If you are seeking to adopt, it can be tricky to find the best situation for you or to know how to proceed.
I first learned about independent adoption (also known as private adoption) when my husband and I started research on adoption ourselves. Before we met with and chose an agency, we met with an adoption lawyer and learned about independent adoption, which is when birth parents give consent directly to adoptive parents to adopt their child.
To make this a little simpler, this means that parents likely didn’t go through an agency or create a profile that is shared through a third party. When my husband and I adopted, we created a profile that birth parents would look at to determine if we may be a fit to parent their child. However, when we met with a lawyer, we were also told about the option of an independent adoption where we could search for a birth mother ourselves and legally adopt a child.
The Benefits of Independent Adoption
In some instances, a birth parent has already identified a person or a couple to parent their child. This can be a family scenario where a sibling or parent is adopting or even a close friend. In some other situations all together, people know of couples who are seeking to adopt and pass on their information when they hear of someone who is making an adoption plan.
If a situation is already solidified between birth parents and adoptive parents, it is in the best of interest to move forward with a private adoption.
The reality is that these situations do exist, they aren’t as common as it may seem. In my own experience, though we had many people reach out letting us know that they knew someone who was considering adoption for us to reach out to, but it didn’t always pan out.
That being said, I do know a family that adopted a child after meeting a woman in a public location and starting a conversation. When she heard the family was seeking to adopt, she shared her information and that she was creating an adoption plan for her child. These things do happen and if they do, you’ll want to be prepared.
What to Know about Independent Adoption
The first thing you need to know is that independent adoption is not legal in every state. In fact, it’s currently illegal in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Minnesota.
No matter how you adopt, you’ll need someone who can complete a legal home study, a counselor to be involved, and a lawyer. Many people choose an adoption agency simply because they set up all of this for you.
In fact, it’s a myth that if you have already been approached by a birth parent that you can’t use an agency. Many can still help you with that, so make sure to contact a local agency just in case if you are starting this process.
The most important thing you’ll need to do is your research on the legality of this in your area and what steps you need to take to ensure that you’re doing what is legal and right.
Why Independent Adoption Isn’t For Everyone
Independent adoption isn’t for everyone–and that’s ok.
I was approached by someone who was interested in us adopting an infant that would biologically be their family member. It was someone we weren’t close to and she noted that she would still be able to be in that child’s life as a family member if we adopted the baby. That situation was bound to be too difficult to navigate and I was hesitant to reach out to a birth parent who hadn’t reached out to us–in fact, this was someone that wanted to parent her own child, but her family was trying to make decisions for her.
Though the cost may seem less than using an agency, the reality is that the individual costs of finding a counselor, lawyer, home study provider, etc. may be just as much or more, so if this is your only reasoning, do your research to find out a more realistic cost.
Finding a birth parent interested in an independent adoption may be difficult as well. Advertising is an option that some people pursue, but know that there are a lot of laws around this that you should be fully versed in.
If you’re navigating this process, one of the most important things you can do is to ensure that you know the laws in your state and how to work through them.
Though independent adoption may be the right path for you, it isn’t for everyone, so make sure to contact an adoption professional if you have more questions on how to proceed or for more information.
There are so many different ways to adopt and learning about all facets of adoption is so important as you do your research!