How did you decide agency or private?

Are there statistics that show success rates for both? 

I ordered Adoption for Dummies, but it hasn't come yet.  I've also been reading The Adoption Decision.  I checked out Barnes and Noble over the weekend and couldn't find many books.  Anything I else I should be reading up on?  Or, any good websites to browse?

We are thinking that we will do international through a private, but that is just from initial research.  If you do international do you pick the country, or do they pick for you?  We have no specific region in mind, but this is just the start of my questions and research. 

Also, I've read that tax breaks are offered, grants and different financial prgrams. Will we start getting more of that information once we decide on an agency or private? 

So many questions and I'm just starting.  Any input/advice is appreciated.

Re: How did you decide agency or private?

  • I think this is a question that you should ask prospective lawyers or agencies that you might be interested in. Because each one may be different. The national average for failed adoptions in general is around 20% but individual lawyers or agencies can be much higher or much lower.


    - amount of counseling services offered to the BM,

    - how quickly do they match a BM to APs (our agency will NOT match sometimes for many months while they counseling her and monitoring her, and they will in general NOT match early in the pregnancy - I've seen other agencies match without counseling services and very early in the pregnancy),

    - do they back up any 'at risk' expenses (most agencies do not, which places no responsibility or obligation on them to do their best by the BM. Our agency DOES back up the traditional at-risk expenses if a match fails, this places a greater responsibility on them to do right by the BM and to not prematurely match),

    IMO sometimes you get what you pay for in the way of services rendered by the agency or lawyer. It is not always best to go with the cheapest option because that most likely means that the agency/lawyer themselves is cutting corners which can cause them to have higher levels of disruptions.I I know that we might pay more with our agency but we do so because of their lower disruption rate and because I believe that they provide great support to the EM before, during and after the process.  

    So I think it's important to find out what services are provided for the fees you are paying to both you and the EM. Then ask what their own agency/firm disruption rate is. That might give you a better idea.

    If you mean private as in going the road on your own and only using an attorney if you find a match yourself  then I have no idea. I would imagine that the same things that cause EM to change their minds is at play - did you provide counseling services, how soon in the pregnancy did you match, and so forth. There are services that an agency can provide which you as an individual may not be able to provide. There are 'middle men' involved with an agency facilitated adoption which can help give a buffer between you and the EM while she continues to work out her feelings and emotions.

    Most agencies should provide you with information about grants and other financial assistance programs available. In this month's edition of Adoptive Family magazine was a list of various grants and other financial assistance programs for adoption.

    Good luck!

    Note: I just wanted to put a follow-up in here because my posts makes it sound like I am dissing any agency or lawyer that offers reduced fees. Having lower fees does not in and of itself mean that THAT agency or firm is cutting corners or not treating the EMs well. I merely mean in the general scheme of things. It is something to look at.

  • Thanks for the info!! I think work should give me a "research" day off!   There's so much to look into and I'm not being very productive here anyways.  It's difficult to make phone calls to these places without everyone hearing me....I really need a door. 

    The website was in an earlier post and I've been reading the pages and pages of info on there.  There's so much to learn and I'm anxious to get started!

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  • We're doing a domestic infant adoption through an agency. Private to me is if I knew someone who wanted to place a child for adoption and we didn't go the agency route.

    I liked,, and They all have adoption resources. I also browsed some agency websites for information. Some have seminars via web or phone to get more information.

    We are not doing international, but all the posters I've seen here have chosen the country they want to work with.

    You should aggressively research funding options yourself (IMHO).

    Keep asking questions. This board is a great resource and you'll learn a lot.

    Good luck.

  • Good information already provide!

     A couple more nuggets-

    -  I found a direct correlation between the match timeline and agency costs.  The traditional agencies, like Catholic Charities, tend to take longer with matches than some of the more expensive agencies.  Often the reason is marketing.  No one likes to talk about it, but domestic agencies are marketing themselves to attract birth moms.  IMO, it's not a bad thing as long as the agency provides good birth mom counseling and resources.  But more traditional/long standing groups like Catholic Charities tend to wait more for someone to find them.  Make sense? 

    -  International Adoption-  Generally, you narrow your countries down and choose an agency which works with those countries.  We initially thought we do IA, and we looked for countries that met our criteria.  Things to consider are whether you are open to adopting from an orphanage abroad rather than a foster system, age range of child you'd like to adopt, if you want to chose gender, physical characteristic- if important, length of in-country stay....just to name some criteria.  
    You'll also want to understand the Hague Treaty

    Here's a link that has links to country information


    image Best friends and sisters... 24 months and 16 months
  • Ditto what's been said about counseling for expectant moms.  This is absolutely a necessity, and while I don't *love* the often biased counseling of agencies, I would be really fearful of going privately where no counseling was done at all.  However, if you do end up going that way, the advantage *could* be that e-mom gets counseling independent of an agency, so no bias is shown (since an independent counselor doesn't stand to make money off a placement).

    Not sure what to tell you specifically on IA, other than I've never heard of a family not getting to choose the country.

  • We are doing international. I would recommend that you first choose a country or couple countries then choose an agency because most agencies have certain countries they have stronger programs in and all agencies only work in certain countries. Also, depending on the country you choose, not going through an agency may not be an option if that is what you mean by "private". In Colombia, for example, you must go through an approved agency (possible exception for Colombians or Americans with close colombian relatives, not sure, we don't fall into those categories). Things you would want to keep in mind when choosing a country are what race of child you are open to, what age, whether you are okay with a country that has mostly orphanages vs mostly foster care, whether the country is part of the hague treaty, the wait time, any country-specific requirements, and the cost. A lot of these things are mostly set by the country. Once you have a few countries in mind, you can then look at the agencies that work in them and see how things vary between then.
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