Independent adoption is adoption made “independent” of an adoption agency. It may be facilitated by an attorney, doctor, or clergyman, or involve a direct link between the birth parents and adoptive parents.
In some states independent adoption is illegal, so prospective adoptive parents should contact the adoption agency licensor in their state of residence to determine what laws apply. The costs may be higher in some regions than they are through licensed adoption agencies. In other areas, just the opposite is true. Most professional organizations recommend adoption through a licensed adoption agency
In general, independent special needs adoption should be undertaken only in those cases where the adoptive family is aware of state and federal laws regarding eligibility for adoption assistance.
The wait to adopt 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.
Adoptive parents must undertake the paperwork and verifications normally undertaken by the adoption agency. Adoptive parents thus risk not only heartache, but the loss of thousands of dollars before finally being able to adopt a child. Independent adoption usually provides no counseling for adoptive or birth parents, resulting in the likelihood those original parents will enter adoption uninformed, increasing the risk of psychological and emotional damage.
Prospective adoptive parents may receive placement of a child prior to the termination of parental rights of the birth parents, which presents a legal and emotional risk to the adoptive parents. If an adoption falls through, adoptive parents must begin the adoption process all over again.