The easiest way to understand this part of the adoption procedure is to break the subject down into two parts.
Part one: Who is providing the service to you?
Part two: Where is the child coming from?
Who is Providing the Service:
Agency vs. Private Placements
Suppose the adoption services are being handled by your minister, your lawyer, a counselor, a doctor, an adoption "facilitator," or a friend: anybody who is helping you but is not licensed by the state authorities as an adoption
specialist. Then we say that is an "independent" or "private" adoption.
Maybe you are dealing directly with the birth parents yourself. There is no middleman. This is also an independent or private adoption.
Let's say that you are being helped by someone (or a group of people) who has a license from the state to aid both birth parents and adopting parents. In this case, we say you are going ahead with an "agency" adoption.
Agencies come in a variety of forms. They can be for profit or non-profit. They can be public or private. I'll explain this to you, but the most important fact for you to remember is that all licensed agencies must satisfy the requirements of your state and be licensed. These are the only ones you should work with – the ones that are licensed.
In general, an agency is either a profit or a non-profit agency. A "for profit agency" adoption will probably end up costing you more money than a "non-profit agency" adoption. Don't think that because an agency is non-profit, it means you won't have to pay anything. It's just that a non-profit agency usually charges only to cover its expenses. But expenses can be considerable.
A "public agency" is one that is sponsored by a county, state, or federal government. Part of the costs of the adoption procedure can be absorbed by the government and tax dollars.
A "private agency" is one that is funded by a religious group or individual sources.
Not all states license all types of agencies. You will have to find out what the law is in the area where you live.
Where is the Child Coming From:
Intrastate, Interstate and International Placements
Let's say there is a young woman in your church who is pregnant. She knows you are trying to adopt. She tells you that if you want, you can adopt her child once it is born.
Since you both live in the same state, this will be an "intrastate adoption."
Let's say you live in Pennsylvania and you have placed an ad in the New York Times. A woman in New York sees your ad. She is pregnant and likes what you wrote. She calls and offers to let you adopt her child.
Since you both live in different states, this will be an "interstate adoption."
Perhaps you live on the West Coast and often travel to the Orient. On one of your trips to the Far East, you learn of a young Asian woman who will be giving birth shortly. She is unable to keep her child, but wants the best for her baby. She agrees to have you adopt. Since she lives in one country and you live in another, this will be an "international adoption."
And finally, there are combinations. You can have an "independent, international adoption." Or a "for-profit agency, interstate adoption." Or any of the other possible combinations you can put together for yourself.
The type of adoption you choose can make all the difference in the world. That's because you have a different set of laws, rules and regulations for each type of adoption. There are also differences in
the risks that you take – depending on the type of adoption you become involved with.
Well, that sounds scary and confusing! What does it mean in plain English?
In an intrastate adoption, you are bound only by the state and county laws and requirements, and by the authority of your state child welfare agency.
In an interstate adoption, you will have to meet the requirements of "two" states as well as something called the Interstate Compact Act.
In an international adoption, you will have to meet the requirements of not only your state, the federal laws regarding the entrance of children into the United States, and the laws of the foreign country from which you are adopting a child.
In a licensed agency adoption, you have the assurance that the people with whom you are working have some accountability. That means that the government is monitoring them to make sure they meet certain minimum standards. This provides you with added security. But don't assume anything!.
In an independent or private adoption, you have the least security and guarantees. Maybe the people you are dealing with are legitimate. Maybe not. This is the area where you will have to be most on guard. Remember, if something goes wrong, you are the one who has the most to lose!
The last factor you have to consider relates to the kind of child you are willing to accept. Remember earlier when I discussed this? Now is the time you will put it all together.
Are you going to be considering only a white (Caucasian) child or are you interested in an African American or bi-racial baby? Are you limiting your search to newborns, or will you accept an older child? How about the "special needs" child? That is, a child with physical or emotional handicaps; older children no longer in the "desirable" age group; sibling groups – where two or more children from the same family are available, but cannot be separated?
How about a foreign-born child?
You must make these decisions because not all people or agencies can handle all types of adoptions. You will have to ask the right questions, once you have made your decision.
It makes no sense to waste time working with people or agencies who cannot give what you want or provide what you are looking for.
Why You Need an Adoption Consultant
There are many risks when you go to adopt a child including losing a child after you have already taken them home (referred to as a disruption), losing all of the money you have invested in the adoption if the birth mother changes her mind, or finding that there are previously unknown or undisclosed fees that may appear. Dr Berger has helped thousands of adopting families with domestic adoptions and international adoptions and he is available to assist you no matter what type of adoption you chose to pursue and regardless of whether you work with an adoption agency, facilitator or adoption attorney. He can help you save your time, effort and money in helping you to decide what routes to take and the best way to achieve your goal of adopting a child. He can help reduce your risks and potential pain and can help you avoid many of the problems and pitfalls found in the adoption process. You can read and download his free adoption manual or, for more information on how he can help you, please visit his Adoption Consultant link.
Dr Vince Berger
and the staff of Adoption Services
Adoption Services, Inc
28 Central Blvd
Camp Hill, PA 17011