We all want to know our options.  Especially when it is about something we care a lot about but only understand a little.  Think, health insurance…or mortgage rates…or adoption.  What else would bring you to a website like ours other than the desire to learn about adoption and the ways you could pursue it?  That’s what brings most people here.  They care a lot about adoption, but get confused on the best way to move forward.  So, let’s discuss two of the “Roads to Adoption” as we like to call them here at Heimer Law.  These are the two most common ways to adopt an infant — Private Adoption and Agency Adoption.  Use the information below to help you determine the best road to adoption for your family.  Then, feel free to leave a comment if you have questions or contact us here.  Let’s jump in!

What is the main difference between a Private Adoption and Agency Adoption?

The main differences between a Private Adoption and an Agency Adoption is how the hopeful adoptive parents find their birthmom. In a private adoption, or Independent Adoption, the adoptive parents and the expectant mother or birthmother (we call her the expectant mother while she is pregnant, birthmother after) find each other and agree to work together without the help of an agency. Adoptive parents might advertise locally or through a service, or network in their community to find a child.  They might find resources online or by talking to an attorney on how to proceed and these adoptions are often successful. However, the adoptive parents wouldn’t have the experience and support of the agency to help find the opportunity or to provide ongoing care to the birthmom. In my experience, this requires a great deal of tenacity on the part of the adoptive parents.

What are the main benefits of Private Adoption compared to Agency Adoption?

Most people who choose private adoption do it for the perceived benefit of saving money.  They often believe that agency fees are unattainable and that they can move forward with the adoption without all of the expense.  That perception, however, fails to acknowledge that most adoption agencies nationally are nonprofit organizations and that the majority of those fees go to pay for networking in the community to find expectant mothers and then to pay for her care through the adoption.  Therefore, while you can save thousands of dollars, a private adoption will also likely cost more than you anticipated and far more time than you can imagine.  Still, the benefits of private adoption are that it remains considerably less expensive, and that the adoptive parents can have an opportunity to build a relationship with the expectant mother as they help organize her care prior to delivery.

Why is Agency Adoption more expensive than Private Adoption?

The added expense in an agency adoption versus a private adoption can be attributed to

1. The administrative expenses of running an agency

2. The cost of disrupted adoptions that get dissipated to all clients

3. The marginal difference in cost between working with one expectant mother versus another

Let me explain.  If you find a woman to work with on your own, perhaps hearing about her unplanned pregnancy through a friend, you will still have the cost of her medical bills, your legal fees, and other associated costs.  However, you won’t have the cost the agency pays in rent, or for their staff. You also won’t have the cost of any adoption disruptions that the agency needs to pay for by charging a little more to all other clients.  Still, if your situation disrupts, you will lose all the money you have spent on that adoption.  Finally, you may pay less or more on the expectant mother’s direct costs.  Does she need maternity clothes, transportation help, or secure housing.  These costs vary greatly from one woman to another.

Final Takeaways

Adoption can be a long and frustrating process.  If you try to do a private adoption, it can be even more difficult at times.  You will fill the role of her social worker, taxi driver, therapist, personal shopper, and friend.  However, doing so can allow you to save some money and can give you a great opportunity to care well for the expectant mother.

Our advice primary advice is to “cast a wide net.”  Let everyone you know that you want to adopt.  You may hear about a situation that an agency hasn’t heard about.  Then, you can decide if you want to bring an agency in to carry the load of her care, or if you want to do it yourself and save some money for future needs…like diapers.

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