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Adoption agencies: procedures and costs of adopting a child. Using an agency to oversee your adoption can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Agencies are experienced in locating children, matching them with parents, and fulfilling the necessary legal requirements. Agencies are going to assist adoptive parents with everything from locating a birth parent to completing the adoption documentation. An agency is going to take care of a lot of the vital aspects of the adoption, like carrying out the home study, acquire the required consents, and counseling the adoptive parents on any particular state requirements.

Private VS Public Agency

The choice between private and public agency adoption depends on individual circumstances, preferences, and the specific goals of prospective adoptive parents. Some may prefer the flexibility and personalized services offered by private agencies, while others may be drawn to the public agency’s emphasis on finding homes for children in the foster care system.

Private Agency Adoptions: Comprehensive Support

Offers a significant advantage through comprehensive guidance for adoptive parents, birth parents, and older children. This guidance proves invaluable in navigating the emotional, practical, and legal complexities of adoption. Notably, proper counseling for birth parents at the outset reduces the likelihood of changing their minds when it comes time to sign consent forms after the baby’s birth.

Challenges of Private Agencies

On the downside, private agencies maintain stringent criteria for selecting adoptive parents due to high demand and limited child availability. Factors such as age, marital status, income, sexual identity, well-being, faith, family size, and personal history, including criminal behavior, are used to screen prospective parents.

Public Agency Adoptions: Considerations and Cost

Public agencies, offering a pool of adoptable children, primarily consist of older or special-needs children. If you desire a newborn or infant, a public agency may not be the ideal choice. Furthermore, public agencies generally provide fewer additional services compared to private agencies, such as crucial therapy. However, they are a more cost-effective option, often involving minimal adoption expenses or even a small allowance during the adoption process.

Legal Considerations Regardless of Agency

Even when adopting through an agency, engaging a lawyer is often necessary to draft adoption requests and represent adoptive parents at hearings. While not a legal requirement, the intricate adoption process benefits from legal oversight. When selecting a lawyer, assess their experience overseeing adoptions, inquire about any challenges faced, and confirm their proficiency in navigating potential complexities.

Cost of Agency Adoptions

Private agencies are going to charge you to cover the birth mother’s expenditures as permitted by state law; these costs might include medical expenses, living costs throughout the pregnancy, and counseling. Add to this to the agency’s staff salaries and operating expense — and charges can accrue quickly.

A lot of agencies charge a flat fee for adoptions, whereas others add the birth mother’s costs to a fixed rate for the services of the agency. Many agencies use an adjusted scale that differs with adoptive parents’ income levels, typically with a fixed minimum and maximum expense. You can anticipate paying one thousand to six-thousand dollars to adopt a younger child, and ten-thousand dollars or more to adopt a newborn. A few agencies charge a lower fee for overseeing special needs adoptions.

Public agencies usually do not charge fees for putting children in adoptive homes.

Even if you do go through an agency, you might need to hire a lawyer to draft the adoption request and to represent you at your adoption hearing. Even though there is no requirement legally that a lawyer have a role in your adoption, the process can be somewhat convoluted. Lawyer’s fees, obviously, add to the expense of your adoption.

Waiting Periods

Agencies often wait to place a child in an adoptive home until all required consents have been given and are concluded. For this reason, a child may be placed in foster care for a couple of days or weeks, subject to the situation and the laws of the state. The latency phase concerns many adoptive parents that want their child to have a safe, balanced home as soon as they can. Many agencies circumvent this by placing infants directly through a kind of adoption referred to as a “legal risk placement.” The risk is that the birth mother might choose she wants her child back prior to her rights being legally terminated — then the adoptive parents are going to have to give the child back.

Locating an Adoption Agency

There are an estimated three thousand adoption agencies in the US alone, both public and private. When you live in a state such as New York or California, you are going to have more options than if you live less populated state. But no matter where you live, you most likely have to do some searching to locate an agency that meets your requirements and is able to work with you. You can get a hold of a national adoption association for references to get you started. One place to begin is the Child Welfare Information Gateway. Also, speak to anyone you know that has adopted children — personal referrals are usually the best way to locate a good agency.

When taking an agency into account, verify the agency’s reputation and certification. Begin with the licensing department in your state. They can tell you if the agency has been served with a notice for licensing violations and if their office has received any disputes concerning the agency. You can request a copy of your state’s guidelines overseeing adoption agencies so you understand the values your agency must adhere to. Your state’s department of social services or your state and/or local department of consumer affairs might also be able to give you information concerning the agency.

International Adoptions

Entering the realm of international adoption demands careful planning. In this guide, we’ll explore the two main paths: direct adoption and agency-assisted adoption. We’ll navigate US immigration laws, agency roles, and the crucial documentation process. From state-specific requirements to legal considerations and inclusivity for LGBT couples, this guide equips you for a smooth international adoption journey.

Choosing an Adoption Path: Agency vs. Direct Adoption

When considering international adoption, prospective parents can either adopt directly or through a US agency specializing in international adoptions. While direct adoptions are possible, many opt for agencies due to the complexities involved in the international direct adoption process, which often presents higher risks and obstacles.

Agency Expertise: Navigating Immigration and Adoption Laws

Adopting through an agency brings the advantage of expertise in three crucial areas: US immigration laws, the laws of the child’s home country, and the adoptive parents’ state adoption laws. This comprehensive knowledge significantly streamlines the adoption process.

Understanding US Immigration Laws: Orphan Petition Requirements

To start adopting, future parents need to meet certain requirements set by US immigration laws. If you’re a married couple or an individual aged 25 or older, you must file an Orphan Petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. This step is crucial as it shows that the child’s parents are no longer present, have disappeared, or abandoned them. It also applies if a single parent is incapable of caring for the child.

Documentation and Home Study: Key Components of the Process

Accompanying the Orphan Petition, prospective parents must submit various documents, including a home study report from the chosen agency. Once the USCIS approves the petition, and disqualifying factors are absent, an immigrant visa is issued to the child.

Advance Preparation: Completing Paperwork Ahead of Time

Efficient adoption planning involves completing paperwork even before identifying a specific child for adoption. Given the time-consuming nature of processing, this proactive approach helps prevent delays in the child’s arrival in the US.

State-Specific Considerations: Checking Pre-Adoption Requirements

It is crucial to be aware of pre-adoption requirements specific to your state. Some states, for instance, mandate written consent from the birth mother before approving the child’s entry.

Experts suggest re-adopting in your home state to comply with local laws and secure an English birth certificate.

Addressing Legal and Cultural Nuances: Re-Adoption and State Laws

Re-adoption is often recommended to address legal requirements imposed either by the state of residence or the child’s home country. This step ensures full compliance with state laws and can be a legal necessity.

Special Considerations: Adoption by LGBT Couples

While no foreign country openly permits adoption by gay or lesbian couples, many still pursue international adoption discreetly.

Maintaining confidentiality about their sexual orientation aids couples during foreign adoption, helping them navigate complexities and country-specific restrictions.


  1. Nolo. (2011, October 10). Agency adoptions. Retrieved September 13, 2022, from

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