Independent adoptions allow the parents – both birth and adoptive – to have more control over the adoption process. In this type of adoption, an agency is not used and, instead, the parents must coordinate and work together to facilitate the adoptive process.
There are a number of advantages to an independent adoption that make this type of adoption an appealing alternative to working with an agency.
The first and probably most attractive benefit is that independent adoptions allow the adoptive parents to have a one-on-one interaction with the birth parents instead of relying on an agency as their primary contact. This enables both sets of parents to get to know each other and make an informed decision about moving forward.
Another nice benefit is that independent adoptions are often cheaper than their agency counterparts. While adoptive parents do still typically pay the birth mother’s expenses and other costs, there is no agency fee which can sometimes be a pretty hefty chunk of change.
Independent adoptions are also usually faster than an agency adoption and do not require the adoptive parents to sit on a lengthy waiting list.
What about the “cons”? As with other types of adoptions, independent adoption has some disadvantages as well.
For example, many states have laws that limit the ways adoptive parents can search for a baby. This can make it difficult to find birth parents wanting to have their child adopted since there is no agency for the birth parents to register with.
In addition, most states also have extensive laws regarding the type and length of counseling that birth parents must receive before entering into an adoption agreement. If these requirements are not strictly met, you could discover that your adoption is in jeopardy at a later time. Agencies generally have case managers to help guide adoptive parents through the legal hoops.
Most states also limit the amount that adoptive parents can spend in an independent adoption toward prenatal care and medical expenses. Depending on the laws of your state, this limitation could make an agency adoption more attractive to the birth parents.
Additionally, because an agency is not involved, many states have extended the period in which birth parents have the right to revoke their adoption consent. That means that where you might have waited three months with an agency adoption, an independent adoption could require you to allow six months before the adoption became final. This can be devastating, both emotionally and financially as adoptive parents don’t always have any means of recovering their financial investment when an independent adoption is revoked and they must also deal with losing a child that they have been raising for a period of time.
Also keep in mind that independent adoptions can be quite time-consuming and require you to be meticulous about following the laws of your state. Even with an attorney’s help, you may find that agency adoptions are easier in the long run.
One last note of warning: independent adoptions are illegal in some states so be sure that you check the laws of your state before trying to proceed with an independent adoption.
You may enjoy this book on the overall adoption process as well as this book which focuses on international adoptions .