption.

Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2015). Adoption options: Where do I start? Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau

Gilman, Lois, and Susan Freivalds. “Choosing Adoption: Cost, Benefits, and Risk of the Main Options.” BabyCenter, Mar. 2017, www.babycenter.com/0_choosing-adoption-cost-benefits-and-risk-of-the-main-options_1373536.bc.

“Independent Adoption.” Findlaw, family.findlaw.com/adoption/independent-adoption.html.

Irving, Shae. “Independent Adoptions.” Www.nolo.com, Nolo, 17 Dec. 2014, www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/independent-adoptions-29696.html.

“The Adoption Process: Agency vs. Independent Adoption.” Parents, www.parents.com/parenting/adoption/facts/agency-vs-independent-adoption/.

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