Agency vs. Independent Adoption
Adoption is a lifelong decision that, while rewarding, oftentimes begins with anxiety and stress. One decision you’ll need to make is what method you’ll be using for adoption. As this will affect the rest of the process, continue reading so you better understand some of your options.
Methods for adopting can be broken down into two broad categories: Agency Adoption and Independent Adoption. Let’s look at both in detail.
An adoption agency is an organization dedicated to finding families for orphaned children. There are two different kinds of adoption agencies: private and public.
Private Adoption Agencies
A private adoption agency is one that’s funded by private funds. They will need the appropriate licensing and approval to operate in a given state.
Private adoption agencies are best for those who wish to adopt a child from outside the country, though they just as often handle domestic adoptions too. The cost of adoption through a private agency can range from $5,000 to $30,000 or more, and those are just the agency fees. It’s beneficial to ask about these fees upfront as well as the payment schedule expected when deciding which option is best for you.
Public Adoption Agencies
Public adoption agencies work for the state. These agencies, such as the Maryland Department of Social Services, assist in finding families for children who are in the custody of the state, and therefore many are older or have special medical or mental needs. Adopting through public agencies is often free or very affordable. Often there are state subsidies available for those who wish to adopt a child with special needs. However, when adopting from a public agency, it’s important to consider everything about a child’s past. When adoption children who were abused, neglected and/or abandoned by their parent, it is important to understand that there may be effects on the child that you will have to address.
Foster parenting is another public option for those looking to help a child in need. With foster parenting, you adopt a child temporarily while their birth parents try to improve their lives. The government provides subsidies for foster parents.
In many states, if the birth parents are able to adequately improve themselves after a certain amount of time, the foster parents become the child’s legal guardians. In Maryland, the foster care program uses a family to family approach that encourages foster parents to cooperate with the birth family in meeting the goals of a permanency plan.
Independent adoption refers to adoption that happens outside an agency. Depending on state law, it can happen between a pregnant woman and the adoptive parents or the pregnant woman and a lawyer. It is also commonly used when a family member is adopting a child or a step-parent is adopting a step-child.
Anyone who wishes to take this path to absolutely needs to hire an attorney with experience in the field. Birth parents may be able to retain rights over the child or may attempt to stop the adoption from taking place. Depending on the circumstances, and what is in the best interest of the child, the adoption may or may not be completed.
Another version of Independent Adoption is called identified adoption. Just like in the aforementioned example, a birth mother and hopeful adoptive parents meet, but they then go to an adoption agency. The idea is that both parties will then get the services of the adoption agency to help with the process. In some states, this is the only kind of independent adoption legal.
As you can see, even between Agency and Independent Adoption there are many choices and elements to consider. Ultimately, the method you choose will be the one that’s best suited for the child you’re hoping to adopt. Making the decision to adopt is not an easy one. But the next most important decision you’ll make will be the method you choose for adopting.