Agency vs. Private Adoption
Making the decision to pursue adoption is a major decision within any family. However, the decision process does not stop there. While going through such a life changing process, families should be aware of the different options that are available to them. If couples find that foster care, which can be the least costly option, isn’t a good fit for them, this then leaves two options, adoption through an agency or private adoption. Although both of these options will get couples to the same end goal of expanding their family, the options differ significantly throughout the process.
A private adoption occurs when an adoptive couple go straight to an adoption attorney and not through an agency. This typically happens when the adoptive couple have already matched themselves with a mother who wishes to place her baby for adoption. The adoption attorney then helps the couple and the birth mother through the legal steps of the adoption process.
Adoption through an agency differs from private adoption because the agency will help with essentially every step along the way, before and after, an adoption takes place. This includes support for birth mothers during their pregnancy and her time in the hospital. It also includes support for her after her baby is born, such as counseling and other accommodations necessary to ensure that her physical and emotional needs are taken care of. An agency will also provide extensive support to the adoptive couple throughout the process. This includes completion of a home study and home inspection, profile development and promotion, matching, training, counseling, preparation and support at the hospital, and counseling and support after the baby has been placed with the couple. In a private adoption the adoption attorney can’t fully provide this level of support and rather offers legal services only.
Private adoption can be the less costly option, but this is usually due to the fact that it doesn’t offer other valuable services besides the legal services. Adoption attorneys can give couples referrals to services, such as counseling, matching, support and training, but they themselves do not provide the services or ensure that these services are provided to the adoptive couples or expectant mothers. In private adoption, if the adoptive couple is not already in contact with a birth mother then they themselves must network in order to be matched. Adoption agencies typically already have expectant mothers that they are working with and then will help the prospective adoptive couple be matched with a baby within their agency, and will even set up meetings between the birth mother and the adoptive couple before the baby is born if the two parties choose that.
Adoption is a big responsibility and comes with challenges that biological parent/ child relationships might not face. Training and education for prospective adoptive parents is very important. Agencies require a more extensive screening process in order to ensure that potential adoptive couples meet the standard that is necessary to care for a child. Agencies provide greater in-depth, pre-adoption education which helps adoptive couples to be better prepared.
Counseling services are one of the greatest benefits of adoption through an agency. Most agencies provide counseling before the adoption, during the process and long after the process. These services can apply to birth mothers, adoptive parents, even extended family. Agencies also act as a mediator between expectant mothers and adoptive couples, this helps in many situations especially the relinquishment process. Agencies provide trained social workers that have been working with the couple and mother to be there on the day of the baby’s birth, this is helpful because oftentimes birth mothers are very overwhelmed during the days surrounding the birth. Prior to this day, most agencies would have already discussed the process and paperwork with the expectant mother. This preparation is very helpful during this emotionally heightened time to allow the process to be as smooth as possible.
Both private and agency adoption contains its benefits. Agencies essentially ensure that couples looking to adopt have been properly screened and that birth parents are fully supported along the way. Adoption agencies go through the entire process with expectant mothers and adoptive couples. Agencies help to ensure that the extensive process of adoption goes as smoothly and that all parties involved are properly taken care of. Private adoption is a great option for couples who have already been matched with an expectant mother. It allows couples to be more in charge and active in their adoption. Both help families to be successful in their journey.