Who they are, what they do, and what you should know about them.
Adoption facilitators are individuals who are not licensed as adoption agencies or attorneys who are engaged in the matching of birth parents with adoptive parents. The use of unpaid adoption facilitators has been permissible in almost every state in the US from the very early days of adoption.
When a doctor, minister, nurse, rabbi, family member or friend gets involved in the adoption match without compensation for the services performed the law has not been violated by the performing of those facilitation services. It is when adoption facilitators want to be paid for their matching services that problems can occur.
In very few states, like California and Pennsylvania, adoption facilitators have been authorized by law to charge for their participation in adoption matching if those services fall within certain specific parameters. Except for these few states, states either do not allow adoption facilitators to conduct their business within the state at all or prohibit them from charging for any services that they perform within that state. This also applies to work they perform for or on behalf of adoptive parents who will finalize their adoptions in the courts of those states where the all of the fees and expenses that are paid by the adoptive couple in connection with the adoption process are subject to court review and approval.
The improper use of a paid adoption facilitator could have a detrimental impact on the finalization of an adoption and may even present problems under state criminal statutes. As a result, adoptive parents should be cautious in their use of the services of adoption facilitators, at least until they have discussed the matter fully with the adoption attorney or agency they will use to finalize their adoption.
In international adoption, facilitators may work in-country in conjunction with your agency.