Private Adoption Attorney
Many families that choose to adopt through an attorney are open to customizing their own experience and are comfortable with the increased risk that is involved or they know their birth parent very well. Attorneys are there to draw up the legal paperwork, get the signatures, and finalize the adoption in accordance to state law. Some attorneys offer matching services, while others require that you find your own birth family.
There is minimal support in regards to the adoption planning and process itself. Be prepared to navigate the entire process without guidance or support. If the birth family changes their mind, the adoptive family may have to deal with financial loss and emotional loss. Majority of the time, the adoptive family and birth family have built a relationship privately and without any support, boundaries, or buffer. Navigating this relationship and creating an adoption plan without guidance from an agency can be stressful and taxing on both parties, thus potentially increasing the risk of failed placement. Some families will go onto hire an agency or social worker to provide support.
Families that choose to work through a private adoption attorney may hope to save some money on the process. Each potential adoption situation is different. It is not uncommon for the expenses in a private attorney adoption to equal the cost of a licensed agency. You could be responsible for birth parent living expenses, medical expenses of mother, and more. You will be responsible for hiring an agency to complete post placement reports to meet state requirements.
Licensed Adoption Agency
When you work with an agency, services are more inclusive. An agency is going to walk you through the entire adoption process, from application to finalization and everything in between. You will be provided with an outline of all the standard fees and expected fees so will know what to expect upfront. They will provide you with a level of support that eases the stress that the adoption process can bring.
An agency is going to provide the adoptive family with training to prepare for adoption. These trainings prepare you to be an adoptive parent. At Gifts of Grace, topics of training include but are not limited to transracial adoption, grief and trauma in adoption, and how to talk to your child about adoption and answer those tough adoption question.
An agency is going to help you navigate the entire adoption process. Do you want an open, closed, or semi-open adoption? What do you want the relationship with your with the birth parents to look like? What is the birth plan and what will that look like? Here at Gifts of Grace, we address all of these questions (and more) and plan for everything that we can plan for before the placement even takes place. We also act as a buffer between the birth family and adoptive family to reduce the stress of planning, communication, and to take the pressure off both parties.
While I am supporting the adoptive families navigate through their side of the adoption journey, our Birth Family Coordinator is supporting the birth families that come to us. This is what really sets our agency apart from not only the attorneys, but other agencies as well. Gifts of Grace provides full support to our birth families. We meet with them multiple times a month and are available to talk to them 24/7. We work with the birth mother(parents) to identify needs, help to get them any and all resources they needs, get healthcare, help to attain employment, education, or other personal goals. Most importantly, we work with them to make sure that adoption is really what they want and we prepare them for the ups and downs of the journey. We advocate for our birth parents, making sure their wants and needs are heard and met. We listen to what they want in a family and what they want their adoption to look like. Our support does not end after the placement, we continue to provide support to our birth families, continuing to meet and talk as long as they are open to it.
In the end, the decision on whether you work with an attorney or an agency is your decision. Each situation is unique. Take the time to ask questions and make sure you know the level of support provided to both parties. At Gifts of Grace, we pride ourselves in providing full support to the adoptive parents AND birth parents. All sides of the adoption triad are equally important and having someone to turn to for support and guidance is a necessity.
-Rachael Rush, Adoptive Family Coordinator