Adoption Facilitators, Lawyers, and Agencies: Which is Best for You?
As an expectant mother, you are the only person who truly knows what is best for you and your baby. You are the only one who can make a decision regarding your baby’s future. While you have the most control in creating your personal adoption plan, you do not have to go through it alone. There are many knowledgeable, compassionate adoption professionals who can help you navigate this journey.
When facing an unplanned pregnancy, it can be difficult to know where you can and should turn for support. There are thousands of different professionals who can walk you through the adoption process. As an expectant mother choosing adoption, how will you decide upon the most reliable, professional support? How will you know you are making the right choice?
In this blog, you will learn about three common types of adoption professionals available to you: adoption attorneys, adoption facilitators, and private adoption agencies. Each professional varies in terms of the services it offers, the certifications it possesses, and its involvement with you and your baby. Who will best ensure that all of your needs are met? Who will give you the consistent support you deserve? Let us take a deeper look.
Adoption facilitators are professionals who assist in connecting prospective adoptive families with expectant/birth mothers considering adoption. They offer general matching services and advertising for families in exchange for a fee. In most cases, though, that is the extent of their offerings. Once an expectant/birth mother selects an adoptive family for her baby, the facilitator steps out of the equation. He or she is not certified to complete the adoption process or continue support for anyone involved.
The benefit of adoption facilitators is that they work with many different waiting families and will likely have a variety of options available to you and your baby. However, adoption facilitators provide less than one-fourth of the services that licensed adoption agencies offer. They do not have resources in place to guide you through the adoption journey. They are not qualified to offer counseling on your many unplanned pregnancy options or help you decide whether adoption is truly right for you. They are also not able to offer you any financial, housing, medical, or legal assistance.
Typically, adoption facilitators are companies or individuals who are unlicensed and unregulated by the government. For this reason, their services are illegal in many states throughout the country. If you are considering working with an adoption facilitator, it is crucial to consult with someone about your state adoption laws. The unlawful use of an adoption facilitator can impact the legal standing of your baby’s adoption.
Some attorneys specialize in the field of adoption. They are the professionals who are able to legalize and finalize the adoption process. For this reason, all adoptions in the United States require the work of an adoption attorney. But not all attorneys specialize in adoption and know all the adoption laws.
Many adoption agencies work closely with adoption attorneys and offer legal services as part of their service offerings. If you choose to make an adoption plan with a full-service agency, you will likely get free legal counsel from an adoption attorney specific to your area. In this case, you will not need to hire an adoption attorney on your own.
Some women, however, choose to work independently with an adoption attorney. This is particularly common for expectant/birth mothers who already have found an adoptive family. If you choose to work with an adoption lawyer on your own, you will be required to take on a more independent role throughout the adoption process. You will need to seek additional support through other resources, such as an adoption social worker.
While adoption attorneys do comply with state adoption laws, they do not always offer binding post-placement contracts. In a lawyer-facilitated adoption, there may be no option for regulated, ongoing contact between you and your child’s adoptive family.
Private Adoption Agencies
Private adoption agencies are social service agencies that work with expectant/birth parents and waiting adoptive families to find the best possible home for each and every child. They are made up of well-trained, well-established, and highly qualified professionals. Private adoption agencies are regulated and licensed by the state to provide extensive services to pregnant women, birth parents, and adoptive families at each stage of the adoption process.
If you choose to work with a private adoption agency, you will always have someone to turn to for help. Unlike adoption facilitators and attorneys, an adoption agency professional will be there for you during your pregnancy, and after the adoption takes place. They will arrange for someone to support you while you are in the hospital. They will help you design your perfect adoption plan, and offer resources and guidance to you at each stage of the process.
Today, most private adoption agencies offer free services for birth mothers, such as matching services, legal representation, one-to-one counseling, and financial assistance. They also screen all of their adoptive families to ensure they are fit to adopt a baby. Not only this, but most private adoption agencies offer legal, binding contracts so that birth parents can maintain longer-term contact with their child and his or her adoptive family.
As a pregnant mother considering adoption, you are entitled to these valuable services, at no cost to you. Yet choosing an adoption facilitator or adoption attorney as your primary support may limit or exclude you from the extensive support you deserve.
To learn more about where to seek adoption help, please download our free Guide to Choosing an Adoption Agency. You may also call Adoptions With Love any time of day at 1-800-722-7731.