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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.