Private Adoption or Agency--Not sure, need help — The Bump
Adoption

Private Adoption or Agency--Not sure, need help

So my research into this whole thing is going quite slowly and I'm already getting EXTREMELY confused.  I am in the midst of reading Adoption for Dummies and have a info. webinar on the 16th through an agency.  I was pretty certain the agency was the way to go, but then I spoke to an older friend of mine who is very influential in her community through church groups and connections she has and knows many families who have adopted.  Well she recommended that we go with a private adoption and for me to write up a letter and hand deliver it to several OB/GYN offices in the area to begin advertising. 

She said that the dr. offices typically take the letter but tell you that they cannot help with that type of situation, but behind closed doors the word gets out and many times they will contact drs they know from other states who will help advise their patients who are looking to find a family who wants a child.  In most of the instances she is aware of, which is many over the years, this is how families have been most successful in a reasonable amount of time getting a child.

I don't really think I want to go this route but now I'm really confused about which way to go.  Especially since my father-in-law knows a couple who spent years with an agency, were never selected and ended up having to hire an attorney afterwards.  I'm curious how many of you went the attorney route for a private adoption and what type of advertising you did and how many of you went the agency route.  I just don't want to make the wrong choice and regret it down the road.

Re: Private Adoption or Agency--Not sure, need help

  • image witty29:

    Well she recommended that we go with a private adoption and for me to write up a letter and hand deliver it to several OB/GYN offices in the area to begin advertising. 

    She said that the dr. offices typically take the letter but tell you that they cannot help with that type of situation, but behind closed doors the word gets out and many times they will contact drs they know from other states who will help advise their patients who are looking to find a family who wants a child.  In most of the instances she is aware of, which is many over the years, this is how families have been most successful in a reasonable amount of time getting a child.

    I will be curious as to what people say to this as my mom argues that iyt is the best way. We are with an agency,  but we do a bit of networking too.

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  • I researched both options in the beginning too. And was really confused and really stressed about trying to make the decision. I kept going back and forth and finding different reasons to do one over the other. We finally decided to use an agency, our main reasons were the fact that it's a little safer. As in you don't have to feild calls from potential birthmoms, and you don't have to worry about scams. The agency does medical and background checks, drug tests, pregnancy confirmation, and things like that. Also the agency provides counseling and support to the birthmoms to help them through the decisions and process, and I really like that. GL making your decision!
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  • Also the agency provides counseling and support to the birthmoms to help them through the decisions and process, and I really like that.

    Yes, and the more I've gotten into this, the more I've realized that it's important to me to be matched with someone who sought out making an adoption plan versus maybe an e-mom who was seeing our profile before she'd really committed to adoption (like at an ob/gyn's office or a crisis pregnancy center).

  • We decided to go with an agency because it feels safer this way.  We like having someone to help guide us through the process and to handle certain aspects for us.  We also like that our agency gives birthmothers lots of counseling... that is just so important to us.  

  • We went through an agency. We got good recommendations, we felt comfortable with them, and our experience has been great. Our entire process from application to placement took 10 months.

    We had contacted a law firm to discuss the possibility of private adoption, but they never returned our calls so we crossed them off the list. We have friends in town who did private adoptions for 2 of their kids (the DH is a lawyer so he had connections to begin with), but it just didn't feel right for us. It worked great for them, though.

    We also had a private avenue we pursued, but not very actively. My parents have a friend who's an ob/gyn, and he and his wife adopted a child from one of his patients. His wife and I corresponded a few times and she let me know about a situation that came up in her husband's office. It fell through, and we were placed with our daughter a couple of weeks later.

    There are plusses and minuses to each approach. With a private adoption (from our limited experience), you'd have to do your own advertising, if that's even allowed in your state (it's not allowed in some states, so it has to be done on the down-low if at all). And you'd have to build up your own network of places to advertise. You'd have to find a lawyer you're comfortable with to take care of the legal paperwork. But it can come with lower fees because you're doing more of the legwork. With an agency, you basically have "one stop shopping"--they'll perform the homestudy, help you with a profile, find birthfamilies, provide counseling, and hook you up with a lawyer to take care of the legal paperwork. But it can come with higher fees because all of those things cost money.

    Everyone is going to give you horror stories no matter what route you take. My parents' friend, the ob/gyn's wife, poo-poohed our selection of an agency, but it worked great for us.

    I would suggest you take your time. You haven't even attended the informational webinar, so go ahead and attend that. Talk to some agencies. Talk to some law firms. See what you're more comfortable with. Take everything you hear second/third hand with a grain of salt, but with an open mind.

