Independent adoption has its own benefits and disadvantages over agency adoption.
In the last 25 to 30 years, independent adoptions in the United States have increased tremendously. Such adoptions placement is completed with the help of a third party, typically a doctor, lawyer, or clergyman. Usually, independent adoptions are completed in a shorter period of time than agency adoptions but can involve more paperwork.
The wait to adopt a healthy infant is usually shorter than with an agency and the prospective adoptive parent has more control than in other types of adoption. Parents can apply to more than one attorney or independent adoption facilitator at a time, and attorneys often have few or no requirements for adoptive parents other than the ability to pay the adoption fees required and completing the home study.
Since both set of parents know each other, they can form a close personal relationship that can prove beneficial for the child. Both set of parents can meet and talk about the adoption and also decide the extent of contact the birth parent can have with the child post adoption.
It can be less expensive compared to agency adoptions. The total expenses for an agency adoption can range between $5000 and $40,000. However the birth parents in an independent adoption may have to pay costs of hospital birth if not covered by Medical Assistance or private insurance.
Among the risks of an independent adoption are that the biological mother may be coerced by lawyers and/or family members into giving up her rights. In addition, the child’s right to permanency is more likely to be protected in an agency adoption. The adoptive parents may not receive full and accurate information about the health of the child and, for a variety of reasons; the legal process may not be completed. The most common legal problem occurs when the father’s rights are not fully terminated. Also, the biological parents may receive little, if any, adequate counseling regarding a plan that is best for them and the child
Independent adoption is not legal in all states. Even in states that permit independent adoptions, there are special rules applicable to independent adoptions. For example in most states the time available for the birth parents to negate an adoption is longer than in the case of agency adoptions.
Independent adoption requires a lot of time and effort. It requires commitment on the part of all concerned to make it work. Finding the right birth parents can take time and money. You will also have to pay an attorney for dealing with the paperwork.
States where independent adoption is illegal
You cannot enter into an independent adoption in the following states: North Dakota, Massachusetts, Delaware and Connecticut.
You can however identify prospective birth parents and enter into an agency adoption.
It’s difficult to estimate the exact cost of an independent adoption. Each case is unique. There are some costs which you will be expected to pay. You will have to incur expenses to locate a willing birth parent. You will also have to provide for the medical expenses of the pregnancy and bear the attorney’s fee for dealing with the paperwork. All these costs can realistically exceed $10,000.
State law allows adoptive parents to pay reasonable costs associated with the process. The law lays down what expenses can be paid. You should check with your state laws. If the costs you pay are not covered by law, you can be accused of buying a baby. In most states, adoptive parents can pay the medical expenses, legal expenses and counseling costs. In some states, the mother’s living expenses during pregnancy can also be paid by the adoptive parents. Adoptive parents should keep a track of all the expenses. In some states you may be required to provide itemized account of the expenses you have incurred. Check with your state law.
Open adoptions are those in which expectant and prospective adoptive parents identify (find) each other and then obtain the services of an independent adoption facilitator or adoption agency in arranging and finalizing an adoption. Such adoptions usually involve healthy infants, but some involve older children as well.
Open adoptions begin with “openness,” which refers to face-to-face contact between the birth and adoptive families of the child. Open contact may be frequent or infrequent, through letters or telephone calls or through personal visits, and may or may not involve exchanging complete identifying information.
There are many advantages of open adoptions. The adoptive parents have access to the birth parent and this enables better and confident parenting. Both sets of parents can build a mutually beneficial and enriching relationship with each other. The adoptive parents have access to information about the child’s background and history. The child knows about his or her background. The birth parents retain contact with the child.