Independent, Agency & International Adoption: The Difference

For families considering adoption, it can be difficult to decide upon the best route to begin the process. Understanding the differences between independent, agency, and international adoption will help you to decide which method is best for your particular situation.

Independent Adoption: An independent adoption is perhaps the most difficult because there are no intermediaries, like an agency. It can take longer for individuals to find mothers willing to adopt their children, and the consent of the biological mother or parents is given specifically to the adopting parents. It also requires more trust between the two families as there is no intermediary to more thoroughly review the histories. While an attorney is required in all adoption processes, in an independent adoption, the adopting family is likely to rely more heavily on the attorney’s experience and the family does have direct contact with the lawyer.

Agency Adoption: An agency adoption simplifies the process because the agency handles many of the more complicated aspects, such as finding a child or parents looking to give up their unborn baby. Unlike an independent adoption, the agency becomes the legal guardian once the birth parents give up their rights as the child’s caregivers. It is the agency’s responsibility to determine whether parents are fit to adopt a child, as well as overseeing the placement of child during the first six months or more.

International Adoption: An international adoption occurs when a family seeks to adopt a child from another country. This one is perhaps the most complex because it requires a special visa and other documentation for the child to enter the new family’s country. Adopting families must obey state and federal laws, as well as the laws of the country where the child is born.

What to Include in Adoption Papers

Adoption is the process by which a person takes on the role of parent for a child that is not biologically their own. Once the adoption process is complete, the adopted child will have all the rights accorded to a biological child with regard to inheritances and child support.

Adoption Papers

While there are multiple types of adoption, most fall into three categories:

Stepparent Adoption
Independent Adoption
Adult Adoption

Much of the adoption documentation is the same, regardless of the type of adoption, and includes:

An Adoption Request–describes you and the child you are adopting to the judge.

An Adoption Agreement–informs the judge that you and the child (if they are over the age of 12) agree to the adoption.
An Adoption Order–will be signed by the presiding judge in order to approve the adoption.
An Indian Child Inquiry Form–indicates whether or not the child has Indian ancestry.
A Parental Notification of Indian Status–shows the judge that that an inquiry has been made with the child’s parents about Indian ancestry.

Filing Your Adoption Papers

The forms will have to be completed and taken to the court. It should be noted that the adoption agreement should not be signed until the judge instructs you to sign it. If you choose to handle the adoption process with the help of a legal document assistant, you will take the papers to them.

The adoption process can be costly and time-consuming with much of the money spent on legal fees. Licensed and bonded legal document assistants can provide adoption services and save you money while ensuring that your adoption papers are prepared professionally.