    GL

  • I actually have a combo attorney/agency.  Basically it's a law firm with an outreach program.  They do not do homestudies, but that is all they don't do.  They do all the advertising, background checks, medical records, etc.  All I do is choose my filters, write up and print my profile and wait.  My attorney also controls the number of clients he has and organizes the program so that he has approximately the same number of birthmoms and prospective adopting parents, so you don't get 150 couples competing for 50 babies each year.  I really liked that part of the program. 

    So, ask questions of the agencies you are interested in and see how they answer.  Once you start talking to them, you'll figure out pretty quickly what kind of agency fits you better.  If you have a Resolve chapter in the area, they sometimes have programs you can attend for free or cheaply regarding adoption.  I attended one that was really great in my area.  It was a panel discussion of 6 adoption professionals, 3 from the international side, and 3 from the domestic side.  And before that panel discussion I would have told you no way was I going to go with an attorney.  I was totally turned off with doing my own networking.  I just am not like that at all.  But I found one that has the best of both worlds.  So I guess what I'm trying to say with all this, is to keep an open mind, ask questions of any agency or attorney or faciltator that sounds remotely workable.

    Good luck!  The arena of domestic adoption is huge and definately confusion at first.

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  • It's definitely a personal choice.

    There are good agencies and bad agencies.

    There are good attorneys and bad attorneys.

    For us, it was important that a BM sought out adoption, and wasn't solicited in any way.  We chose to go with an attorney after speaking with several agencies and not feeling comfortable with their "birthmother marketing plans" -- which we felt were coercive (this not all agencies, just the few we spoke with -- I can't speak to any others).  In our state, adoptive parents cannot market on their own (the attorney or agency does so on their behalf) and facilitators are not allowed in any capacity.  Additionally, there is a cap on adoption expenses in that they have to be approved by a judge who reviews the BM's financial statement and then her request for funds and makes a decision.  So we felt more comfortable going with an attorney.

    In addition, our community has two separate outreach programs that provide free counseling to BM's -- one regardless of whether she decides to keep the baby and provides before and after counseling, classes and support groups, the other is post-adoption counseling only.  So we felt very comfortable that the appropriate resources were available to any BM in our community who chose us without an agency being involved.

    I would be very careful of advertising yourself.  The laws of each state would apply to the BM as well, so if you end up with an interstate, you could potentially find yourself in a confusing situation and you want to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row.  If you're truly interested in going private, I would suggest consulting a good attorney now that you are comfortable with and signing on with them and finding out how they network and what they recommend for your state.  As pp stated, in situations where you are actively advertising and soliciting a situation yourself, you are opening yourself up to scams not to mention a lot of situations that will come up and fall through.  We did network with our family/friends only and I still hear of a situation ever 2-3 months and not one of them has worked out yet -- and it's been 2 years.  Our BM went for an abortion referral, decided against it, wanted to make an adoption plan, and actively sought out our attorney and then chose us.  I am much more comfortable knowing that she went through many counseling sessions and truly made an active decision to make an adoption plan, rather than it being presented to her by someone and then us introduced to her.  That is what happened with our second failed adoption and I will never ever go that route again.  That BM told her OBGYN that she was interested in adoption, they introduced us, and that was it -- I wish she had sought it out through an official avenue and had undergone counseling to know all of her options (keeping him, placing him, aborting him) and then pursued a family to place him with.  Maybe our heartache would have been avoided then.

  • Agree w/much of what's been said.  Risks go up as you move away from agencies or law firms.

    We are with a hybrid law office/outreach organization too.  And while there's many positives to it, I regret using them because they require a large sum of money for their marketing.   We've been with them for a nineteen months(with four months off --  we were matched through a separate law firm).  We chose them because they were super organized and they have an average wait time that is less than the industry reports.  Well, we are blowing that stat for them... LOL!

    After a year and a half with no child, my husband and I are anxious and we've chosen to spread our "net" wider but I know in doing so I may end up sacrificing the large sum of money that I spent with our law office/outreach org.  We resisted doing so but we are now to a point where we just want to find our baby.

    For baby number two, we'll have more confidence and not feel the need to work with our current law office.   We will not go it alone, but we will choose to work with law offices, agencies, and facilitators that do not require large up front fees.  I feel this is the best way to get our profile in front of the most birth moms. 

     Lastly, I do have a friend that did the route you talk about and was successful in adopting two wonderful children.... and she saved a lot of money by doing it herself. 

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  • Thanks ladies.  I know that once we do this webinar through the agency things will begin to become more clear to me.  I just wish it was sooner since after all I've been through in the past 5 years, I am just eager to get this started.
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