Agency Adoptions

Agency Adoptions

Adoption agencies: procedures and costs of adopting a child. Using an agency to oversee your adoption can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Agencies are experienced in locating children, matching them with parents, and fulfilling the necessary legal requirements. Agencies are going to assist adoptive parents with everything from locating a birth parent to completing the adoption documentation. An agency is going to take care of a lot of the vital aspects of the adoption, like carrying out the home study, acquire the required consents, and counseling the adoptive parents on any particular state requirements.

Private vs. Public Agencies

The primary advantage of a private agency adoptions is the comprehensive guidance that agencies offer. Usually, counseling is accessible for adoptive parents, birth parents, and the children (when they are older). Comprehensive guidance can aid everyone involved weather the emotional, practical, and legal intricacies that can come up throughout the adoption process. And it’s specifically important for the safeguarding it offers the adoptive parents. A birth parent that receives proper counseling at the beginning of the process is unlikely to change her mind when the time comes to sign the concrete consent forms following the baby’s birth.

On the downside, private agencies are usually extremely critical when choosing adoptive parents. The reason is that they have an excess of people that wish to adopt and a minimal number of children available. Agencies weed out parents on the basis of age, marital status, income, sexual identity, well-being, faith, family-size, and personal history (including criminal behavior).

Public agencies have multiple children available to be adopted, but they are usually older or special-needs children. Should you want a newborn or an infant, a public agency may not be suitable. And public agencies usually do not offer the many other services, like all important therapy, that private agencies provide. Obviously, along with providing less services, public agencies a lot less costly. It might cost you hardly anything to adopt through a public agency (and they might even provide a small allowance throughout the adoption process), in contrast a private adoption agency is going to cost many thousands of dollars.

Even when you do go through an agency, you are going to probably need to hire a lawyer to draft your adoption request and to represent you at your hearing. Even though there is no legal requirement that a lawyer have a role in your adoption, the process can be quite convoluted and should be overseen by someone that has experience and proficiency. When looking for a lawyer, establish how many adoptions the lawyer has overseen, and if any of them were challenged or developed other problems.

Cost of Agency Adoptions

Private agencies are going to charge you to cover the birth mother’s expenditures as permitted by state law; these costs might include medical expenses, living costs throughout the pregnancy, and counseling. Add to this to the agency’s staff salaries and operating expense — and charges can accrue quickly.

A lot of agencies charge a flat fee for adoptions, whereas others add the birth mother’s costs to a fixed rate for the services of the agency. Many agencies use an adjusted scale that differs with adoptive parents’ income levels, typically with a fixed minimum and maximum expense. You can anticipate paying one thousand to six-thousand dollars to adopt a younger child, and ten-thousand dollars or more to adopt a newborn. A few agencies charge a lower fee for overseeing special needs adoptions.

Public agencies usually do not charge fees for putting children in adoptive homes.

Even if you do go through an agency, you might need to hire a lawyer to draft the adoption request and to represent you at your adoption hearing. Even though there is no requirement legally that a lawyer have a role in your adoption, the process can be somewhat convoluted. Lawyer’s fees, obviously, add to the expense of your adoption.

Waiting Periods

Agencies often wait to place a child in an adoptive home until all required consents have been given and are concluded. For this reason, a child may be placed in foster care for a couple of days or weeks, subject to the situation and the laws of the state. The latency phase concerns many adoptive parents that want their child to have a safe, balanced home as soon as they can. Many agencies circumvent this by placing infants directly through a kind of adoption referred to as a “legal risk placement.” The risk is that the birth mother might choose she wants her child back prior to her rights being legally terminated — then the adoptive parents are going to have to give the child back.

Locating an Adoption Agency

There are an estimated three thousand adoption agencies in the US alone, both public and private. When you live in a state such as New York or California, you are going to have more options than if you live less populated state. But no matter where you live, you most likely have to do some searching to locate an agency that meets your requirements and is able to work with you. You can get a hold of a national adoption association for references to get you started. One place to begin is the Child Welfare Information Gateway. Also, speak to anyone you know that has adopted children — personal referrals are usually the best way to locate a good agency.

When taking an agency into account, verify the agency’s reputation and certification. Begin with the licensing department in your state. They can tell you if the agency has been served with a notice for licensing violations and if their office has received any disputes concerning the agency. You can request a copy of your state’s guidelines overseeing adoption agencies so you understand the values your agency must adhere to. Your state’s department of social services or your state and/or local department of consumer affairs might also be able to give you information concerning the agency.

International Adoptions

You can adopt a foreign child using US agency that focuses on international adoptions. (You are able to adopt directly, but a lot of people go through an agency since international direct adoptions can be very challenging and the risk of obstacles is high.) An agency is going to know the US immigration laws and the laws of the country of the child, in addition to your state’s adoption laws.

US immigration laws necessitate that future adoptive parents be married or, when single, at least twenty five years old. The adoptive parents are required to file an Orphan Petition with the agency now referred to as US Citizenship and Immigration Services to show that the child’s parents have passed away, vanished, or deserted the child, or that one remaining parent is unable to care for the child and agrees to the child’s adoption and immigration to US soil. When there are two known parents, the child is not going to be eligible as an orphan under any circumstances.

Accompanying the Orphan Petition, you are going need to submit several other documents, including a promising home study report from the agency you decide on. When USCIS accepts your petition, and there aren’t any disqualifying factors like a communicable disease, the child can then be issued an immigrant visa.

A lot of the paperwork for international adoptions can be completed even prior to you having identified a specific child to adopt. Preparation in advance is an invaluable option since the paperwork usually takes a long time to process and might hold up the arrival of the child in the US even after all foreign provisions have been fulfilled.

In conclusion, make sure you check your own state laws for any pre-adoption requirements. Some states, for example, require you to submit the written consent of the birth mother prior to them approving the entry of the child into the state. Many experts suggest that parents that adopt abroad re-adopt the child in their home state to make sure that the adoption fully follows state law, and to acquire a birth certificate that is in English. Often, re-adoption is a legal requirement — need either by the state in which you reside or by the country in which you have adopted.

No foreign country allows the adoption of children by openly gay or lesbian couples. However, a lot of lesbian and gay couples adopt children using international adoption processes, keeping their sexual orientation secretly from the foreign country.


  1. Nolo. (2011, October 10). Agency adoptions. Retrieved September 13, 2022, from

Adoption Lawyer in Arizona

Have questions about adoptions in Arizona? Speak with our Adoption Attorney today! An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.

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When a case demands litigation, you’ll have the benefit of 19 years of litigation experience in California and Arizona. But when a case demands collaborative law, or mediation, we can meaningfully describe why collaborative law or mediation may or may not be your best option.

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